Jason Priestley is known for his role of Brandon Walsh on “Beverly Hills, 90210”. He recently starred in the new western film “The Last Rites of Ransom Pride”, referred as “a tale of bad-bitches and despicable bastards who cuss and kill each other” from its director. Jason is also currently directing movies and starring in his own cable TV series. Movie Mikes was able to talk with Jason for a few minutes about his role in “Last Rites of Ransom Pride” and find out what else he is currently working on.
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Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with this movie “The Last Rites of Ransom Pride”?
Jason Priestley: I received the script from Tiller (Russell). When he was casting the movie, I was one of the guys who came up in casting to play that part. One of the producers Chad Oaks is a guy I’ve worked with before and who is good buddy of mine. I felt the script was such a refreshing and new take on the western genre. I got on the phone with Tiller and I talked to him about the story and how he wanted to tell it. I got very excited by what he wanted to do and I wanted to be a part of it. That was that.
Mike Gencarelli: We were able to interview director Tiller Russell earlier and he told us he was able to take you and put you in this “weird ass role”, tell us about your character John?
Jason Priestley: The apostles, played by myself and Earl Brown, were these two killers that we hired to go and chase down Juliet Flowers. The way that I approached it and from what I got from the script was that John was this guy, who was unwanted from his mother and born to a prostitute. He was left with Kris Kristofferson’s character and raised by him to do whatever he needed to do. That is who he was. He was a guy who didn’t have any social graces, any education, any life experiences. He didn’t have anything. He was 35-40 year old man with the mental capacity and emotional understanding of a child, who was capable of doing whatever it was that his “father” or father figure told him to do. He is very simple and didn’t let anything get in his way from completing the task that was in front of him. Characters like that are fun because they are so clear of purpose. John looked up to Earl Brown’s character a little bit because he was a little older, a little wiser and knew more about the world. He was always trying to learn and understand more from him about the world.
Mike Gencarelli: As a director, how was it working with first time feature director, Tiller Russell?
Jason Priestley: Tiller’s enthusiasm and energy is absolutely infectious. He is incredibly capable with everything he does. He was so energetic all the time, that made going to work every day really fun. I think that he has an incredible eye and visual style and it really comes across in the movie. He really let all of us go as far as we wanted with our performances. He even pushed us to go even further which was fun as an actor to get free range. It doesn’t happen that often.
MG: You started directing going back to “Beverly Hills, 90210”, you have done quite a bit yourself, what has been your favorite project?
JP: Wow, that is a hard one man to choose. I just finished the whole summer up here in British Columbia directing a western myself. I have a whole new respect for what Tiller went through directing “Ransom Pride”. Westerns are a genre in themselves. The magnitude and the scale of everything when you shoot a western, as a director, it is like nothing else you will ever tackle. It is really quite humbling and quite empowering at the same time. It is kind of like having a child. It is big task taking on a western. I had incredible respect for what Tiller accomplished before but now I actually directed one myself, I have even more.
MG: Are you planning on directing any more episodes of the new “90210”?
JP: You know what ever since I directed an episode, I have been booked on other projects. If my schedule frees up and if they got a free episode I would love to go back there. I had a great time directing that show.
MG: Tell us about the upcoming projects that you are working on?
JP: The western I just got done directing is called, “Goodnight for Justice” and it will be on the Hallmark Channel in January. From here I go right to Nova Scotia to shoot a second season of the show that I star in for HBO Canada. It is called “Call Me Fitz” and it is a half hour single camera comedy. It is a very funny show and I am very excited about it.
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