I recently got the chance to talk to Mike Brune about his role in ‘Blood Car’. Here, Mike talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and how he got into acting in the first place…
Hey Mike. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Blood Car’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Blood Car’ takes place in the future when gas prices are nearing $40 per gallon. No one drives anymore, not even truckers – that’s a line from the movie. Archie Andrews, a vegan schoolteacher, serendipitously discovers his wheatgrass engine actually runs on human blood. So, he puts two and two together and starts killing people to fuel his car so that he can impress the local meat stand girl and get laid. Before long, government agents learn of his groundbreaking invention and chase him down because they want it for their own bloodthirsty reasons. It’s a satire.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Archie, the vegan schoolteacher. He’s a naïve, smart, good-hearted guy who makes one bad decision – to kill people to fuel his car – and his life spirals out of control as a result. Archie lives in a rather sheltered world, much like the kids he teaches, and when he’s thrust into the limelight because of his Blood Car, he’s not really prepared to deal with it. Of course, by the end of the film, Archie and his students all come of age, some tragically.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I went to film school with Alex Orr, Adam Pinney and Hugh Braselton, who came up with the story and wrote the screenplay. We were part of a film collective called Fake Wood Wallpaper Films in Atlanta, GA. We are all best friends. When they decided to do this project, they wrote the part of Archie for me since they knew I was a performer. I was mostly doing improv comedy at the time and acting in a few short films.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s fearless. It’s a movie that is not afraid to offend/criticise/mock anything or anybody. The great thing is that many of the jokes are funny because they take situations too far, farther than most movies would go with a joke. That shock is actually very funny. And underneath the carnality and buckets of blood, it’s a smart movie with inspiration from Sam Fuller, Roger Corman and many other legendary filmmakers and movies.
The film stars your good self, Anna Chlumsky, Katie Rowlett, Matt Hutchinson, Marla Malcolm, Mr. Malt and Matthew Stanton – with Alex Orr onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
I had the time of my life working on the film. I actually blogged every day of the production. Imagine making movies with your friends. It doesn’t get any better than that. Anecdotes? Let’s see. Several days before production started, Alex and I were driving around in the Blood Car and we were rear-ended. We and the car were both fine, but it was scary for a minute because that could have been bad. That’s a bad anecdote. I’m sorry. There were quite a few rookie mistakes on the film because it was our first film and we didn’t quite know what we were doing. The first day of shooting, we shot the scene where I pick up the hitchhiker (played by Marla Malcolm) and in order to get me to pull over, she flashes me. Well, when we were about to shoot that flashing, the cameras were about to roll and the entire crew was just standing around watching. Marla yelled out that she wasn’t going to do the scene with everyone gawking at her. There were about fifteen or twenty of our college friends, who were working on the movie for free, standing around. So, our AD/Producer Tony Holley had everyone turn around and we filmed the scene. Then…frogs started raining out of the sky. I’m sorry. I’m bad at anecdotes. If you dig back into the archives of www.archiesbloodcar.blogspot.com, you can probably find better ones.
Let’s talk a bit about you Mike. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
It’s about time. Just kidding. Well, I went to film school at Georgia State University in Atlanta. When I was there, I fell in love with cinema and never looked back. Before that, I made movies with my parent’s VHS camera when I was a kid. My brothers and I made a series of films called ‘Hacksaw’, about a serial killer. We even made a sequel to that, ‘Hacksaw 2’. We understood the importance of a movie franchise pretty early on.
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far? Any good stories?
Yes. I do have a few good stories here. This may be inappropriate, but I’ll tell it anyway. I had a part in ‘Van Wilder: Freshman Year’ as nerd Irving Peppler. We were shooting a scene in which Van finds me and some other nerds drunk and partying. I’m standing on top of a Humvee and there is a half-naked girl hanging on to me and we’re drinking booze out of an army helmet. Anyway, when we were shooting this scene, the actress who was playing the half-naked girl wanted her nipples to be hard for the shot. Since they were not, she got some ice from the wardrobe department and began rubbing the ice on her nipples. After she was finished, she asked me if they looked hard enough, and I said yes. I don’t think she believed me or she wasn’t satisfied with the hardness. I always felt like kinda bad because I don’t think she was happy with how her nipples looked and it seemed to bother her during the shooting of the scene. Luckily, in the movie, you only see her in the wide shot, so it’s probably not discernible.
I also had the opportunity to work with a few younger actors in one of Joe Swanberg’s new films. Joe uses a combination of trained actors and non-actors simultaneously and that’s exciting.
I also had the pleasure to work with some wonderful actors in a feature film I wrote and directed last summer called ‘Congratulations!’. I wasn’t acting in this film, just directing. John Curran, Robert Longstreet, Rhoda Griffis, Adam Fristoe, and Jack McGee were just a few of the fabulous actors in the film. They were all such consummate professionals. I loved working with each one of them. IMDB them and check out their work.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
John Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk. I think this is just because Gazzara died recently and I’m reminded of how much I love his work and the work of Cassavetes. Instead of trying to figure out the perfect mix of different personalities, I’d just rather get together with them since they’re best friends and I’m sure it would be a blast.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three ‘personal’ things could you not live without?
A pen and paper, a good knife and this straw hat I have that says Bud Light on it. I’m very practical.
What is your favourite word?
I love words like pell-mell and hurly-burly, which I think are called rhyming reduplications.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
‘Congratulations!’ It’s a feature film I wrote and directed last year that is in post-production. www.congratsmovie.com or @congratsmovie on Twitter.
Thanks for the interview!