The strongest and most resolute people are often the most determined to not only fight for survival, but also secure and maintain power, especially in the emotionally and physically toughest environments. Actor and producer Shaun Gerardo is proving once again how persistently he’s working to achieve his goals, not just in his overall career, but specifically in his upcoming action film, ‘The Immortal Wars.’ The Carcass Studios thriller is set to powerfully chronicle the fight for survival and power during the war between deviants and humans.
‘The Immortal Wars,’ which is scheduled to be released next year, was written and directed by Joe Lujan, who also served as a producer with Gerardo. In addition to the latter, the sci-fi film also stars Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore.
Gerardo generously took the time recently to talk about starring in, and producing, ‘The Immortal Wars’ during an exclusive interview over the phone. Amongst other things, the actor and producer discussed how he was drawn to play his character of Chris Fresno in the action thriller, as he appreciated how Lujan incorporated both comedic elements and darker tones not only into the overall unique story, but also his bombastic and theatrical character. Gerardo also mentioned how, as both an actor and producer, he appreciated watching his co-stars, particularly Roberts and Sizemore, bring an edginess to their roles and the overall story.
The actor-producer began the conversation by describing the aspects of the role and the overall story that convinced him to portray Chris in the action film. “In a way, the movie’s like ‘The Hunger Games.’ I play this flamboyant announcer who brings comedic likeness to the film. It’s an action movie, and it’s very interesting and commercialized. The characters are also very intriguing,” the actor explained. “The director really went through a lot to bring these characters to life. So it was a really good experience, and it was nice to do comedy for a change.”
Further speaking of the comedic element that Lujan infused into the drama, Gerardo emphasized that he feels “it really brings added value to a film like this one. There are definitely some dark moments-some people are getting their heads torn off.” He laughed as he added, “So I think when you see my character, you think, this guy again! He’s so annoying! But I think it’s important in any film to give the audience a break from the intense moments.”
The performer then reflected on his overall experience of working with the film’s helmer, specifically by noting that Lujan “has been directing films for years. He has been working as a filmmaker for the past five or ten years. But this is the first feature that he worked on that includes a big Hollywood cast, which must have been great for him. I also served as a producer on the film, and I attached Eric Roberts and Tom Sizemore.”
Gerardo also noted that ‘The Immortal Wars’ helmer “works well with people, and also handles pressure very well. He’s a very hard worker, and he’s so fun to work with. We had such a great time shooting it, and we’re still very excited about the film. Joe’s also very open, which is something that I really like. He was concerned with my comfort as an actor, which was very important to me.”
Besides expressing his enjoyment over working with Lujan on ‘The Immortal Wars,’ the actor also fondly remembered his time collaborating with his co-stars on the drama. “Eric is a good friend of mine, and we definitely had our fun. He’s a legendary actor-he’s so amazing at what he does. We spend a good amount of time together, which was a great experience. His energy is great, and he’s always cracking jokes on the set,” Gerardo laughed as he revealed. He added that he thinks that Roberts “is a great guy. Working with him and his family is always very rewarding.”
Then delving into his experience of collaborating with Sizemore, Gerardo called the two-time Golden Globe-nominated performer “an amazing actor. It was great to watch him perform and bring an extra sense of edginess to the character. So it was really amazing to watch him work first-hand.”
Gerardo then began discussing how he became involved in producing, in addition to playing Chris in, the action film. “I was approached by the television series’ executive producer, Bob Larson, because he knew about some of the connections I had in Hollywood. He wanted to see who we could have involve, and create a mutually beneficial relationship. We had some ups and downs throughout the process, including figuring out if the guys were going to be available. But it ultimately worked out.
“As I’m getting into producing more and starting my own production company, it can be grueling, but also very rewarding,” the filmmaker also divulged. “You know that your fate is on your hands. If you fail, you fail yourself. It’s not up to going on hundreds of auditions and just playing that game. There’s a lot more responsibility and work to be done, but it’s ultimately rewarding. The relationships you build are very transformative.”
With ‘The Immortal Wars’ having filmed in Las Vegas, Gerardo noted that the process of how shooting on location influences his acting approach, and it’s different than filming in Los Angeles. “I only go to Vegas for work, but it was also fun to get out of L.A. I have a good group of filmmaker friends in Vegas, and they’re very supportive,” he added.
While the actor has bonded with fellow filmmakers in Las Vegas, he revealed that he had very little on-screen collaboration with his co-stars while shooting ‘The Immortal Wars.’ “In all of my scenes, I’m actually by myself. But in the second and third films of the series, my character is actually going to be more involved in the problems on both sides of the fight between the mutants and the humans. My character’s definitely going to go through a lot of growth throughout the trilogy, which I’m excited to do,” Gerardo added.
“I’m also excited to see what Joe comes up with the second and third films. We’re mainly focusing on getting the first film distributed right now. But I can say that there’s going to be more action and tension in the second and third films. They’re probably going to be darker films overall,” the performer divulged. “The humans are losing a lot of their power, so the next two films are going to be interesting. I’m really excited for the next installments of the series. We’re going to start shooting the second movie in January.”
Gerardo also emphasized his admiration for Lujan’s dedication to, and talent of, creating the looks for the mutants in the film. “I wasn’t involved in the creation of the show’s visuals, including the mutants’ looks and the action sequences. That’s why I have to give it up to Joe-all of that was his concept, before I signed onto the project,” the producer revealed while praising the director’s technical skills.
“I’ve worked with J. J. Abrams before, and I just did stunt work. I know that’s a hard comparison, but I would say Joe’s in that caliber. He’s such a dedicated person,” the actor also noted while further praising his ‘The Immortal Wars’ writer-director. “He always knows what he wants, and he’s willing to do the work to put the elements he wants in his films. Joe gives 1,000 percent to everyone around him, which is really amazing. I was also really impressed with his ideas and what he came up with for the movie, from his artwork to how we brought the scenes to life, and how they looked on screen. He’s a really hard worker, and I’m fortunate to know him.”
In addition to acting and producing films like ‘The Immortal Wars,’ Gerardo is also now working as the Executive Vice President of the new company, Darkest Night Enterprises, Inc. He also discussed what interested him in becoming a part of a production company. “It was interesting-I already had the idea to do it. What really put me over the top was seeing my friends struggling in the acting realm, and losing parts,” He noted. “I know movies, and have been a part of the business for years. So I felt like it was time to take on more responsibility, and change the direction of my growth.”
The actor-producer added that he “was fortunate to be introduced to a really good friend of mine, Michael Sean Erickson, who’s also my partner. He’s also a producer, lawyer and writer; there’s nothing that this guy doesn’t do.”
Gerardo also admitted that the process of launching Darkest Night Enterprises, Inc. “has been really hard, but it’s also really rewarding. If you fail at something like this, you know it’s all on you; it’s not based on anyone’s decisions except your own. You start at the concept, and continue through to the distribution.” While the actor described the process as being difficult, he emphasized that “the experience has been great. My life is being dictated by me, and there’s a real interesting peace about that.”
The production company is currently working on the pre-production of a film called ‘Darkest Night,’ and “we’re going to start filming pretty soon. It will be our first, flagship film. It’s a very interesting horror film, in which fears and insecurities are basically tearing this family apart. The father thinks the end of days is coming, and people are getting murdered in the forest. There’s a lot of tension, but also a lot of great character work.” Gerardo added that the company is “shopping it out to a lot of great actors, particularly for the role of the patriarch, which we’re excited about.”
Gerardo then revealed that he’s happy that iconic horror actor, Robert LaSardo, “plays one of our villains in the movie. He’s known for his distinct television work, as well as being in so many great films. We’re really fortunate to have him at this time.” Gerardo also called LaSardo “an amazing and intellectual individual. From the first time we met, we immediately clicked and saw eye-to-eye on everything. He’s extremely deep, and a great person. It’s such a privilege to work with him.”
The two actors will be reuniting on ‘Darkest Night’ after Gerardo produced the horror thriller, ‘Bleach,’ which was also shot in Las Vegas. LaSardo “shot some scenes for the film, and was great through the entire process. He continues to be a great friend and working partner. So I’m looking forward to working with Robert again on not only ‘Darkest Night,’ but many more projects moving forward.”
Bill Oberst Jr., who he starred with in ‘The Immortal Wars,’ as well as the 2014 action film, ‘Clock Out,’ will also appear in ‘Darkest Night.’ Gerardo also mentioned. “So things are looking good for the movie, and I’m excited to start shooting. I play the lead role, which is very grueling. There are a lot of emotional layers,” Gerardo divulged about his character in ‘Darkest Night.’ “It’s very dynamic for a horror film.”
In addition to starring in and producing ‘The Immortal Wars’ and ‘Darkest Night,’ Gerardo will also be returning to the ‘Alpha and Omega’ film series, after starring in the action comedy franchise’s first sequel in 2013. He then began discussing his role in the upcoming seventh installment of the computer-animated series, ‘The Big Fureeze,’ revealing that “it has been at Lionsgate for awhile. It was supposed to be released last year, but I think they’re now going to distribute it this Christmas. I’m definitely excited to see another installment in the series.”
With ‘Alpha and Omega: The Big Fureeze’ on track to be released later this year, and the upcoming second and third installments of ‘The Immortal Wars’ are also scheduled to film in the near future, Gerardo is now set to mainly focus on producing and working at Darkest Night Enterprises, Inc. While the fimmaker called moving more into producing than working in front of the camera, which he has steadily been doing for the past decade, an adjustment, he emphasized it’s a good alteration in his career. “I’ve been talking to a lot of well-known actors, and helping them get their projects off the ground,” Gerardo revealed. “So I think it’s going to be interesting to evolve into more of a producer role and lifestyle, but I’ll have more responsibility,” which he noted is something he’s looking forward to taking on.
In addition to ‘The Immortal Wars,’ Gerardo can also be seen in the new horror movie, ‘The Dooms Chapel Horror,’ which also stars Oberst, Jr., Austin Madding, Joshua Mark Robinson and Wendy Kneeling. The found-footage independent movie, which is driven by tragedy and revenge, marks the first feature-length horror film from director John William Holt and writer Jason Turner. The thriller will be distributed by Brain Damage Films this Tuesday, June 14, on such formats as DVD and VOD formats as Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Video. The movie follows Madding’s character, Kyle Cole, as he returns to a small town and faces a strange group with nefarious plans. Check out ‘The Dooms Chapel Horror’s promo art below.
Watch the official teaser trailer for ‘The Immortal Wars’ below.
Written by: Karen Benardello