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Exclusive Interview: Adrian Favela and Dylan McTee Talk Wrong Turn (2021) [Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Release]

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Exclusive Interview: Adrian Favela and Dylan McTee Talk Wrong Turn (2021) [Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Release]

Anyone who goes into the woods won’t come back in the new horror movie, ‘Wrong Turn (2021).’ A new group of young friends are learning the hard way that intruding on the existence of a hidden community of mountain dwellers, even inadvertently, will shake the very foundation of their lives. Saban Films is releasing the cautionary tale today on VOD, Digital, DVD and Blu-ray.

Set in contemporary times, ‘Wrong Turn (2021)‘ is a reimagining of the popular 2003 film of the same name. Alan B. McElroy, who wrote the script for the original drama, returned to pen the series’ latest entry, which is the seventh overall installment in the franchise. The new thriller was directed by genre veteran Mike P. Nelson, and stars Charlotte Vega, Adrian Favela, Dylan McTee, Adain Bradley, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Daisy Head, Tim DeZarn and Matthew Modine.

‘Wrong Turn’ follows Jen (Vega) and a group of her friends as they set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course—and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who are led by Venable (Bill Sage), and use deadly means to protect their way of life. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return—unless Jen’s father, Scott (Modine), can reach them in time.

Favela and McTee generously took the time recently to talk about starring in ‘Wrong Turn (2021)’ during individual exclusive interviews over the phone. Among other things, the actors discussed that they were drawn to star in the movie in part because of the way McElroy intertwined classic slasher thriller elements that he also included in the original film with some of the biggest social issues that are seen in contemporary American society. The duo also expressed their appreciation that as the drama’s director, Nelson encouraged them and their co-stars to collaborate with each other, and also use their own ideas, while they were developing their characters.

McTee began his interview by explaining why he was inspired to portray his character of Adam in ‘Wrong Turn (2021).’ “The film is about a group of friends who go missing on the Appalachian Trail and the subsequent interactions they have with a group of people called The Foundation, who have lived there in hiding for generations. My character, Adam, is the difficult one of the friend group. He has a huge chip on his shoulder, and he likes to stir the pot,” he shared.

“What drew me to the project really was the way Alan B. McElroy, the film’s writer, who also wrote the original film, as well, infused a true classic slasher thriller with some of the biggest social issues we’re dealing with today. I think we’re all a little bit quick to judge, and that’s included in this film. Overall, the film seemed really fun,” the actor also noted.

The conversation with Favela began with the performer explaining what drew him to play his character of Luis in the thriller, and how he became attached to the project. “I got the part through a basic audition. When I was going in for the audition, I remember seeing the name ‘Wrong Turn,’ and had flashbacks to when I was 10 and saw the original movie, and was absolutely horrified,” he shared with a hint of a laugh.

“I landed the role after my first audition. I then started talking to Mike about my character, and he really believes in horror with heart, which is a new approach to the common horror film. We really brought a lot of heart to Luis,” the actor continued.

“In a lot of horror films, we have the man who’s the hero. But with this film, we really flipped that idea on its head, and give a lot of breathing space to the male characters, specifically Luis,” Favela revealed. “With him, we really get to see a human unravel throughout the story, and I think that’s really special for this new film.”

Following up on his experience of collaborating with Nelson as ‘Wrong Turn (2021)’s helmer, Favela shared what his experience of working with the filmmaker was like on the set. “It was really great working with Mike. He’s a very calm and meticulous director, so you feel very confident in everything you’re doing,” the performer gushed about the director.

“A lot of times, you don’t have a lot of space to collaborate. But Mike wanted to hear our ideas as the cast, and what we thought would help bring our characters to life. Ultimately, as the cast, you’re bringing yourself, and everything you’ve experienced in life, to your character. Mike was just there to guide us in the right direction,” Favela also shared.

“I also really appreciated that Mike took the time to really care about each cast member. With each scene, he really checked in to make sure you felt secure in what was about to happen, especially with heightened emotions. I think that was really special,” the actor continued. “He also wanted to pull the audience into the horror that the characters are feeling. So it was really cool and special to work with him.”

Working with Nelson throughout the production was also an experience that McTee cherished. The performer noted that he thinks the helmer is “wonderful. When you’re on set with someone who’s so excited about what he’s doing, it’s exciting. Being affected by that sort of energy was great. I’m just starting my career, and Mike has been a standout, in terms of directors I’ve worked with so far. That’s particularly true with the amount of fun he allowed us to have, and the freedom he gave us. That’s really essential if you want to be a director, and I would love to work with him again; he’s amazing.”

Working with his co-stars in order to build the relationships between their characters was also a process that Favela cherished throughout the movie’s production. “Before we started filming, Mike reached out to everyone in the cast and put us in a group chat. He said, ‘The film really pulls a lot of weight from the relationships between you guys.’

“So before we started shooting the film, he wanted us to go out and get to know each other and start building those relationships. Vardaan (Arora), who played Gary, flew in from New York, and everyone had lunch together at El Coyote in Hollywood, and we had a really good time. That was the basis of getting to know each other,” the actor shared.

“From that point on, I hung out a lot with Dylan and Charlotte, and we did a lot of work-outs together. Ultimately, that really brought us closer, and diminished the walls of being strangers,” Favela continued. “With Mike’s approach of how he had us meet before shooting began, we were able to tear down that wall, and create this really intense process together as friends.”

Collaborating with his fellow actors was an experience that McTee also enjoyed throughout ‘Wrong Turn (2021)’s shoot. “This was a pretty low-budget film, so unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other. But we took it upon ourselves to do that once we got out to where we shot, and we had about a week to do so,” he shared.

“We filmed in the middle of Ohio, and none of us are from there, so we didn’t know what we could do there. But it was fun to get to know people who you may not have gotten to know otherwise,” the performer noted. “We laughed and fought, and everything we experienced is on the screen.”

As the story begins, Luis and Adam’s group of young friends are all at critical turning points in their lives, as they contemplate relationships, careers and looming adulthood. Favela embraced his character’s journey throughout the film, as it offers him clarity on who he truly is as an overall person.

“The way that we approached growing the characters in the story was very organic. We do have these huge beats where we take jabs at Luis, especially in the beginning. There’s a scene where we see Gary trying to hold Luis’ hand, and we see the judgement,” the actor shared.

Nelson “created all of these little nuances to create the pressure that’s starting to happen in the character. There’s so much happening with Luis, and all of these jabs start hitting him, and it started gutting him. Mike wanted everything to be gutted,” Favela continued.

“The character wouldn’t step out of line; he knows where he’s at in life, but we eventually get to the explosion of a man falling apart. He hits tragedy, and everything starts falling apart. From that point on, Mike wanted a huge crescendo in the character’s emotions, and he kept encouraging me to go a little further and bigger, so that we could bring the audience in to feel what Luis was feeling in each moment,” the performer added.

McTee also embraced the experience of building his character’s journey throughout ‘Wrong Turn,’ as it offers him clarity on who he truly is as an overall person. “The character of Jen, who’s played by Charlotte Vega, is the heart and emotional map of our story. Adam’s a supporting role, and he represents the journey and authentic assumptions that we have, and the dangers of that. What’s fun is that he’s not just one thing, which is part of the reason why I liked playing him. He’s super selfish one minute, and the next minute, he’s comforting and consoling his friends. I would argue that at the end of the day, perhaps he’s not the best person. But it was fun to play someone who you don’t really know what he’s going to do next.”

The actor then delved into what his experience of creating the physicality for his character of Adam while he was shooting his scenes. “I love stunts. From the second I started working professionally, I immediately realized that I love doing stunts and the physical elements of fighting, jumping and being thrown around and dragged. This movie had it all,” he shared with a laugh. “That was definitely part of what attracted me to the role.

“The horror genre in general is deeply physical, so you have be tough as an actor to be able to do these films. I really respect the actors who do it,” McTee added.

Favela also shared what his experience of creating the physicality for his character of Luis, especially during the action sequences, was like during the production. “Mike and I discussed how tightly wound Luis might be, and these types of characters really close up; they’re not reaching for attention. I think that was something that was really interesting, because in horror movies, most characters are reaching for some type of attention all the time,” he pointed out.

“So having a character who’s really reserved was something that’s unique to this story. We really see Luis come out of nowhere, particularly when it comes to the physicality. He goes from being a reserved person to then losing everything and falling apart,” the performer also shared.

The experience of shooting the drama on location in Ohio was also a part of the filming process that Favela cherished throughout the production. “It was pretty intense. We were filming on location in Hocking Hills State Park, which has tiny trails, and we had a lot of crew members. In some scenes, we had to be roped up, so that we could make sure that everyone was safe. There were also a lot of caves and wildlife, so it was really intense to shot there,” he revealed.

“A lot of scenes in the film take place at night, so I remember being on to set, and only being able to see a few feet in front of me. So I trusted the crew members were going to lead us to the set safely,” the actor divulged.

“Another huge part of being on that part of the set was shooting the judgment scene, and we were in The Foundation’s judgment hall. That scene was actually filmed underground in an old brewery. So that scene was definitely really tight and strenuous to shoot,” Favelas hared. “But those types of sets really brought everyone together, and kept us in character throughout the entire film.”

McTee also chimed in on how shooting ‘Wrong Turn (2021)’ on location in Ohio further helped him connect with his character of Adam and the feature’s overall plot. “I think when you have to drive a few hours out into the wilderness, and then you have to hike down the trails with your friends, you can’t help but be immersed in the world. One location I was really in was the cave, where we finally meet The Foundation, and come face-to-face with our foes. I remember sitting there and being tied up, half naked, and at that point, I couldn’t help but be in it. Shooting at all of the different locations was really fun.”

Further speaking of The Foundation, Favelas pondered that the thriller also contemplates the state of mind of the world is in today, especially in the fact that one person’s dream can become another person’s nightmare; Luis, Adam and their group of friends’ ideal lives are the polar opposite of what The Foundation cherishes in their society. The performer delved into what the experience of highlighting how both groups’ beliefs conflict with each other, and both sides feel their values are better than the other, was like during the shoot.

“As far as The Foundation and it’s people, I thought it was a really interesting approach to include them in the film. From an anthropological standpoint, we’re really just looking at two different societies as they’re colliding,” Favelas noted. “The Foundation is only living on their own ideas and laws. But Luis and his friends think they’re the modern-day Americans who are living true to what they believe in, so there’s a huge collision of who’s right and who’s wrong.

“It was really interesting to work with Bill Sage and Daisy Head, as they really brought something interesting to their characters. They had these really intense accents, which brought us into the part of the story that Luis and his friends weren’t originally a part of,” the actor revealed. “It was a really interesting experience.”

With Saban Films releasing ‘Wrong Turn (2021)’ today On Demand, Digital, Blu-ray and DVD in North America, Favelas shared his enthusiasm that audiences will be able to watch the feature safely at home. “The film is being released digitally across the U.S. and Canada, which is pretty exciting. I heard it’s been doing pretty well (in theaters) in Australia right now. I’m a little bit jealous that it’s playing in theaters over there, but I’m happy that everyone here in the U.S. can now watch it On Demand,” he concluded.

McTee also expressed his excitement that genre fans are now able to see the drama safely at home through the Digital and disc distribution. “I think people are going to be totally shocked when they see the movie…But it’s an interesting time for theaters in America. I’m kind of sad that I wasn’t able to see the movie in a theater; part of me wanted to fly to Australia, but they wouldn’t take me!,” he noted with a laugh.

“But we have to do what we have to do, and the safer route is to have the Digital release. I’m going to watch it with my mom on Digital, and I’m going to watch her scream her head off!,” the performer concluded with a laugh.

Summary
Photo ofAdrian Favela and Dylan McTee
Name
Adrian Favela and Dylan McTee
Job Title
Actors in the horror thriller, 'Wrong Turn (2021)'

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As a life-long fan of entertainment, particularly films, television and music, and an endless passion for writing, Karen Benardello decided to combine the two for a career. She graduated from New York's LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic. While still attending college, Karen began writing for Shockya during the summer of 2007, when she began writing horror movie reviews. Since she began writing for Shockya, Karen has been promoted to the position of Senior Movies & Television Editor. Some of her duties in the position include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, producing posts on celebrity news and contributing reviews on albums and concerts. Some of her highlights include attending such festivals and conventions as the Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, SXSW, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Film Festival and New York Comic-Con.

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