[Exclusive Interview] Jamie Nash Talks Exists, Blair Witch, Jason Voorhees and a Horror Star Wars Movie!
Jamie Nash may not be a household name just yet, but you can bet your tail feathers you’re very familiar with his work. He’s a hell of a writer who has worked with some of the best in the business. And he’s a long way from done leaving his mark on the horror genre. Check out our one-on-one with Jamie, and prepare to learn a few ins and outs of the screenwriting business!
Addicted to Horror Movies: Jamie, you’re an extremely talented screenwriter, yet it seems audiences are taking their time in warming up to you. Do you feel like you’re getting the respect you’ve earned, or do you feel it’s going to take more dedication before fans start to understand that we’ve got a serious sleeper talent on our hands?
Jamie Nash: Ha! I’m not complaining. I want and am fighting everyday for more recognition and higher-profile projects and a slice of the Marvel Franchise to call my own, but the goal for me has always been to do this for a living and keep working with people that make it feel less like work and more like fun. So, that part has been a surprising success and I don’t ever take it for granted.
Most of the movies I’ve made are independent stuff. It’s very hard to break out when you don’t have a studio backing you. It’s also harder to make a career of it. It’s hard to crack. In recent years, I’ve been more in the studio/Hollywood mix. So who knows. Maybe there’s a Surperhero in my future.
ATHM: The bulk of your work falls into the horror category. Tell me why. Are you a big horror buff?
JN: Partially because of opportunity, partially because I love it. I love other things too. My favorite movies growing up were the 80’s blockbusters everyone loved – Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back To The Future,etc. But I’ve always had a love for stuff with a dark sense.
One of my earliest memories was having the crap scared out of me by that MAGIC trailer. As a little kid I loved Universal Monsters and Godzilla. I read novelizations of Halloween and Alien when I was in grade school. I was a huge fan of Stephen King and Clive Barker after that. I saw every Freddy Krueger movie the night it came out and had a subscription to Fangoria. I used to make haunted houses in my backyard and explore the scary nearby woods at night. I don’t know why. I think I was born with it.
It’s still genre of choice as entertainment on a Friday night. But a big part of it is I’ve been lucky enough to make friends with people who want to make it. And it’s a genre that has lots of opportunities for plot and tone and storytelling.
ATHM: Exists is one of the greatest bigfoot films ever shot. Were you impressed with the story you wrote, and better yet, how did you respond when you saw that amazing bigfoot costume?
JN: I grew up with Bigfoot via In Search of and Six Million Dollar man. My goal was to make a movie that if someone made a list of the best movies about Bigfoot it was near the top. I also wanted to make a fun movie that was action based and didn’t have a lot of the ‘monster in the shadows’ I’d seen from other Bigfoot features.
The creature insane. Spectral Motion did the suit and Brian Steele was inside. When he showed up on set, it as like a celebrity was walking down. There was a presence there. Everyone would stop and turn. It was like we got Bigfoot to actually star in the movie.
ATHM: It’s obvious that you’ve got a great working relationship with Eduardo Sanchez. Tell me how you two came together to form one of the more noteworthy creative duos in this business?
JN: I had really just begun writing horror. I had mainly been trying to break in as a comedy writer. I wanted to write stuff like the Farrelly Brothers. I also was trying to direct a self-produced horror script. So, I wrote a horror-comedy called PROBED. It was sort of a wacky Evil Dead 2 thing, I intended to direct myself. But I saw an notice on InkTip – a site for writers – soliciting low-budget horror scripts for “The Blair Witch director”. The script went to an LA producer who then sent it to Eduardo. Eduardo dug it and wanted to talk. By pure coincidence, he had just moved back to Maryland – where I live – from Orlando. We met on Halloween night to talk about rewriting the script to be less ‘goofy’. That script became ALTERED my first produced feature.
I wrote another horror comedy – TWO FRONT TEETH – I ultimately self-produced and directed a year later.
ATHM: Do you plan to continue working with Sanchez?
JN: Definitely. He’s been getting more and more into television of late(direction shows like Supernatural, Lucifer, and Queen of the South). Working independently is hard to do. But we still have a bunch of irons in the fire together.
ATHM: Give me a career moment or accomplishment that you take particular pride in.
JN: I didn’t get into the Writer’s Guild of America(WGA) until 5 years ago. To do so, you need to work or sell something to one of their signatories. So it’s the non indy side of things. When I joined I was worried about it, cause I had been making a living for non-union folks for 5-6 years.
In order to earn your standing in the Guild, you need to earn a certain amount of $$ every year. You also can no longer work for non-signatories. I’ve been able to make my minimums for 5 years.
ATHM: Given all the work you’ve had a hand in, and the creative minds that you’ve worked with, I’ve got to know: Have you ever run into a situation where your personality simply did not gel well with others that you were working with?
JN: Yeah, it happens. Never on a movie that got made. It’s never a single person though. It’s usually disagreements at the producer level. Cause I am typically willing to adjust my own creative tracks based on the opinion of a director or producer who is calling the shots. But if you get one producer wanting to go one way and another going another way. It can be difficult to satisfy everyone. And sometimes risky to try.
ATHM: Here’s a random question for you, sir: What in the name of God happened to Altered? It’s an amazing movie and for one reason or another, it went largely ignored by a fan base that’s more likely than not to really dig the movie.
JN: It’s funny. Altered was one of our more successful projects. But most people have never seen it. The movie was purchased by Universal’s Rogue Pictures before it was shot. And we made a profit in that purchase. So all our investors got paid.
But right around the time the movie was coming out, there was some shuffling of personnel at the studio. The new regime had their own agendas and was lukewarm on the movie. They did a single test screening and it didn’t change their minds. They release it but never even put out a trailer on any of their other movies. No ads or anything. It just came out one day without announcement or anything. It was a huge disappointment, when Uni first picked it up everyone involved was sure it would have a theatrical release and trailers and be a big deal.
To this day, it’s the movie that horror fans and filmmakers bring up to me. The movie has a lot of fans. But it’s from the all-in horror fans. I love the movie. It’s the kind of movie I always wanted to make. Quirky, original, dark, funny, etc. I just wish more people had heard of it.
ATHM: I know that Adam Wingard is an extremely talented filmmaker. What did you think of Wingard’s take on the Blair Witch as opposed to Sanchez’s?
JN: I enjoyed it. I think it was overly maligned, as most things Blair tend to be. Adam and Simon Barrett are two of my favorite horror guys. They typically approach things with some ‘meta’ idea or comment about the genre itself. I think Blair Witch was pretty straight-forward. I kind of still want the Blair movie that’s more ‘them’.
It’s a tricky task. If you don’t give audiences the ‘same thing’ then people get made…but if you just give them the same thing what’s the point.
Back in the day, the original Blair team wanted to do a prequel about the witch’s origins. It was a bit like the VVitch. There could’ve been a whole cinematic universe with all the Blair mythology serving as a springboard. That’s the way to go. Maybe one day.
ATHM: I know you have a new project heading our way sometime soon, Griffin’s Ghost. Without spoiling the crucial details, what can you tell me anything about the story?
JN: It’s a haunted house movie with a very weird dark twist. It’s still isn’t totally off the ground…so I’ll wait a bit as not to jinx it.
ATHM: Let’s talk very briefly about a few big franchises that are struggling to get new installments made: The new Friday the 13th seems to be trapped in development Hell and the new Halloween is something of a question mark right now. Would you ever consider writing a screenplay for either film?
JN: Well, Halloween is being made by Danny McBride and company right now. Halloween was one of the first horror movies I saw. I was given the Halloween 2 novelization and read it over and over. I even loved Halloween 4. And season of the witch.
Jason Vorhees ran non-stop on Cable when I was a kid. I practically have those movies memorized.
I’d love to work on either of those.
ATHM: Furthermore, do you have any ideas that could work well to reignite interest in either of those franchises?
JN: No…but what if Silver Shamrock made a Hockey mask and a Captain Kirk mask…
Or maybe LEGO FRIDAY THE 13th…
ATHM: And before I let you go, tell me: What would be your dream writing gig?
JN: Hmmm…I’d kill to write the horror movie in the Star Wars universe. WAMPAS!!!
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