In our final interview, Twilight’s Requiem talks to the man behind the vampire slayer: Actor/ Special Make-up Effects: Troy Dennison (Trenson)
TR: Can you tell us a little bit about your character?
TD: Trenson is a hard-bitten man with a haunted past and the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s strung out on pills and booze, hunting the creatures of the night 24/7 for a shadowy organisation that may or may not be part of the government. Trenson has lost people he’s close to before and it has hardened him and made him determined to keep the world safe from vampires, ghouls and goblins.
TR: What preparation did you do for the role?
TD: I’m no Hollywood movie star but I still felt that I had to get into some semblance of fitness for this film. Unfortunately my dog Theo isn’t much of a personal trainer so I had to do it all by myself. Mostly it was a case of eating a more healthy diet, doing weights and a general light CV workout. I also managed to clock up an average of forty miles a week walking.
TR: What was the most challenging aspect of the production for you?
TD: On the second day we were on Cannock Chase early in the morning to film Trenson chasing down a vampire played by Tim Cartwright. Dom sets up the camera for the shot and says “I want you to start over there.” Of course he’s pointing to a hill that looks like it’s a mile away. So off we go, Dom calls action and we start running; Tim trying to get away and me doing my best Robert Patrick T-1000 impression. The first time I was a wee bit too fast and caught Tim up, so we reset. The second time I’m pounding along, down the hill, past the pond, up the other side towards the camera. Then I see the ditches and have to start leaping like a gazelle; one, two, three! And we did it all half a dozen times, so in the end I was rather glad for all the training I’d done beforehand.
TR: What is your favourite part of reading a new screenplay?
TD: As an actor I love the surprises that each turn of the page brings. It’s so cool to see where each twist and turn of the story will take you. As an Effects Artist I usually find myself chuckling along to any brutal death scene because I know I’m going to have to figure out how to bring it to the screen at some point and I love the challenge that presents.
TR: Did anything unusual happen during the filming of Don’t Get Bitten?
TD: For me there were a few minor on-set mishaps like almost losing an eye to a viciously hurled newspaper, being stabbed in the chest with a rather pointy sword enthusiastically wielded by Rayne (Reeves) and walking into a tree. But the most unusual moment came late one night when we were shooting on a semi-suburban street. The camera is rolling and there I am armed to the teeth; stakes, knife, longbow, arrows. I’m cheerfully busy ramming a stake through the heart of a vampire I have pinned to a car when out of the corner of my eye I see the blue flashing light of a Police car. We spent the next ten minutes having to explain what we were doing to the nice Police officers while they cracked Robin Hood jokes!
TR: As both an actor and Special Effects Make-up Artist what is it like to perform in front of your own blood and gore?
TD: It’s actually a bit of a treat. Working with lots of blood and guts while you’re in costume is a bit of a challenge though. The first time it happened it threw me completely, having to act with someone whose intestines were hanging out, especially as I was responsible for the disembowelling. It’s tremendously good fun though and there aren’t many people out there who get to combine their jobs in such an unusual and interesting way.
TR: Who is your favourite vampire slayer and why?
TD: I have to go oldskool on this and say Peter Cushing’s Abraham Van Helsing in the classic Hammer Dracula series. Cushing brought a wonderful gentlemanly charm to the role and his performance is still head and shoulders above anything you see today.
Don’t Get Bitten is the latest independent film from Staffordshire based Loosecrew Productions.