Director Ben Roberds and his co-director Jordan Reyes bring a new and fresh zombie film, “A Plague So Pleasant” stars Eva Boehnke, David Chandler and Maxwell Moody. “A Plague So Pleasant” will be released on DVD September 29th. Ben spoke with Horrornews.net for an exclusive.
Tell us a little how you started with the process of getting “A Plague So Pleasant” made?
I am Benjamin Roberds co-director of “A Plague So Pleasant” basically my co-director Jordan Reyes and I we quit our jobs back in 2010 and we just set out to make a zombie movie kind of on a whim and it took about three years of our life.
What challenges did you face directing this film?
Well I mean the challenge was figuring out how to make a film, while we were making it. We didn’t go to film school but Jordan I have been making films since we were eleven years old together. It was a really organic set where Jordan and I were passing the camera back and forth and we were lucky enough to make it in Athens, Georgia where there is just an endless swarm of extras. With the college being there everybody wanted to be a zombie. So you know it was some kids with a camera and forty extras. We only had one make-up artist and that was Tylar Carver and she was sixteen at the time. She learned how to do make-up on YouTube and literally there was a line of people all for one little girl doing make-up. (The Zombie on the poster is by: Wild Eye releasing distributor and Tylar’s eyeless Zombie is featured on the back cover of the DVD)
What Directors did you look up when you were growing up and who would you like to work with in the future?
I’ve always looked up to the standard directors, Tarantino, George A. Romero but especially Gaspar Noe who did “Enter the Void” and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Those are my two top favorite ones at the moment.
Professionally, who inspires you?
A lot of the people around me in town cause professionally it’s because I am working with more and more people in Athens.
Will you be screening “A Plague So Pleasant” anywhere or did you have the screening?
We actually had the screening a couple years ago. Right now it is coming to DVD and that screening was we packed a local Athens theatre full of locals, it was nearly two hundred people packed into a small theatre to where half the people were standing up. It was really amazing to see that. I went from waiting tables to suddenly there is a crowd of people that’s cheering. It was an energetic night.
How do you feel knowing your film is on DVD now?
It is so amazing. Literally it was I was just talking to Jordan and I said you know I think we need to make a movie. I got this fourteen page script, it was fourteen pages at that time and slowly as the movie went on, added some more parts. So to go from that point where we were like lets quit waiting tables and let’s try to scrape by doing solo artist stuff. We just powered through it and the main actor was our friend David Chandler and Eva Boehnke we met though CraigsList. She did not even have an audition, we were like okay you seem to know how to act. And Max Moody was a friend of ours as well. We had no audition and we gave her [Eva] some lines to read a few days before we shot and she’d nailed it. A lot of this has been a lot of luck and we are lucky to have it on DVD.
What projects will you be working on next?
Right now that is kind of up in the air. We worked on some music videos in the past and we have done some short films. So, right now we are trying to figure it out.
What was your favorite thing about directing “A Plague So Pleasant?”
It was really fun, that’s the thing. Every single day we were learning something new. For a long time Jordan and I would make a short film and we’d throw it together real quick and it would be like oh man, I can’t believe we did that. So to do a feature it felt like every day it felt like what we were supposed to be doing in life. And it has never not felt like that since. It is invigorating and for the first time we really felt like directors and been able to say we’re directors with confidence. We have been directing things ever since then.
What advice would you offer to current and future directors?
I’d say if you want to become a director you have to just jump into the water and it’s going to be extremely cold at first. It is not like you are yourself and you become a director and you are you as you were in the past, it’s more like to become a director you become a different person. It’s a completely transformative process because eventually its growing up.
Was becoming a director your primary dream job when you were growing up?
Basically when I was eight years old my dad got a video camera and I wanted to play it and he said well you can’t play with it but you can use it if you write a script and I approve it you can use the camera. That kind of gave me incentive and there is a process to this and it’s a serious thing. I started writing scripts to use the camera and he would read it over and say okay this looks organized, here you go and I need the camera back at this time. It was almost like I was renting equipment when I was eight years old. Then when I was eleven I met Jordan and we started making movies together and then it went up to “A Plague So Pleasant.” It was really a long time coming. It kind of feels like a lifestyle. It’s never really a job, it’s just what we do.
What do you want to say to the fans and to the people who will be purchasing the DVD?
I mean you are watching two years of my life on that screen and I really thank everybody who sits down with it. They always say it is unlike any Zombie movie they have seen before because it is a very surreal kind of movie. The first half of the movie is extremely depressing. The zombies are more of a background aesthetic and it does kind of make you think about the genre as it goes along. I kind of wanted to make something that tracks the Zombie genre all the way from the original “Night of the Living Dead” to the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead” which I think is an interesting time and a stretch of a genre that you can see in cinema. This movie just takes a little bit of all of that. Thank you for watching it.