Interview With Brian Van Holt, Star Of ‘Boneyard’

I love crime thrillers, whether it’s a movie or a book. I guess you could say one of my favorite subgenres for books is the police procedural or detective fiction, so of course I’m a big fan of those types of movies as well. Add in that it’s loosely based on a true story, and I’m hooked. The new film, Boneyard, written and directed by Asif Akbar (Clown Motel), and starring Mel Gibson, 50 Cent, Brian Van Holt (2005’s House of Wax), and Nora Zehetner (Brick; Everwood – read our interview with her HERE), is all of those things and more.

When the skeletal remains of eleven women and girls are discovered in the New Mexico desert, an extensive investigation is launched. Inspired by true crime stories, this chilling crime-thriller follows Detective Ortega (Brian Van Holt), Police Chief Carter ( Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), and Agent Petrovick (Mel Gibson) in a multi-agency effort to identify and apprehend the killer. As each of their agendas and methods clash, a tangled web of intrigue casts suspicion in all directions.

To celebrate the release of the film, I chatted with star Brian Van Holt about how he met Boneyard‘s writer, getting into his character, horror movies, and more!

PopHorror: I really enjoyed Boneyard and I’m a huge fan of yours so I’m super excited to speak with you today.

Brian Van Holt: Aw, thank you. I appreciate you and I appreciate speaking with you. Thanks for having me.

PopHorror: Absolutely! So what intrigued you about the script for Boneyard and made you want to be a part of the project?

Brian Van Holt: Long story, I’ll try to make it quick as I know our time’s limited. I was filming in Albuquerque, a show called Deputy, and I met the writer of Boneyard. His name is Vincent McDaniel, and he was working craft service. He was helping out with craft service on our set. He came up to me and just said hey. He complimented me and he liked my energy with people, and we struck up a friendship. He was like, “This isn’t what I do. I’m a writer and a producer and I’m going to movies.” He had something in the works with another actor and finally, this came around, came to me three or four years later and it was Vincent who wrote the script. I immediately, before really reading it, I knew I was probably going to say yes. But after reading the script, I’m like, “Yes, I definitely want to be a part of this film.” It was a page turner for me and to play Detective Ortega – I’m a homicide detective – was a no brainer. He has a lot of layers, a lot of demons. His human condition was interesting to navigate through for me and was very intriguing, so it was an easy yes for me, for sure. And to work with Mel Gibson and 50 Cent, I was like, come on!

Brian with Nora Zehetner and 50 Cent in Boneyard.

PopHorror: I have to say that I admire his balls because to be working craft service and to be able to approach the talent with your project, I don’t know if I would have the guts to do that. That’s pretty cool. I like that he did that.

Brian Van Holt: Yeah! I like to think that I’m approachable. I’ve got to give him credit, he’s got balls, and I think you have to. Look at what he’s done. He’s accomplished a lot of stuff and I’m very impressed with Vincent and what he’s accomplished, especially with this film. I was… I hate to say proud because I’m not his parent. I’m just impressed. I’m impressed by him. I’m happy for him. I feel blessed and lucky and fortunate to be able to be a part of it. 

PopHorror: I love that. Was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to your character?

Brian Van Holt: The Irish Mexican element to it. I wanted to shave my head and dye it red, and shave my beard and gain 20 pounds. I was pretty adamant about that. No, there was nothing I was adamant about. That was a personal choice. It’s a funny story. I just got off the set of Bass Reeves and I had long hair and a long beard. I wanted to shave my head and shave my beard for this role. I thought it was appropriate. To be honest, Asif… He wasn’t happy when I showed up with a shaved head and no beard and that’s how we got the red hair. When I shave my head, it’s a little blonder than you would think so that red was supposed to be brown, but I went with it. It was a beautiful mistake, but we went with it. That’s how I became the Irish Mexican Paul Ortega, homicide detective, Albuquerque. 

PopHorror: I am a huge fan of House of Wax. You are just fantastic in it. But I don’t see a lot of thrillers or horror movies on your resume. Are you a horror fan?

Brian Van Holt: I’m not!

PopHorror: That breaks my heart, Brian!

Brian Van Holt: That was a hard character and a hard film for me to play. It’s dark. I did have fun, made a lot of good friends. I thought it was a great film. Jaume Collet-Serra directed it. It still holds up. I did my first horror convention not too long ago, which was fun, and the fans are just amazing. But it’s not my first choice of films, horror films. Who knows? The day is young. I could change my mind.

PopHorror: It does still hold up. I recently saw it on the big screen here locally, a local theater played it to a sold-out crowd. It’s still a fan favorite. People still love it so we hope to see you do more horror in the future.

Brian in House of Wax.

Brian Van Holt: You know, after doing that convention and seeing the fans and the response that they had, it felt pretty special. I’m open to it. 

PopHorror: I love to hear that.

Brian Van Holt: I don’t know if I’ll play the villain again, maybe. I don’t know, maybe I could play the good detective. Playing the villain was tough. It was two different characters too. Prosthetic makeup and face masks. It was intense.

PopHorror: So, I love you in House of Wax, but I also watched you in Cougar Town, which is comedy and the complete opposite end of the spectrum from horror, so you could do horror comedy and do the best of both.

Brian Van Holt: By the way, that’s funny! A horror comedy. I like that. What is a horror comedy? Like Scary Movie?

PopHorror: No, more like Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, or Cabin in the Woods, or Evil Dead, the original.

Brian Van Holt: Evil Dead! That’s right! Evil Dead, it’s so… I love Evil Dead; I love Bruce Campbell. He’s awesome, I got to work with him. 

PopHorror: That’s super cool! I have just one last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?

Brian Van Holt: Besides House of Wax? I’ve got to say the original Halloween, the first one. I have four older sisters and they took me to go see that and I was traumatized. I was so tripped out by that movie. I was so scared. It still holds up I think, as my favorite horror film, if I had to name one.

PopHorror: My older sister also showed me my first horror movie, but she denies it to this day. She’s like, “I would never do that.” And it jump started my love of horror. She won’t own up to it.

Brian Van Holt: My sisters were babysitting me, and I got to go with them wherever they went, whether it was the movies or a party, or whatever, so I had to tag along. That was part of the deal so I had to go see that film with them. I don’t know how they got me in. I was underage, obviously.

Thank you so much to Brian for taking the time to speak with us. Boneyard is currently in theaters and on VOD!

About Tiffany Blem

Horror lover, dog mommy, book worm, EIC of PopHorror.

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