Geeze, Louise. If you had told 14 year old Tiffany that at age 40, she would be interviewing actor Corin Nemec, she wouldn’t have believed you. She probably would have walked away. But here we are, and it was pretty awesome. To celebrate Corin’s latest film, the paranormal thriller, Half Dead Fred, which is set to start shooting in Flint, Michigan, this fall, we discussed why he wanted to be in this film, being a horror fan, and favorite scary movie.
PopHorror: What can you tell us about Half Dead Fred? I know it hasn’t started filming just yet.
Corin Nemec: Well, it’s a film that’s written and directed by a fellow artist, Bron Theron. I know him because we had done a number of documentary-style shows together, because we’re both urban adventure enthusiasts and graffiti art enthusiasts. So we met doing some stuff like that, and I had done another web series with him a number of years back. When he finally got this off the ground, he approached me about playing the lead in it. It reminds me a lot of graphic novels in a lot of ways, and it would make a great graphic novel as well as the film.
He did a really good job on the script. Essentially, it’s about a medium detective who solves crimes by interacting with the dead, but a lot of times, the crimes that he’s solving don’t necessarily have to do with the ghosts that he’s interacting with. And then also, he can only talk to ghosts when he’s imbibed in some alcohol, but he doesn’t really want to drink, so it puts him in a bit of a tight situation.
PopHorror: So what was it that intrigued you about the script and made you want to be a part of it?
Corin Nemec: It’s got a really cool film noir feel to it, and Flint, Michigan, has some really incredible architectural signature motifs that go with an older town that really lend to this type of story. It’s also got that gumshoe diaries detective feel to it, like it could be in a 1950s movie. There’s a lot to it that really intrigued me. I have a great sidekick character that never talks the entire time, just drives him around and is afraid of ghosts and doesn’t like the cops. It’s a real wonderful take on the genre. Not only does it take itself seriously in the moments that it needs to take itself seriously, but it also really lends itself to poking fun at the genre.
PopHorror: From what you’re saying, it sounds like it’s a comedy. Would you also call it a horror movie? Like a horror comedy maybe?
Corin Nemec: I’d say more of a thriller. I would look at it more like a mystery thriller that has a backdrop of ghosts and the paranormal.
PopHorror: Okay, I can dig that.
Corin Nemec: It’s going to fall into the horror category because it does have those classic scare moments and dealing with ghosts and haunted houses and all of that. It has all of that in it, but the way that the story folds into that horror genre gives it this really interesting take. I’m really excited about it. One of the last ones that I had just done not too long ago with Brian Skiba was based on Source Point’s graphic novel, Rottentail. I play a half man, half rabbit, and it kind of unfolds like The Fly. It’s a horror comedy, and it’s got some great laugh-out-loud moments, but it’s kind of unexpected. Half Dead Fred, I think, takes itself more seriously and will play out a lot darker than Rottentail.
PopHorror: Would you say that you were a horror fan before?
Corin Nemec: I’ve done a number of them over the years, a number of different horror films. House of Bones with Charisma Carpenter. I played Ted Bundy in An American Icon and Richard Speck in Chicago Massacre, and obviously in The Stand. But the genre is a fun genre to play in. One of my favorite movies is Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining as well. Those are both in the horror genre, but the way that the stories unfold adds a whole different kind of pace than what many horror films tend to play to. This film has that Chinatown pace to it. I really like that. Chinatown but with ghosts.
PopHorror: You’ve had a very long and successful career, and you’ve worked with a ton of great people. But if you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Corin Nemec: Wow, that’s a tough one. I hadn’t ever really thought of that. Honestly, there’s so many fantastic directors out there, and I’ve gotten to work with a number of them. I worked with Francis Coppola on the first movie I ever did. It’s called Tucker: The Man and His Dream, and I play the son of Jeff Bridges. It was a nice supporting role. I was 12 years old at the time, and having worked with him and seeing how he approached filmmaking was so incredible and mind-blowing at that age. That would be someone I would love to develop and work on a screenplay with and see it to fruition and watch it go into theaters and have it be able to be told that he does his best work when he’s left alone by the studios.
PopHorror: What’s one piece of advice that you wish someone had given to you when you first started?
Corin Nemec: I would probably say I would have liked to have been informed better on how business managers operate and things of that nature. I had to learn the hard way in a lot of respects on growing up as a young actor in the industry and into adulthood. The allowances that I made for power of attorney, investments, powers over investments and all different kinds of things like that. It happens to so many young folks in the industry. When you’re really young, you have a naive approach to life, and it’s very easy to be talked into things, especially from a business standpoint, an investment standpoint. There’s a lot of hard lessons that get learned by many people going into whether it’s the film business or the music business especially. I know many musicians that I grew up with that had to go through the same kind of learning curves that many young people in the film and TV business go through. But that said, it’s been just an incredible journey having started from that young age and still working consistently all of these years and never really having a break. The only break I had was a forced break when I was in a boating accident filming in Belize, a work-related injury and it shattered my femur into seven pieces.
PopHorror: Oh my goodness!
Corin Nemec: Yeah, so I was forced to not work for about eight or nine months, and even then when I shouldn’t have been working, I went back and did some Stargate Renegades thing for an online show. We were trying to launch as a TV series, and I was playing the captain of a starship, and I could barely walk. It was hilarious. But they still flew me out, and I still did it, and had a great time. That’s just how much I love what I do.
PopHorror: One last question for you Corin. What is your favorite scary movie?
Corin Nemec: When I was really young, I have to say my favorite scary movie was the original Pumpkinhead. Now I’ve gone back and I’ve watched it being older, and there’s elements that are still like, wow. I remember when I was young, that was one of the scarier movies that I had seen, because I was pretty young when it came out. I remember it having quite a dramatic effect on me, especially around Halloween.
Thank you so much, Corin, for taking the time to speak with us. Keep an eye out for Half Dead Fred, which starts filming soon!