Brett Hart is an up and coming film director and one who should definitely demand your attention. It is no secret that I have been an aficionado of the continuing career of Lance Henriksen, spending as much time admiring his work as I do I feel relatively comfortable in reviewing the features he has appeared in and, like a great many of his followers, I believe ’Bone Dry’, Brett’s début as a movie director, to be the most impressive feature that Lance has starred in for some time. Imagine my delight when I discovered that we shared an admiration of Millennium also.
Brett’s work has not only caught my eye, or the eyes of Lance’s substantial band of followers, but he has elicited much praise including accolades from such luminaries as director Richard Franklin, director of Psycho II and Tom Holland who wrote, and directed, Child’s Play and Fright Night. So, enjoy the first part of this exclusive interview as Brett talks, Millennium, Frank Black, Lance Henriksen and Bone Dry! He says he’d make a Millennium Movie for free and do you know? As a fan, I would trust him with it.
BACKTOFRANKBLACK.COM: For every fan of Millennium there is a unique set of reasons as to why the franchise struck such a chord with them and no two reasons are ever the same. Would you share with the fans your own particular Millennium story?
BRETT A. HART: When I was working with Jeff O’Brien on the script to “Bone Dry“, I had just gotten married and at the same time the agency I was working for closed their doors. I was penniless for the first time in my life. It was do or die time in my career. So I focused solely on “Bone Dry”. The only means of escape and joy during this very stressful time was viewing Millennium re-runs each night with my new bride. I looked forward to taking a break from the desert visions we were writing and joining ‘Frank Black’ on his journeys through the aberrant. In due time, Jeff O’Brien and I both confessed that our dream actor to play “Jimmy” was Lance Henriksen. I also think that it was one of the finest television series’ ever created. I had already admired The X-Files but preferred the world of ‘Frank Black‘. It was a world that I could believe really existed. Though there were supernatural moments, it always felt plausible. The locations, the cast, the characters, lighting, direction, music and editing just pulled me in. You can feel the influence of “Se7en” in the series and when I was pitching “Bone Dry” to producers I would mention that it would feel a little like “Se7en” in the desert. Ironically one of the producers I was pitching that too hated “Se7en” and actually admitted passing on that film as well.
BTFB: Bone Dry was your first major feature film and one which received many well deserved accolades but I know you didn’t just appear from nowhere. Could you describe for us your own particular path to the movie?
BH: I started my career in film making at age 7. I was writing and creating storyboards years before I got my hands on a camera. The first short story I can remember writing was in 1977. The premise was that of a hero rushing up the stairs of The World Trade Centre to the rooftop. It was a race against time as a blimp overtaken by terrorists, filled with explosives, was being flown towards the buildings. By the time I was 15 yrs old I had a 20 minute short film under my belt. “The Tone Of Murder” was heavily influenced by Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” as well as Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”. This short thriller caught the attention of Richard Franklin (Psycho II) who took me under his wing and encouraged me to never be discouraged. To survive I got into advertising and preferred it over music videos which a lot of directors lean towards. The reason I preferred commercials was that it allowed me the opportunity to work with actors and scripts telling very short stories, whereas music videos never appealed to me because they were primarily eye candy. By the time I was 33 years old I had won several awards for short films, commercials and focused all my efforts to getting “Bone Dry” made. Six years later we finally brought that vision to life.
BTFB: I know you have made comment that Millennium is one source of inspiration that you draw upon when creating your films. What particular aspects of that production do you seek to capture or flavour your own productions with?
BH: It’s not a conscious source of inspiration but it has been a presence for at least two projects. “Bone Dry” and now a dog thriller that Tom Holland (Child’s Play) and I are working on. I think it honestly reflects a portion of my personality. The show is earnest, it rarely felt implausible and Lance’s portrayal of Frank is very believable. I’m attracted to darker material but I have to be honest two of my favorite episodes are actually the lighter ones, “Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me” and “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defence”. Both were so against type that I can’t help but love them. Lance playing a pulp fiction detective is hilarious, the self parody of being “very downbeat” and I love anything with comedic demons. The “Somehow, Satan…” episode reminded me of early Twilight Zones.
BTFB: As fans we often muse about the ways Millennium could successfully make the jump to a big screen adaptation. As a Director yourself do you believe, as we do, that the series is so obviously ripe for such a treatment that it’s a genuine shame it hasn’t been done sooner? In addition, can you perceive any potential problems with making Millennium as a movie?
BH: I concur that Millennium needs to be elevated to a feature film, after all Chris Carter wasn’t able to even resolve the series and unlike first The X-Files film it wouldn’t be reliant on costly effects. I think it’s a travesty that the fans haven’t been given resolution. I do think the challenge is tying together three uniquely different seasons and I also think it would probably need to be a little over two hours to do it justice. Chris is an amazing writer and there is so much potential with a feature. A further challenge in translating a series to a feature is giving the audience the visual vocabulary they’ve grown accustomed to while offering them new depth in characters and visual flourishes.
Check back on Sunday for the second part of this exclusive interview and keep your eyes peeled in the near future for an exclusive giveaway competition courtesy of Mr. Hart!