To celebrate the release of the new crime-suspense film, Chained (2021 – read our review here), I chatted with star Aleks Paunovic about what intrigued him about the film, why he loves horror, and working with Anthony Hopkins. Be sure to check out Chained, a thriller about a young, bullied boy who stumbles upon a criminal chained up in an abandoned warehouse, on VOD now.
PopHorror: Hi Aleks! I watched Chained last night, and it was really good. I’m super excited to talk to you today.
Aleks Paunovic: Exciting! I love it! Thank you.
PopHorror: So, what intrigued you about the film and made you want to be a part of it?
Aleks Paunovic: I think the biggest thing that drew me to the film was obviously that the script was so compelling. And you know, what’s on the page isn’t necessarily the story that we’re telling. There’s such a subversive nature to the idea that Titus wanted to get across, and that’s what really intrigued me. It wasn’t spelled out for me in the script. And there were so many little cracks within it – like script analysis – to really find my way through the movie and find out what it’s about and what Jim was about. That’s what really drew me to it. And then having a sit down with Titus to talk about the film and the role that just cemented it for me. Again, the script was phenomenal and Titus was just a very commutative and creative great dude, so I just felt like this is something that I really wanted to be a part of.
PopHorror: I love it when it comes together like that! And this is not your first foray into horror. I am a huge fan of Puppet Killer [read the Pophorror review here].
Aleks Paunovic: Aw yeah!
PopHorror: I watched it for an interview with Lisa [Ovies – read the interview here], and I loved it, so I just wanted to throw that out there.
Aleks Paunovic: Thank you. I appreciate it. It was fun to make.
PopHorror: So, what is it that draws you to the horror genre?
Aleks Paunovic: I love the shock value and jump scares. All that. The whole idea of taking yourself out of reality and just watching something that is just blood boiling and blood pressures rising. I love that. I love the twists and turns that horror films have. That is what really attracted me to it. But most of all, honestly, it’s the people that are attached to a project that I really love and enjoy working with. That’s basically my biggest thing. Is the script well done? And then, is it gonna be fun to do? That’s what we’re here for. So that’s what really drives me towards it because it’s usually people that are a little fucked up and super fun. Horror films rock!
PopHorror: I love that! I like them for the shock value and the jump scares as well. And if you could collaborate with anyone living or dead, who would be?
Aleks Paunovic: Oh, wow! If I could collaborate with anyone living or dead… I think Brando. To sit there and work on a script with Brando and just get it on its feet? I would want to be in his time though, because it was just so brand new, what he was doing. I think if I could do that, I would want to be like his buddy when method acting and getting viscerally involved in a role was something that was brand new. I’d probably want to do that.
PopHorror: That is a great answer! What is next for you? Do you have anything that you’re currently working on?
Aleks Paunovic: On June 15th I have a film called Chained that’s coming out, obviously. That, and I worked on a project in Atlanta and New York that I can’t talk about yet, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking once it’s announced, which I’m really excited about. And I have a film called Zero Contact with Anthony Hopkins that’s coming out. It was strictly a Zoom film. It was right when the virus happened and shut everything down. Rick Dugdale, who was a producer and ended up being the director of this film, got a bunch of us together—nine different countries—all on Zoom jamming on ideas. And we ended up doing this film that Anthony Hopkins became a part of that should be coming out soon. That’s been really exciting just because it’s so out of the norm.
PopHorror: How was it filming something like that, something that is so totally different from how movies had been made before?
Aleks Paunovic: I’m my own sound guy, light mover, and audio guy. I had to do everything, and I had people on Zoom, like the production managers or the set decorator, going, “Hey, can you move that light to the left a little bit?” So just being involved with that whole thing and being viscerally and tactically involved, it became tangible in my hands. It was really exciting to be a part of it and just hope that it worked out. I’m really excited for people to see the film. It ended up being something that I’m really proud of. And my God, Anthony Hopkins? Come on.
PopHorror: Right? I am intrigued. And I just have one last question for you. What is your favorite scary movie?
Aleks Paunovic: What is my favorite scary movie… Honestly, it has to be the first Halloween. When I was a kid, that first one just took it to a different level for me, because I didn’t experience anything else before that. Halloween was the first one that I experienced on Halloween. And I think it was a few years after it came out, so I still didn’t even know about it. It was something that just scared the shit out of me.
Thank you so much, Aleks, for taking the time to speak with us today. Be sure to catch Chained, out now!