*Michael Eklund, Lance Henriksen, and Tony Todd – three names that command attention, and three gentlemen who have been household names for decades and are still at the top of their game. These three powerhouses will be headlining a new action horror flick called The Cold Descent, which is nearing the end of principle photography. Directed by Michael Steves, The Cold Descent harkens horror fans back to the 1800s when America was still dealing with the aftermath of The Civil War, and two contrasting characters are stuck on an ominous train together. Can an intellect with one Hell of a grudge and an outlaw with a heart of gold survive a train ride into their darkest nightmares?
In this interview, I was lucky enough to chat with one of the stars – Michael Eklund – during lunch break while on set of The Cold Descent. Michael Eklund is an amazing actor, a 4x Leo Award Winner, and is most known for his roles in House of the Dead, The Marine 3, The Call, Nurse 3D, See No Evil 2, and season two of “Bates Motel” on A&E. In our interview, we focus in on the interesting choice of venue that the film takes place in as well as the contrasting emotions and personal struggle that take place within his character throughout the course of the movie.
You can read the transcript or listen to the MP3 below. The MP3 contains friendly conversation, a few questions that didn’t make it into the transcript, and a surprise appearance from another cast member.
HS: My first question is – does the whole entire movie take place in a train or is that one part of the movie?
ME: The whole movie is in a contained train of five different compartments. The train is almost like a fifth character throughout the whole film. It’s got first class, second class, third class, vending car, etc.
HS: So, it’s almost like a moving motel so there’s room to move around and do different things.
ME: Oh, totally. We have five completely different cars on the train so it changes daily.
HS: Are you guys filming on a live train or are you on built sets?
ME: We built the sets. It just makes it easier, it’s more contained and you can do what you want in it. It’s a Western, shoot ’em up so you can mess up the train as well. If it was a real train you’d have your hands tied in that you can’t really destroy the train. We have to put some bullets in some train walls. We can’t do that on a real train.
HS: It’s going to be equal parts action and horror?
ME: Yeah, equal part action/equal part thriller, and it’s very character driven as well. As an actor, that’s been the most interesting part. It’s a mixed bag of action, thriller, character stories, and the element of a train ride to Hell with Lance Henriksen at the helm.
HS: Yes, I saw he’s listed as The Devil on IMDB. I think that’s kind of fitting for him as an actor.
ME: It’s perfect. He came on and he killed it. He just killed it as The Devil.
HS: Let’s talk about your character, Roland. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?
ME: He’s in the middle. He’s a Civil War outlaw who’s become a bounty hunter. He fought for The South, but he didn’t believe in slavery. He falls more on the rough and gruff side, but he does have a heart. He’s a great contrast with Tony Todd’s character, Jericho.
HS: And you’re hired to protect someone’s daughter from revenge from Tony Todd’s character.
ME: Exactly. The actress is Jennifer Laporte. She plays Annie. Annie’s father has paid my character, Roland, a bounty of $500 if I can get her to Atlanta safely. Little do I know what’s going to happen in the film, what we’ll encounter in our path.
HS: You’re stuck between a rock and hard place. Do you protect yourself or the girl you were hired to look after. Is there a way to do both?
ME: He tries to figure it out. At the end of the movie he makes a decision that forces him to go one way or another because of his bond he developed with Annie.
HS: You’re almost wrapped. Is tomorrow the last day for everyone?
ME: Today is the second to last day, tomorrow is the last day of principle photography. There may be a few pick up shots afterwards, which is normal, but tomorrow is our official last day.
HS: Any last words on Roland or The Cold Descent?
ME: Last words from Roland – it’s been one Hell of a train ride. It’s been great in front and behind the camera.
*Thank you for taking the time out to chat with me, Michael! I have been a fan of yours for such a long time and this was such an honor. I appreciate your insight into your character, Roland, and I can tell that you were really dedicated in bringing him to live. I know you’ve only added more coal to the flame of my desire to see The Cold Descent.
For more information on The Cold Descent and Michael Eklund, please visit the following links:
Michael on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1002664/.
The Cold Descent on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287470/.
The Cold Descent on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cold-Descent-Film/424482094371421.
Michael on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelEklund.