Johnny Alonso has been acting for years within multiple genres including quite a few roles in popular television series. Alonso’s love for the creative process found in movies and television has inspired him to take on various roles during productions, but with Harvey, his latest endeavor, he has poured in a great deal of effort.
Harvey is the story of a young man teetering on the edge of faking it ’til you make it in a small town. He is unliked, misunderstood, and exudes a hatred for many that come across his path during his days spent annoyingly clocking into the local bowling alley. But the story of Harvey runs deeper than just that, incorporating dark humor, twists, and horror that is sure to entertain.
We were pleased to have the opportunity to chat with Johnny Alonso, where he discusses the team behind Harvey, his red carpet experience, bringing it home to Baltimore, and more.
PopHorror: First of all, congratulations on the recent red carpet premiere of your film, Harvey, out there in Hollywood. How was that experience for you and your team? Furthermore, what does it mean for you to return back home to Baltimore in November for your East Coast premiere?
Johnny Alonso: Let me start by saying it was awesome! Everything about the red carpet premiere event for Harvey was awesome. To begin with, the premiere sold out in less than two days once the tickets went live. We had incredible media on the red carpet covering our premiere—Getty Images, MuseTv, The PulseSd, Click on This. We also had several trade papers in the audience reviewing the film. I had a chance to speak with three of them, and they all loved the film. I’m stoked. More than half of our audience made the after party so more photos, interviews and conversation took place around the bar, comparing notes and discussing the film. That’s exactly what I wanted to have happen, for people to engage in conversation and break down the film. It’s cool listening to others try to piece together what happened or what really didn’t happen. That’s rad.
Having this film sneak screen in Baltimore is going to be a fun red carpet event. Baltimore always welcomes back its actors, artists, and filmmakers with open arms. It’s a tight art/film community that supports and respects the ones that, for lack of a better way to say it, broke through the armor. I’ve been involved in many projects that have had red carpet screenings back in Baltimore, but this time, I’m not just one of the co-stars. I’m a main producer, casting, and co-director of the project, so bringing Harvey to the historic Senator Theatre is going to be sick.
PopHorror: How did you meet your co-director and writers, Ranelle and Shawn Golden? How did Harvey come to fruition?
Johnny Alonso: I was introduced to Ranelle and Shawn through a mutual friend, actor and singer, Lucky Harmon. We shot a concept trailer for another script Ranelle has in her arsenal called Empath. The timing was off due to Covid taking the world over, so Empath lost its traction. Instead of us waiting to shoot like everyone else, we decided to write another script with a smaller cast and try to get the union involved. We were able to get all of our paperwork together for SAG, along with the SAG Covid paperwork, and we were cleared to shoot in November 2020 under the new SAG Covid rule. We are proud to say we are one of eight SAG independent features to have shot in 2020.
PopHorror: For Harvey, you co-produce, co-star, and co-direct. How did you manage to juggle all of these responsibilities?
Johnny Alonso: Manage? I’m still trying to manage this film, and dude, we ended production in November of 2020. Like, what the hell? (laughs) Wearing all those hats is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been acting since forever, and I usually just focus on my script and my character and what my director needs from me. But being a producer and co-director on a project that you’re acting in? Dude, you have to really be involved and submerge yourself on every level or you’re going to lose control of this thing or even worse, the project will spin out of control. And that’s the last thing anyone needs to see happen. Luckily for me, my character, Keith, is supposed to be an uptight, exhausted looking bowling alley asshole, so that wasn’t too hard for me to get to when they called for action.
PopHorror: Harvey delivers some pitch-black humor and horror, a winning combination in my eyes. Has genre cinema always appealed to you?
Johnny Alonso: Yes, and thanks for pointing that out. I’ve always been a fan of genre cinema, especially horror and psychological thriller-type films. I like being thrown off. I like thinking I know what’s happening or going to happen and end up being 1000% wrong. That keeps my attention. And if it can keep my attention—because I’m totally ADD—then I know it’ll also keep others watching. We were able to mesh dark humor and horror/psychological color into this film with Hitchcock and Twilight Zone twists and turns.
PopHorror: What do you hope audiences walk away with after experiencing Harvey?
Johnny Alonso: Like I mentioned earlier, having people just talk about the film, dissecting and breaking down the scenes and character’s choices, makes me happy and feel like we did our job. I also take pride in the ’80s vibes, imagery, and ’80s sounding soundtrack I put together. I was a musician—and still am—before I was a professional actor, so cashing in on favors from bands that I know personally, from bands I have no affiliations to other than being a fan of their music, and getting them to join our soundtrack was more than awesome. Certain scenes NEEDED a specific type of song to match the dialogue running through the scenes, the feeling of a specific character’s emotion, etc. And since we were playing with an ’80s vibe visually and musically, meshing all of this together was, to me, the best part of post-production. We have some really great sounding music and bands on the Harvey soundtrack that’ll rewind you back to 1987.
PopHorror: The film does have a killer soundtrack! What’s up next for you, Johnny? Where can folks follow you and find out more about Harvey?
Johnny Alonso: What’s next? Sleep! I’m so serious, too. I just finished shooting a major guest starring role on a new fall episode of the ghost/paranormal series, A Haunting. Remember A Haunting? We all grew up with that show. The episode is titled “Nevermore” and in the 52 running minutes, my character, Wilfredo, has a ton of scenes and is in about 42 minutes of the episode. I also have a couple of scenes where I speak in Spanish. I’m stoked. In the film world, Ranelle and I have several films in all levels of development and pre-production. One project Ranelle and I are in development and working on may shoot in Texas. Another she has possibly in Memphis. It really depends on timing and if the A-listers we’re talking to will be available when we’re up and running.
The other two projects I’m attached to are with producers Edward Abramson, Shannon Lanier, and Irv Becker. I’ve also been auditioning a lot since my debut episode on season two of Netflix’s Outer Banks. Busy staying busy. You can find Harvey info on Facebook, Instagram and on the Midnight Releasing website. I also post a ton of Harvey updates on my Instagram (instagram.com/johnny.alonso) on my Twitter www.twitter.com/johnnyalonso and on my official website.
PopHorror: If you could program a double feature at your local drive-in, what two films make your bill and why?
Johnny Alonso: Grease and The Shining. Grease because I’m a huge fan of musical theatre. I grew up on the stage first doing talent shows with my guitar and singing for the nonnas at the neighborhood block parties in Howard Beach, Queens. Then I graduated to the talent show level in middle school. In high school, I was in a band which was like performing on stage with three other members. Then I was off to NYU for professional stage training at the Actor’s Studio. I also played Kenickie in an off-Broadway version of Grease. It has always been one of my faves to just watch and tune everyone out kind of movie. I love everything about it.
The Shining because I see something new every time I watch the movie. I’ve studied every scene in that film and still I manage to pick up on something I didn’t catch before, like the shifting of one of the character’s eyes, things in the photos on the wall that tell another story, the colors, backstory, missed continuity… It’s such a great film. Those are things I want to add in the films I produce. In fact, I added a couple Easter Eggs in two scenes in Harvey that only make sense to a couple of people and myself. I wonder how many will pick up on that. We’ll see if anyone writes to me.
We would like to thank Johnny Alonso for his time and hope you seek out Harvey via Midnight Releasing.
Check out the trailer below!