Interview - Michael Stone
I recently had the opportunity to get to know Michael Stone a little bit. Of course, we all remember Michael as Dean in BLOODY MURDER.
First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions regarding your time spent at Camp Placid Pines as Dean in the 2000 camp slasher BLOODY MURDER.
Let's get started, shall we...
Can you recall your first memory of the production of BLOODY MURDER? Maybe auditioning or the first time you read the script?
I do remember auditioning. I remember pretty distinctly going to a callback, having no clue whether they liked me or not, and then getting a call from my manager to tell me I'd been cast. I was kind of floored. I'd been in LA for about four months (having just moved from New York), and this was the first thing I booked. I knew nothing about the movie at all -- I don't know that I'd even read the script. I was just happy to be in something.
What was the atmosphere on set like? Did everyone get along?
Everyone was great. There wasn't really time for drama -- I think we shot the whole thing in two weeks. I remember feeling old. I was 26 during production, and everyone else was in their late teens or early 20s. So maybe there was drama and I just didn't know about it...? But I remember liking everyone and it being a pretty fun, friendly environment.As Dean, you played a pretty convincing red herring as Whitney's jilted ex-boyfriend -- was that a character that was easy to slip into?
Yeah, I'm pretty much a softy and a pushover. I don't know how convincing I was -- I showed my wife the scene in the canoe shortly after we started dating, and she burst out laughing. That's not really my personality. But it was fun to try to play a bad boy.
What was it like filming your death scene? I'm sure getting your throat slashed by a hand-rake isn't a picnic.
That was a ton of fun, though actually the effect didn't work the way it was supposed to. We were under a big time crunch. I had to get the prosthetic glued to my neck (a fake "neck" with hand-rake slash marks), the sun was going down, and we had to get the shot on that day. The prosthetic neck was attached to a hose and a pump, and the special effects guy (who had shimmied himself under the car) was supposed to work the pump so that blood would go gushing out of my neck after I got slashed. It was all supposed to be very gory. But in the rush to get the shot done before we lost our light, someone (maybe the fx guy? Maybe Trevor Moorhouse?) stepped on the hose and it came loose from the fake neck. So when we actually did the take, some blood came out of my neck, but a lot more went dribbling down my back. Unfortunately, we could only do one take, and that was it. But it was a ton of fun. And I have a ridiculous death scene captured forever on DVD!Have you kept in contact with anyone from the movie, cast or crew?
No, unfortunately. I used to see Tracy at the restaurant where she worked, and I bumped into Jessica on a plane once. But I didn't see much of them after we wrapped. Too bad -- I liked those folks.According to IMDb, you've done one other film -- is acting something you just sort of fell out of?
I stayed in LA for a little over three years, and I booked a couple of small things, but I just didn't have the drive. You have to be either incredibly talented or incredibly driven to succeed in order to make a living as an actor, and I wasn't either of those things. And I was approaching 30, I began to feel like my life was slipping away and I didn't have much to show for it. I'd been fortunate enough to have an incredible education and all sorts of opportunities, and at a certain point, it felt like I was piddling my life away auditioning for guest star roles on Buffy. I needed to do something with my life that would make me feel like I was contributing something to the world. So I decided I was done with acting, I moved to New York, and I applied for a program called the New York City Teaching Fellows. Through that program, I ultimately became a math teacher at a low-income public school in Brooklyn.I've heard mixed feelings from other cast members on how BM turned out. What's your personal stance on the film? Considered a rip-off, but I like the term "homage" better.
Oh, it's a terrible movie. Truly terrible. At one point, I think it was in IMDB's bottom 100 of all time. I mean, it's kind of a badge of honor to have done this thing. "Rip-off" or "homage," it doesn't really matter. It's just kind of a mess. A lovable mess, but a mess. I don't know that I expected it to be any better than it actually was, but I do remember hoping that I could at least use something from the movie for my reel for casting directors. Alas...Were you aware that BLOODY MURDER 2: CLOSING CAMP existed? It takes place five years after the events of your movie, following Tracy, whose brother Jason (played by Justin Martin in BM1) disappeared at the camp.
I did know that, and I'm sorry to say, I've never seen it. I think it was on cable once and I caught a few minutes of it... Looks like maybe the production values were a little better than ours (I think we only shot on 16mm). And the acting was a little better. But I'm afraid I've never seen the thing. Is that bad?BM almost became a major direct-to-video franchise. BM 3 & 4 were written, but later changed to THE GRAVEYARD and THE BUTCHER, respectively. Is it crazy to imagine that the little camp slasher you starred in would create a franchise? (THE GRAVEYARD is considered a spin-off of the BM films, it takes place at Placid Pines.)
Now THIS is a complete surprise. Really?? That is insane. My wife now thinks the franchise needs to be revived so that I can re-live my glory days. I had to remind her that Dean is dead. To which she responded, "or is he...?"Were you aware that BM had such a large online fanbase? The BM films inspired many aspiring filmmakers (myself included).
Again, I'm a little surprised, but that makes me happy. In truth, I had a great time making the movie and it's kind of fun for me that it has a following after such a long time.
Life changes as time passes, is acting something you'd ever be interested in getting back into?
Yes! My life is a but hectic these days, but I get to do something very occasionally. I played Mr. Darcy in a local repertory company's production of Pride and Prejudice a couple of years ago. That was a blast. I hope to do something again soon when work and personal schedule allows.I ask you what your first BM memory was, but what about your favorite/best?
I think it has to be the death scene. I mean, how many people get to have their throats slashed on camera, captured for all eternity?? That was a lot of fun.Lastly, what are you up to nowadays?
I co-lead an education non-profit in New Orleans that has helped me transform educational opportunity for public school students since Hurricane Katrina. I live here with my wife -- civil rights attorney by day, ballet dancer by night -- and our young son. I grew up in New Orleans, and my wife and I moved here from New York in 2010 so I could do this work in the city I love. Before that, I lived in New York for about eight years, first as a teacher, then as a business school student, then as a strategy consultant. So it's been a pretty circuitous path from Bloody Murder to 2015. But I wouldn't trade any of my experiences -- even the tough days in LA. And I certainly am glad to have been apart of this movie.It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you about a film you did sixteen years ago. For what it's worth, I hold BLOODY MURDER very near and dear. It has inspired me to do things in the film industry I never imaged. Thanks for being a part of something that means so much to not only me, but many others like me out there.
I wish you nothing but the best in any and all future endeavors.
Interview conducted on June 23, 2015.