‘Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls’ Cast & Director on Going From Kickstarter to Sundance


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One of the less emotionally intense movies to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – until you think about summoning historical evils emotionally intense and in that case, what are you even doing along with your Friday nights? – is writer/director Andrew Bowser’s Kickstarter success, Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls. This mouthful is a campy deal with for horror fans, and for fans of Bowser’s viral YouTube character, Onyx the Fortuitous, an newbie occultist with high nervousness. Amid the candy colors, zany creature designs, and an off-the-wall premise, Onyx has a pretty stand-out forged, including Re-Animator’s Jeffrey Combs, genre legend, Barbara Crampton, and Terrence Carson. The movie additionally stars Rivkah Reyes, Melanie Chandra, Olivia Taylor Dudley, and Arden Myrin.


In his first starring function, Marcus J. Trillbury (Onyx the Fortuitous) is a burger-flipping Satan worshipper with hopes of escaping the humdrum of his on a regular basis life at house. One day, fortune shines on Onyx when he answers an open name to satisfy his longtime hero, the occultist Bartok the Great (Combs). The name offers Marcus the opportunity to join Bartok, together with four other devotees, in his spooky mansion where they may perform a ritual to summon an historic god. Unfortunately, one thing isn’t quite because it appears, and Onyx the Fortuitous may be — Abaddon assist us — their solely hope.

Ahead of Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls’ premiere at the festival, Bowser, Reyes, Chandra, Dudley, and Myrin joined Collider’s Steve Weintraub within the Collider Studio at Park City to discuss the movie. During their interview, they talk about how Onyx went from Kickstarter to Sundance, how they pulled everything off on a good price range, and bringing Bowser’s imaginative and prescient to the display screen. They describe the movie as an “‘80s throwback” similar to Gremlins and Fright Night, discuss working with the genius behind the film’s creatures, Adam Dougherty of Kreature Kid, and what Bowser learned from modifying in his garage. He also reveals how he received Jeffrey Combs involved, the found household facet, and why the film isn’t gorier. You can watch the interview in the participant above, or learn the complete transcript under.

onyx-rivkah-reyes-melanie-chandra-olivia-taylor-dudley-arden-myrin-andrew-bowser Image by way of Photagonist

COLLIDER: I am right here with everyone behind Onyx, and I am actually happy you’re here. I want to say congratulations on pulling off this film, making it, and being part of Sundance. You are a type of Kickstarter success tales.

ANDREW BOWSER: Yeah, thanks so much. It’s a wild journey. We were just talking earlier about how it seems like yesterday we were operating that Kickstarter and now we’re sitting right here with you. It’s superb.

Almost everybody watching is not going to have seen the movie yet, so how have you been describing the movie to friends and family?

BOWSER: I’ve been saying it’s an ‘80s throwback monster comedy in the vein of Gremlins or Fright Night, however by way of a contemporary lens the place Onyx goes on a supernatural journey.

For people that don’t notice, you type of went viral on the web playing this character and doing newscasts and getting on TV. Not only did you get on TV, but you were delivering strains. You had to give enough to the television station that they’d wish to put you on television. So I’m curious, what was it like? How did you pull off getting on TV so typically as Onyx?

BOWSER: Well, that is fairly a bomb to drop, I was by no means on TV. What I would do is I would rip news movies after which film myself out in Burbank and splice them together, after which release them as such. But I was by no means actually on TV.

OLIVIA TAYLOR DUDLEY: But individuals thought he was on TV.

BOWSER: So much so… you thought I was on TV. Well, so much so, to the place a producer of one of those news segments on a radio interview stated, “I can’t consider we allow you to speak for that lengthy and I don’t bear in mind letting you on the air.” And I stated, “You didn’t, it was a joke.” But sure, they seem as if they’re actual newscasts and that is how we kind of floated on the web over the years.

Okay, to start with, that is amazing. And second of all, I completely got fooled and I say congratulations as a result of that is awesome. So this is a film I really loved, and I actually cannot consider what you have been capable of put on display screen with the price range that you had. It’s crazy as a result of I know the way motion pictures are made. So, for all of you guys, can you talk about what it was like being part of a venture like this where everyone appears to be clearly doing like double work? You’re carrying no matter you have to carry in between scenes, you realize what I mean?

DUDLEY: I mean, of all the opposite initiatives I’ve ever worked on as an actor, or a producer, this was essentially the most enjoyable anybody’s ever had on a set. And I assume the vibe, even from the moment we met everybody, everyone knew this was one thing special that they poured their hearts into. So everyone on set was willing to help each division and know that everything should go on screen. We didn’t have any divas, or something like that. Everyone had a lot enjoyable that I suppose it just actually comes via on the display.

ARDEN MYRIN: It felt like summer camp. I mean, it was a blast and I assume that every division received to really present what they could do, whether or not it was as a performer or the art department, or costumes or hair. Everybody got to strut their stuff and actually, it felt like a $30 million movie. It did not feel… the way it was run, it was handled like a big-budget movie. The first AD was unbelievable, the crew was unbelievable. There was no a half of it that felt remotely low-budget at all.

It’s, to me, a testament to Andrew. Everybody loves him. It starts on the top and he’s a star, he’s the author, he’s the editor, he’s the director, and everyone needed to do an excellent job to assist deliver his imaginative and prescient to life.

BOWSER: Well thanks. I mean I was so lucky to have division heads and producers, and this solid that supported the imaginative and prescient. I imply all people put in 120% each single day, even out in a single day in cemeteries with snow and rain. Everybody confirmed up and impressed me every single day.

MELANIE CHANDRA: This was probably the most respectful and calm working environment I’ve ever had on any manufacturing. And that tone was set by Andrew. Everything simply appeared to work, and every division had a unified vision and I suppose that’s why it also was very seamless.

MYRIN: I think to your point of even you thought he was on [TV]. I actually think he’s a genius. I did not know Andrew earlier than this and I even have been nothing but blown away, and he is a swish person, he is a kind particular person, and it’s his vision without being heavy-handed about it. I actually suppose he’s a really distinctive special expertise.

onyx-arden-myrin Image by way of Photagonist

How a lot do you pay her to say that?

BOWSER: I’m paying her in Saratoga.

MYRIN: I love waters, gotta stay tight and recent and hydrated.

RIVKAH REYES: Yeah, no, I echo what everyone stated. It was probably the most enjoyable I’ve ever had on set for positive, and I simply felt supported by way of the entire course of. This is also like my first time like as a non-binary individual playing a non-binary role in one thing, and I felt very respected on that level, too, and it was simply such an honor to observe the entire thing come together.

Again, you didn’t have Marvel cash to make this, however there are some creatures in this, and how the f did you pull this off, like no BS?

BOWSER: It actually took discovering a special artist. His name is Adam Dougherty and his shop is identified as Kreature Kid. I’ve been a fan of his for years from going to Monsterpalooza, and horror conventions everywhere, I’ve even purchased toys from him. I reached out to him to only do a personality design for one of the creatures and he read the script and he mentioned, “Well Bows, what if I did all of them?”

He was actually trying to launch his new store, main up his personal shop for the primary time, and so I lucked out that he responded to the fabric. And his abilities, I imply they’re simply infinite, and his whole group of puppeteers and fabricators, they did one thing that I don’t assume any of us thought they may do with the time and the money that we had.

Yeah, I’m positive you guys saw these things on set and were like, “Is this a much bigger budget movie than I’m pondering it is?” Because some of the creatures appeared incredible for the finances you had.

DUDLEY: Yeah, we actually lucked out. I mean Adam and his complete group poured their complete hearts into it. Through the design process when we have been trying at the completely different iterations of the puppets, they only kept getting cooler and cooler and cooler. And then when we finally received on set and noticed them, I imply our minds were blown like it just didn’t appear actual there. They’re incredible, and we’re gonna have a few of them on the premiere.

onyx-andrew-bowser Image via Photagonist

When you had been making this, did you even think about Sundance as a risk, and what is it like for all of you guys to have this here at Sundance?

REYES: I still cannot consider this is happening.

MYRIN: It’s so cool, we’re so pleased to be right here.

REYES: I thought we had been actually being punked if you advised us that we got into one thing.

BOWSER: I mean, I guess you must think it’s a chance because you submit. So someplace in there is a level of optimism that drives you through production and drives you to get the film accomplished in time to undergo an incredible pageant like this, however actually I did not count on to get the decision. No, it was mind-blowing.

CHANDRA: They revealed the news to us in a really sensible method. So one Sunday afternoon, he received all of us collectively on a Zoom and mentioned it was for press, EPK, requested us some questions concerning the movie and then he requested, “How did you guys feel when you heard that Onyx goes to Sundance?” It was amazing.

REYES: We screamed so loud.

DUDLEY: When he told me, he came to my home to me and I did not believe him and I pushed him throughout the road a quantity of times until he was right into a fence.

BOWSER: Yeah, hard.

MYRIN: I simply really feel so proud. Like again, I’ve said this earlier than, but as a artistic person, I discover it very inspiring to observe someone who’s very much stayed true to his vision, and that the most important independent movie festival on the earth responded. Like should you keep true… and his heart… it’s been nothing however good vibes on this. It just made me very proud. It’s inspiring that when you shield your vision, you shield your magic, the world will respond, and it was very fantastic. We simply had the best time making it.

onyx-cast-collider-2 Image by way of Photagonist

So you get in the modifying room, you’ve all your footage, what stunned you within the editing room? What modifications did you make that you weren’t expecting?

BOWSER: I can say that, as a end result of I’m also the editor of the movie, I get slightly fixated on continuity. I actually change into editor brain mode and I stopped excited about efficiency to a degree. I start getting a little lost within the weeds, and Olivia was with me in my storage while I minimize, and I suppose what I was surprised by was how even if I cut one thing exactly how I imagined slicing it, it was necessary to have a second set of eyes to say, “Well have you thought about…? I know you really wish to match the motion of the hand in that scene, however what a couple of totally different take because of the performance? So she helped me sort of step out of my editor mode, and rework one thing primarily based on pacing or efficiency because I can get somewhat too binary in my pondering after I’m in editor mode.

DUDLEY: I will say, concerning the script, Andrew writes the tightest scripts, like every little thing he ever writes I completely love. Everything that’s within the script is in the film, nothing got moved round, nothing obtained modified. We solely minimize two scenes out of the complete thing. He writes to the edit after which directs to the edit, and it is all there and it makes for the editing course of to just be a really enjoyable process since you’re not scrambling looking for things. It was all there to start with.

If you don’t mind sharing, how many capturing days did you really have?

BOWSER: We shot for about 20 in Massachusetts [in a] great city known as Lennox within the Berkshires, after which another 5 in Los Angeles. So about 25 days.

For people that don’t notice, that is not lots of time to make a film.

BOWSER: Especially with puppets involved.

I was going to say, as a fan of Jeffrey Combs, I was very pleased to see him on this. What was your inspiration for casting him?

BOWSER: Well, I imply, I’m an enormous Stuart Gordon fan, Re-Animator, From Beyond, and so I’ve at all times hoped to work with each Barbara [Crampton] and Jeffrey in some unspecified time within the future. But I really assume it was Barbara when I informed her about this challenge that introduced up Jeffrey. He hadn’t come to thoughts, maybe as a end result of I knew Bartok was bald with a protracted goatee, and I was type of basing them off of Hammer Horror villains. Then as soon as she suggested him, it hit me. And I was like, “He’s the guy, he’s the man.”

Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls - Still 1 Image by way of Sundance

One of the things in regards to the movie is, it is a few discovered household, you know? Can you talk about that side of the film?

BOWSER: Well, it was all about finding the ensemble. I’ve told the story that I began writing the script and I thought perhaps it would be a pretty gory horror comedy the place Onyx and a bunch of different occultists had been killed off one by one, and he was splattered in blood like Bruce Campbell.

But I just… I did not have the center to attempt this once I started writing these characters. I realized it was more necessary, and it was more centered with the guts of the movie to provide Onyx some pals and some companions. Then once, you know, I met these folks and we obtained on set, one of many first things we did was a dinner dialog between all of us and I knew that it was the right alchemy. It was the best move to have it’s a gaggle effort occurring this journey.

REYES: And I actually liked taking pictures that day, too, as a outcome of it was all of our first days on set. So we were actively attending to know each other whereas the characters have been getting to know each other in the scene as well.

MYRIN: We shot at this haunted mansion. It had extra juice, you know? It was, for positive, haunted. We stayed at what felt like a haunted inn. My room, for positive, was haunted, but that made it fun. I imply, that added to the component of like, “Here we’re out within the mountains, like in these very lovely, stunning, fascinating historic buildings which are so haunted, making a horror movie.” You couldn’t believe [it], you could not have picked a better set.

Special because of our 2023 companions at Sundance together with presenting companion Saratoga Spring Water and supporting companions Marbl Toronto, EMFACE, Sommsation, Hendrick’s Gin, Stella Artois, mou, and the all-electric automobile, Fisker Ocean.


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