With Egan Productions & Fortress FeaturesThe Neighbor set for release next week, we caught up with the feature film’s star, actor Josh Stewart, for a quick chat on the nail-biting suspense thriller.
Directed by Marcus Dunstan (of The Collector and The Collection) and co-written by he and longtime writing partner Patrick Melton (the two are responsible for Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI and the Feast series, among other films), The Neighbor, which stars Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises), Bill Engvall (Blue Collar TV) and Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) releases this September 6th to Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment, and to Digital HD and On Demand from Starz Digital
Egan, along with Tony Sgro, executive produce the flick in collaboration with Fortress Features, with the film set in, “The small town of Cutter, Mississippi, (where) most people keep to themselves. But when John (Stewart) comes home to find his girlfriend Rosie (Essoe) missing, he suspects his mysterious and off-putting neighbor (Engvall – in an unexpected and shocking performance) – is somehow involved. John learns that Rosie’s life is not all that is at stake after a visit to his neighbor’s cellar. It becomes clear that the seemingly quiet town is more dangerous than it looks, and John and Rosie must do more than just run away if they want to survive the night.”
Stewart, who missed the film’s red carpet premiere last week as he’s currently on another production, took a moment from set to discuss The Neighbor, his work ethic, and whether or not he’d be interested in assuming the mantle of Escape from New York’s Snake Plissken (we here at We Are Indie Horror think that were such come to pass, it’d be some inspired casting).
We Are Indie Horror: You’ve worked with Marcus before on The Collector and The Collection, playing a slightly similar character (a criminal who finds him caught up in the web of a more nefarious one). With The Neighbor, what was your approach to your character of John? There’s something truly haunting in your performance.
Josh Stewart: The character. I’m all about the flaws in people. We all have them. No one dodges that bullet, and from a character standpoint, it’s always cool when you can use those flaws for some good. Turn the curse into a blessing.
WAIH: Your relationship with co-star Alex Essoe in The Neighbor ignites the screen. How was it working with her, and what was your preparation in delivering something so organic?
JS: Alex is great. I’m not really someone who believes in “chemistry.” I believe in doing the work that’s required to tell the story, and when you have someone like Alex who’s intelligent and gifted, you know she’s done her work as well. So, I think what you get from that is “chemistry.”
WAIH: Personally, what was the most challenging scene for you to shoot in The Neighbor
JS: Crawling in out of that damn trap door. I had a bum knee and getting outta’ that thing was turned me into an 80 year old man.
WAIH: The film possesses in tone a grounded, yet rather potentially cynical world outlook. There’s some interesting commentary in Dunstan and Melton’s examination of rural, socio-economically challenged America living “off the grid.” Is there subtext?
JS: I think the world’s tough from every angle. There’s more than one story always being told. It’s up to me to tell the story, and it’s up to the audience to take from it what they see. There’s always a million ways to see the world. As an artist, I think we just force the questions through the work.
WAIH: How was it working with Bill Engvall, who plays the titular The Neighbor in the film? There’s some very tense moments between your two characters in the film.
JS: Bill was great. It was just a good time with him. Good ole’ boys hanging out you know? He’s a pro all the way around.
WAIH: You bring the term “anti-hero” to a whole other level. I’ve got no interest in seeing an Escape from New York redux, but if it does happen, I’m pretty sure you’d make a great Snake Plissken. If such a role was offered, would you take it?
JS: Of course. Look, I don’t believe in “heros.” I believe in people just doing what’s right or what needs to be done in any situation. It’s definitely more fun playing the dude that can fight fire with fire, though, I can tell you that.
For more information on The Neighbor, visit the official site here – http://frightdome.com/the-neighbor/ .