Zack Ward talks to the Movie WhoreThe Movie Whore 2 comments
Zack Ward has had a varied career working with a wide variety of talented people over the years. He started out as the legendary bully, Scut Farkus, in A Christmas Story, did Almost Famous with Cameron Crowe, starred as Dave in the cult hit sitcom, Titus, worked with Steven Spielberg, was yelled at by Michael Bay in Transformers, is starring in this months Postal (May 23rd) and plays opposite Kevin Kline in a riveting dark drama called Trade. There is more to this actor than meets the eye.
TMW: In looking at your career you have worked with a variety of people. What was the one part you really went after when you found out who was attached to the project?
ZW: I would have to say Transformers. When I found out the Optimus Prime was coming out of retirement to be in the movie and make that leap from the 2D world of cartoons to the 3D world of live action, I was in. That is a big risk for any actor to take and I really wanted to support his decision, as Opie, (that’s what his friends call him) and I go way back. We used to hang out with Vanilla Ice in ’87, just partying and snorting WD-40, y' know, guy stuff.
ZW: Actually when I learned that Kevin Kline was going to be in Trade I went for it. I've loved Mr. Kline’s work since "A Fish Called Wanda" and it was a privilege to tackle such important content with a performer of his stature. I put my heart and soul into that film, aspiring to match the levels of integrity, of character that Kevin brings to his work. When we premiered at the United Nations building last summer, it was an incredible moment in my life and career. Having Kevin take me aside and compliment me on my work was more than I could have asked for. It’s an important film and I hope people take the time to see it.
TMW: Sounds like something I may want to check out. I wanted to move on to the movie you have coming out on May 23rd, Postal. There are a lot of people that may not be familiar with it. Can you tell me a little more about it?
ZW: Postal is a brilliantly tacky comedy. If Kubrick made fart jokes, this would be his film. It’s kind of like “Dr. Strangelove” meets “South Park”. Everybody makes gross, rude, sexist, racist jokes in the privacy of their own group of friends. Postal is like a huge "baggin" session where everyone tells their worst, crudest jokes, but this time to the faces of the people they’re making the jokes about and then gets a joke fired right back at them. Postal slaughters sacred cows and then puts them on a bun, which is a good thing as all our religious and cultural separations have only accomplished more wars and strife.
Real comedy comes from pain and Postal is the one movie that has the balls, or the Bolls, to put that pain in your face and make you laugh.
TMW: Now that sounds like something I would want to see. You did this flick with Uwe Boll, what's he like to work with?
ZW: Uwe is a brilliant producer and has God like abilities to get investors for his films. When he gets in the directors chair he has this incredible passion for making movies and in his excitement he misses a lot of details and that makes him a target for critics. This is his workflow: while he’s directing one film he is also posting (organizing the editing, sound, CGI, distribution) his last film and is locking down the financing for his next two projects which he'll shoot almost immediately after the film he's directing and so the process continues. The problem is that he's never fully dedicated to just one movie and therefore he lets a lot of crucial details fall through the cracks. If he slowed down or just produced and handed the directors chair over to someone else for 4 out of the 5 movies he shoots a year, I think he would be a legend and highly respected.
TMW: Interesting take on the guy. I have to say I never knew how good of a producer he is but we all know what his end product looks like. Maybe he should stop wearing so many hats. Speaking of wearing different hats, I hear you have put on the writer's hat. What inspired you to start writing scripts?
ZW: Titus. When I was working on the series we had awesome writers. Aside from Chris Titus, Jack Kenny and Brian Hargrove running the show, we had 14 staff writers, so the writer’s room had an incredibly contagious energy. It was the first time I was around something like that and it sucked me in. I started throwing ideas out and they very kindly told me "Shut up Zack."
Then, one day, I pitched a joke and…IT MADE IT ON AIR! Well, that was like crack for me. I wanted more. The next season I kept pitching and kept hearing "Shut up Zack." Only this time they took me aside and started teaching me about script structure, context and story. I have been working on my writing ever since and have a great writing partner.
TMW: Nice. So what have you done with it so far?
ZW: When I was working on Postal, Uwe asked me if I would be interested in playing Edward Carnby in Alone in the Dark 2. I asked if there was a script yet and he told me no, so I started writing one. I got together with my writing partner, Carl Lucas and we hammered out an outline while I was still shooting Postal. Everyday after wrapping the shoot, we'd work on the script over the phone: him in New Mexico and me in Vancouver. We ended up with a prequel that brought back a lot of the H.P. Lovcecraft type monsters from the original game, really aiming at the die-hard fans but with a sexy edge that anyone could get into. I then talked to my one of my best friends, Todd Tucker, at Drac Studios and he gave me an incredible budget for the special effects. I called my producing partner Ben Moody (of Evanescence fame) and he reworked an Iron Maiden song from the early ‘80’s, made it more cinematic and modern, just amazing. I also scouted some locations for shooting and had everything within the budget that Uwe told me he had to work with. Unfortunately by the time I brought it to Uwe he had his mind set on going another direction.
TMW: Damn that sucks. Do you have anything else you are working on?
ZW: I have a bunch of scripts in every genre. Two have financing waiting to drop. So as they say, “It’s all bullshit till Zack gets paid”. Actually, no one but me says that. But I say it a lot.
TMW: You know, I just did an interview with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment. He is a huge supporter of independent filmmakers. You may want to try getting in contact with him. I will shoot you over the information for submission.
ZW: Thanks bro, I appreciate it.
TMW: No problem. The Movie Whore is all about trying to help others get their films made. Speaking of which, is there any one you would whore out for my next interview? Anyone with a project to pitch?
TMW: Thanks Zack, I appreciate it and I am a fan of both these guys. Thanks again for taking the time for this interview and have a great day.
ZW: You too, it was good talking to you.
Zack is working on an untitled project with Jason London which has my interest peaked and you can find it here. He was great to talk to and really had me laughing throughout the interview. There were other things we talked about that do not show up in this interview and I look forward to talking with Zack in the future. I hope he is able to get his scripts on to the big screen as I can already see he has some great ideas and I believe he could make some quality flicks. There is definitely more to this guy than meets the eye and The Movie Whore wishes him nothing but the best.