Brian Raetz took time to speak with me for a Horrornews.net exclusive. Brian stars as Hunter Killian in PITCHFORK, written and directed by Glenn Douglas Packard.
You did an excellent job in PITCHFORK. How did you get involved with this project?
Brian: I was living in Chicago the summer before we filmed it. I was heading back home to Michigan and I thought to myself, I should check what audition opportunities are in Michigan as I drive through. So I checked and sure enough Glenn had posted the audition opportunity for Hunter Killian. So I auditioned for the character and Glenn cast me and brought me on the team. I just happened to be driving home to Michigan myself.
How did you prepare to play Hunter Killian?
Brian: I was cast nine days before the shoot so I just jumped one hundred percent into it. I knew that for this I needed to give a hundred percent. It was an exciting opportunity for me to be able to live on set for an entire month. Basically, I just started doing dance routines. I lived in Chicago and I had a TV set up in the living room and I would do these teach yourself dance videos. I did research on Glenn because there are aspects of Hunter that are very similar or parallel to Glenn and his own personal story. What I noticed from Glenn in his videos was that he is always a very happy and positive person. He has a wonderful light about him. I remember one of the days in Chicago I went for a bike ride on this trail that they made out of an old railroad track and I was saying hello and good morning to everyone while I was biking. It was an important experience to have and to share that positivity with everyone. So when I went onto the set that was my main goal to share the love and connect.
What was the most difficult aspect of shooting this film?
Brian: There were a couple things. One was when I arrive home with my friends and I had called Carol and Derek who play my parents at around six in the morning before I arrived on-set and I came out to Derek before he even got to set and he had gotten what I was doing for the film. That moment really hit me and then I called Carol and she was comforting me and being a sweet mother. To experience that as the character was a very difficult moment for me. Then being tied up in the chair during the torture scene.
I felt really bad for you during that scene.
Brian: Yeah, right! I wanted to really experience that during filming so I had Glenn really duct tape me and secure me to the chair. We had to do a bunch of takes where Ma puts the duct tape around my face to shut me up and we had to do like four or five takes and each time we had to rip it off of me. Each time they would rip out some hair or maybe a little bit of skin from my lips. To feel that pain over and over again it starts to really hurt and affect the muscles. That was really physically and psychology challenging.
What was it like for you working with the fellow cast members?
Brian: It was wild because as cast members were dying they would leave. A cast member would die and then get on a flight and leave. We all were so together. That was wild.
Did you do anything different to play Hunter?
Brian: The way I approached this role was I lived through the entire shooting process referring to myself as Hunter and playing up Hunter’s psychology more-so than my own. Everyone on-set called me Hunter and knew me as Hunter so really I was just playing up my imagination. It was great. We played ping-pong. We would make up every morning and go to the gym together. We would explore and it was a riot getting to know each other.
Do you have any brothers or sisters because it seemed easy for you to be a brother to Jenny (Addisyn Wallace) on-screen?
Brian: I do, there are seven of us total. I have a younger brother and an older brother and two younger sisters. So I am right in the middle.
What made you want to become an actor?
Brian: Yes, so for me ever since I was younger, my dad had a camera. I look back and we have that footage and me and my friends are putting on skits and my parents always encouraged us.
You do have writing and directing listed in your credits. Would you want to write and direct your own project again?
Brian: Definitely, I am working on multiple screen-plays at the moment. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I have always enjoyed film-making. I think as an artist it is important to make your own content and share your creativity with the world as much as you can. I would love to share more of what I have to give. I have a lot of energy.
What was it like working with Glenn as a director?
Brian: working with Glenn was great and inspiring. I look up to Glenn a lot. He is such a positive, creative force. He has worked hard to get where he is today. He never compromised on his morals or his ethics. I respect that and appreciate that. He is confident in himself so it was wonderful to work with someone who knew what his creative vision was.
You did a great job in PITCHFORK. If there is a sequel? Will you return?
Brian: I would very much enjoy coming and playing Hunter again but to answer that question it takes place in the writing room with Glenn and Darryl. So we’ll see what happens. I haven’t read the script but I know they are currently working on it. There were times when Glenn would change up the script and we were legitimately left hanging in this place of are we going to die? Are we not going to die? Not knowing kind of only fuels that suspense. I have to roll with the flow. It is an exciting feeling.
What projects are you working on next?
Brian: I am writing and auditioning for new projects.
What do you want to say to the fans and audiences that will be watching PITCHFORK?
Brian: Enjoy, create and be yourself. That is kind of what I have been thinking about recently is truly being yourself. Allowing yourself to do and be what you would like to be and not worrying about how others will think of you. If you think about Hunter that is who he is. He is someone that is going to stay true to himself. If we be ourselves we think people won’t like us or they won’t accept us but the truth is they will. That is what I want to share to anyone who consumes any art that I make.
BRIAN ON TWITTER twitter.com/brianraetz?lang=en