Kely McClung just has to be famous one day, since he is far too talented and fascinating to end up any other way. McClung is a "Jack of all trades," but also a master of many, I can honestly say.
Mr. Kely McClung is an actor, composer, award-winning director, editor, producer, champion stick-fighter, stuntman, writer, and also has credits in television and films for doing special/visual effects and stunt choreography!
But, McClung does not go walking around with his nose in the air and a stuck out derriere.
For instance, he is not afraid to take risks, otherwise, he surely would not have been so kind to give little ol' me a role in his movie "ALTERED," in which I am a woman who "turns tricks."
Furthermore, McClung put up the following bold, Facebook posting about something that really happened to him one evening: " Two [gang-bangers] told me I had to give them my shirt. I said 'no.' Then, they said 'I had to pay them.' I said 'no.' They just looked confused and wandered off, yelling I had to respect them, or they would have to come back and stab me. I said 'ok'.. It really wasn't as dramatic as it sounds...it was me just eating a hotdog...and I LIKE this shirt."
After having read that, I thought this guy has such balls I bet his entire movie "ALTERED" is amazingly gutsy, and will spark lots of controversy!
Also, with everything that has been said, I was psyched to the extreme to be able to interview Kely McClung, and to share the thoughts in his head.
1. What is your latest movie "ALTERED" about?
The premise is "Good and Evil and the way we look at it. The tag line pretty well says it all...'Change your Perception and You Change Your World... But Good Never Fades and Evil Never Dies.'"
Also, "I would have to say the whole movie is like that: Change your perception and you could easily change the labels." ALTERED" is "A hunt for a serial killer, an action film, and a thought provoking European style horror film. Even, a poignant love story. Of course, wrapped in a lot of blood and hopefully some genuine scares!"
2. What kind of reaction(s) do you hope to get from people after they have seen "ALTERED?"
"Hopefully, the movie works on several levels: a violent, scary horror film, a thought provoking treatise on human nature, an acting showcase for everyone in it, and to push the limits of what people think of as 'no budget' filmmaking. I hope people watch it, and walk out thinking about it.
And, then try to understand, and relate it to their own lives. Maybe, it will stimulate some interesting conversations! The goal of almost any art is to capture moments and emotions in time. In this case, we hope to capture the moments, but let you see they have multiple meanings, depending on what we bring to the table, both intellectually and emotionally."
3. Many kudos to you for winning Best Screenplay for "ALTERED!" How did it feel to win another award?
"Thanks so much! It's pretty cool!"
"I've been extremely lucky to win awards at quite a few film festivals, here and overseas. It's really exciting to win for a movie that is not even done, yet! Mostly, the wins and kudos we've received act as the fuel to keep you going. Even though I have been very lucky, it's also very humbling. [When] going to these festivals, you are constantly reminded how hard other people work, and the wealth of talent out there."
4. Has anyone treated you as though you are a "Royal Whack Job" for having the ability to create such an ingenious screenplay?
"Ingenious" is not the word I've heard very often! [Laughs]. My friends, and other filmmakers I've shared it with, think I'm more than a bit disturbed. Zeke Flatten, the distributor of my first movie 'Blood Ties,' asked to read it. I think he basically said, 'Wow. You have some really serious issues.'"
5. "ALTERED" has some shockingly, realistic hardcore-drug-usage scenes. How was it possible for you to have written about the everyday life of a junkie so accurately?
"Ha ha... not from experience! I watch a lot of movies, read a lot, and talk to a lot of people. As one of my characters in the movie says, 'People are a lot worse than anything they can make up.' That seems to be a theme in a lot of my writing, but we really take it up a few notches in 'ALTERED'"
6. Assistant Director and Producer of "ALTERED," Jessica Imoto Harney, also has smack-dab-in-your-face Einstein ways. What did you like the most about working with her? Do you have any plans to collaborate with each other after "ALTERED" is complete?
"Yeah, you hate to overuse the word 'amazing.' But, Imoto is just that in SO many ways! Very talented, very creative, very accomplished and driven to excellence. Imoto inspires me: so, being around her makes me push myself even harder. I have so many stories and images I'd like to work with her on, and to explore her ideas. I'm not sure how long she can put up with me, but we're pushing for many grand adventures in the future."
7. How has it been directing the stars of "ALTERED" so far?
"Humbling. I try to write showcase scenes, and parts that push actors to their limits, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, and many times both. One of the great joys in making movies, is sharing and exploring all the talent from everyone on the set, cast and crew. I've worked with Rob Pralgo and Stan Harrington before, in 'Blood Ties' and 'Kerberos'. You always try to go with your strongest talent, and these guys can play anything. Our lead actress, Amanda Dreschler, stunning, funny, and talented as hell, is destined for a truly great career. Why all three are not already huge stars is almost shocking. I'm really blessed to have their trust, their skills, and talents to tell my stories."
8. Did you thoroughly enjoy shooting for "ALTERED" in Chicago and Gary Indiana? Did you experience any eery happenings, given the nature of "ALTERED," and some of the locations you shot in?
"I came to Chicago last year for the first time, and fell in love with it! One of the great thrills I've had was to see these wonderful locations on those first visits, to dream about making a movie and filming in some of them, and then to work with Imoto on making it happen. Locations are a huge part of it all, becoming characters on their own, but the people of Chicago and Gary have embraced us and made it possible. Not just the actors and stuntmen, but also the film office of both cities welcomed us, even though we obviously weren't bringing any money to the table. It took a while, and a little effort for our neighbors in Gary to accept us, but now they wave and greet us by name. Hell, even the car thieves we've had meetings with, in both cities, have been nice. Scary, but nice!"
"I think we mostly scare ourselves, and many of the locations, and the scenes we create creep us out. Imoto and I have roamed and scouted a lot of abandoned buildings: churches and schools and hotels. Even an abandoned 5 story hospital. Since many of those excursions come up as we find them, some are done with just the light of our cell phones in the middle of the night. That can be pretty unsettling."
"We're all still trying to figure out why the broken, abandoned church where we filmed some of the more disturbing shots and scenes, has a basement that even when it's in the 90's outside, you can see your breath on the wide open staircase as you go down [it!] Not all the time, but sometimes... and the basement is sometimes hot, and sometimes freezing."
"And yeah, we may be crazy! Imoto and I camped out in a tent in the middle of the same church for four nights to guard our sets, and keep people away from what we were doing."
"We make films to share and explore our thoughts and ideas, and though we can't promise anyone is going to like them, that should give you some idea of the lengths we're going to make great movies!"
9. What is the #1 question you would like to be asked during an interview that you have not been asked, yet?
"How did it feel to win "Best Picture" at this year's Oscars?"
"Talking People and Doing People - I hope to do! Reality Changes in 2012"
For more information about Kely McClung, "ALTERED," the other films he has written ("Blood Ties," "Kerberos" and "Stickfighter"), release dates and so on, please visit:
Imoto Harney http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2630120/
*Photos by Imoto Harney (Top - Kely McClung, Bottom - Amanda Dreschler)