Fire City: End of Days is a new film from practical effects dude Tom Woodruff Jr. (Alien vs Predator, Monster Squad, Pumpkin Head). I believe it’s his feature film debut. Fire City was one of the earlier kickstarter films (circa 2013) that helped kick off a resurgence of high quality practical effects in smaller movies. I’d seen teases of the film for quite a while now so, needless to say I was anxious to see the full thing. Now the film is finally out and available on streaming services and home video (DVD/BD).
For those unfamiliar with the film’s plot; it revolves around a community of demons in our world who quite literally live off the misery of we poor sap humans. The demons are visible in their demon form when humans aren’t around and otherwise appear as regular people when humans are in viewing distance. The result is an interesting switching back and forth between the awesome make-ups and non-make-up forms.
The first of my interviews with the cast of the film is with actress Kristin Minter (ER, Highlander) who plays one of the humans who’s terrible state of being is sustenance for the creatures. I’ll warn you that it does get into spoilers so, probably seek out the film before you read through this. Come back though as there’s some insight into the story to be had.
Q: How did you come to be involved with this project?
Kristin Minter: I auditioned for it. I knew Tobias [Jelinek] was in the film and I love him so, I read the part of Jane and was immediately in LOVE with it and the opportunity to play such a diverse character.
Q: Tell me about the character you play?
Jane is Sara’s mother. I think she has given up on life and is on a heinous downward spiral. Then luckily for her and Sara they are surrounded by demons and the humans get a virus that makes us happy. Maybe Jane has a glimpse of what life can be in that moment of happiness. She is at least trying to get it together in the end for her daughter with a little help from Vine!
Q: Describe your preparation as an actor and approach to building these two distinct versions of Jane. Maybe I should ask if you think of them as being two separate people or do you consider the dichotomy between the versions to be more nuanced than that?
When I got to be the ugly alcoholic, I was actually being visited by my niece and cousin who are the same age as Keely/Sara. It was very hard for me to be mean to a little girl. I cried in between takes and constantly apologized to Keely. It was oddly liberating to be made up to be so ugly. I think that helped me be as ugly inside as outside. I just had to go to a very frustrated place and do the meanest thing I could think of…it was terrible. But it was also so removed from anything else I have gotten to do it was kind of liberating to be so unapologetic because I had to be that horrible.
Q: My favorite moment of the entire film (in terms of performance) is the scene where you discover your daughter in the basement and realize she’s trying to run away. Let’s just say with that lecture you give her you’d make for an especially wicked stepmother. Why do you think Jane says what she does to Sara? Do you think she means it or is there a deeper more underlying motive that she’s simply expressing in harsher dialog?
I think Jane has had a bad run of luck and she needs Sara to toughen up. I don’t think Jane thinks there is anything good in life to begin with…there wasn’t anything good in her life so it will be the same for Sara. Jane sees Sara’s innocence as a waste of time. Does that make sense?
Q: I can see that. That scene also brings up another tidbit that I’d like clarification on. I assumed that Sara was her daughter until that basement scene. Now I’m of the impression that Sara might be adopted and merely a way for Jane to get welfare services to fund her drug habit. Reading too much into it or am I on the right track? It would explain later revelations about the little girl.
I think Sara is the moral compass. And I think once Jane sees any good in life she changes. She gets sober for her daughter and for her daughters future. I didn’t get that she was adopted but I can see how you might get that from the movie. But then why would Jane get sober in the end. Why wouldn’t Vine kill her and just help Sara?
Q: The humans are largely second fiddle characters to the demons in this storyline, but you managed to squeeze every ounce of performance from the scenes you got. How much of Jane’s background did you know going into it and how much did you create yourself to help inform your performance?
Wow thank you. That is such a nice compliment. I created all the background in my head about Jane so I could go to that horrible place. But it is also pretty well written in that scene between us in the basement.
Q: What was your experience like working with director Tom Woodruff Jr. He’s awesome I’m sure, but I’m interested to know more practically speaking how he worked with the actors day to day. Was there much consultation between actor and director?
Tom is very calm which is nice and I am from the school if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.We rehearsed before we did the movie. He wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. But it was great he just let me go and then told me I was really mean! So I knew I did my job. LOL. I would work with him anytime!!!
Q: In closing I’m interested to know your personal theory about who/what Sara actually was.
I think Sara is a child. Innocent and open to possibility!
That’s an interesting take to be sure. Thanks for the taking the time to do the interview Kristin.
Keep a look out for more Fire City interviews from us and for goodness sake go check out the movie.