Friday, October 1, 2010

Slasher musical has Kingston connections, 10.1.10

KINGSTON — Part-time Kingston resident Vincent D’Onofrio described the meaning of his musical/slasher film “Don’t Go in the Woods” as “young people singing out.”

In this case, the youths, faced with the usual social pressures with which the age group must contend, are “expressing themselves under duress” as they are picked off by an unknown killer during a band retreat into the forest, said D’Onofrio, who is best known for his acting roles as Detective Robert Goren in “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and Private Pyle in “Full Metal Jacket.”

“The characters unveil who they are through the songs,” added Cassandra Lee Walker, a Kingston High School graduate who plays the main character’s girlfriend in her first non-extra role in a full-length feature. “They sing when they are at their most vulnerable. Usually, the song comes right before a death.”

That’s natural in musical theater, said Walker, 25, because emotion is heightened during songs.

The film, which screens tonight at the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper as part of the Woodstock Film Festival’s “Fright Night” event, has been described as “Glee” meets “The Blair Witch Project.” It’s the first full-length feature film D’Onofrio has directed.

D’Onofrio said he has never directed a movie he has not developed himself, and he called caretaking, producing and directing “Don’t Go in the Woods” as “a big job.” Still, he said he is getting a taste for directing.

Walker compared the movie, which was shot on D’Onofrio’s Kingston property in August 2008, to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Sweeney Todd” but said “it is completely different than those.”

A waitress and aspiring actress in New York City after she graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a bachelor’s in theater, Walker connected with D’Onofrio through her Kingston roots.

She had been a regular extra on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” but previously was too nervous to approach D’Onofrio — until she interjected when she heard him talking about his Kingston home.

D’Onofrio described that as a “gutsy” move, and it paid off when he later approached Walker with a role he thought would be a good fit for her — if she could sing.

Walker, who said her favorite role when she was in the KHS Theatrics Club was as Princess Winnifred in the musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” had to audition by singing “Hurricane” for Sam Bisbee, who wrote the music for the film, and immediately was cast as Ashley.

In addition to the connection to her hometown and her longtime dream of performing in musical theater, Walker said the role was appropriate because she loves horror movies and Halloween. As a child, she always took great pride in her costumes and stayed up all night on Halloween watching cheesy 1980s horror movies.

As for D’Onofrio, “I do like horror,” he said.

“It’s not my favorite genre, but you can do a lot with it,” he said. “With horror movies, the audience is willing to take huge leaps of faith. I like that.”

D’Onofrio also described “Don’t Go In the Woods” as a play on the expression that “to create art, you have to get rid of everything around you,” in part because the “cerebral” main character took his band to the woods to eliminate distractions.

Walker, who D’Onofrio said “definitely has talent” and should be able to make it in the film industry if she is persistent, felt her role in the slasher movie “kick-started” her acting career. She hopes “Don’t Go in the Woods” will “randomly pop up in a year,” like “Paranormal Activity,” which she said had similar roots as a small production.

In addition to the 83-minute slasher film, D’Onofrio appears in the 21-minute, Academy Award-winning “The New Tenants,” which is screening at the Woodstock Community Center as part of a group of short films at 5 p.m. today and 1:45 p.m. Sunday.

D’Onofrio said the short film has “a very New York tone to it” that is heightened among people who have been a tenant in the city. According to the festival’s synopsis of the movie, “two men move into a new apartment and find themselves entangled in its terrifying history.”

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List of films in production.

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s. Vincent....Al Anderson


A story about the early life of Tennessee Williams

Directed by James Franco
Vincent D'Onofrio, Jacob Loeb

"American Falls" - [TBA]

In a rural town in Southern Idaho, the Suzukis, a Japanese American family, run a small motel. One night they get a strange visitor who sports ‘city’ clothes who turns out to be the first African-American man that Toru Suzuki’s children have ever seen. Yoshiko takes it upon herself to solve the mystery about this man, especially when 2 police officers come knocking on their door.

Short film produced by Erika Hampson.
Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster.

'Purgatory' [TBA]

'Purgatory' [TBA]
Tagline: In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste. Vincent....Dallas Stoudenmire

"A Fall From Grace" [TBA]

Detective Michael Tabb knows the city of St. Louis inside and out. He has felt its true heart, as much as its dark underbelly: but he does not know who, in both the dark and light - is taking the lives of young girls.

Director: Jennifer Lynch
Producer/Writer ...Eric Wilkinson

Vincent D'Onofrio ....George Lawson (GRACE's father)
Tim Roth.......Detective Tabb

Filming in St Louis - TBA

"Supreme Ruler" [TBA]

A man campaigns to become the leader of the Buffalo lodge.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Hank Dory
Ron Livingston as Steve
Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy

"The Monster Next Door" [TBA]

"The Monster Next Door" - Comedy Horror

Executive Produced by Dennis Johnson, Melanie Mohlman Produced by Eric Wilkinson, David Michaels
Written by Jim Robbins
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Pullman, French Stewart, Bill Moseley

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]
Vincent......Harvey Weinstein

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