Film Threat was at Long Beach Comic Expo checking out the current geek film scene when opportunity struck. Sci-fi icon Dean Devlin and X-factor star Carlito Oliveros were at “media square” to meet fans, talk about their upcoming film Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and spend a few minutes with us. We spoke about Bad Samaritan and Devlin’s production company, Electric Entertainment, which earlier focused on television projects like Leverage and The Librarians and now produced its first feature film, Bad Samaritan.
What is the story behind of Bad Samaritan?
Dean Devlin: It’s a thriller that borders on horror, but it’s more kind of Hitchcockian thriller. It takes place in Portland, Oregon, and centers around two young guys who work as valet parkers at a restaurant, and they’ve got a little scam going. People don’t realize that when you valet your car, you’re really giving the keys to your house to a total stranger. These guys figured out that while they’re having dinner, they can break into your house and take some things that you might not notice are missing. You know, a watch or a credit card. It’s not a big scam, but it helps them get by. But one day, they rob the wrong house, and suddenly they have the most dangerous man on the planet after them.
Your star, besides Carlito here, is David Tennant. What kind of villain does he play?
Dean: David is one of the most remarkable actors I’ve ever seen. People who have seen the trailer are actually disturbed because he’s so likable as Doctor Who and on Broadchurch. They’ll be just as disturbed to see what a good villain he is.
I’ve been watching the trailer on loop forever here, and it’s pretty intense.
Dean: Yeah, he’s very intense. When you see him play Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, you know that the guy can be a very scary bad dude. But I think he takes us to a whole other level that was so unique. It was interesting because all the people in editorial kept using the same word to describe him. They kept saying “he looks like a shark.” He’s got those dead shark eyes. He created a character that’s truly evil.
“…just made me want to become a better actor every time.”
Carlito, tell me about your character.
Carlito Oliveros: Yes, my character is Derek Sandoval, and he’s this young Latin kid who thinks he knows it all. He tries to cover up his emotions whenever he’s scared, and he’s vulnerable. But he loves his best friend, and he’s always going to look out for his best interest of his best friend. And he gets himself into some deep shit. He’s loyal, so he’s just obligated to follow his friend and help him out no matter what.
What’s it like to audition for Dean?
Carlito: It’s always nerve-wracking going into an audition as an actor, because you have about 30 seconds to a minute to go into a room and to woo the camera in hopes that whoever’s watching it will like it, to bring you back to the second audition, and then you have to do it all over again. I had my own kind of take of who I thought Derek was. From there, we just meshed.
It was a little bit nerve-wracking sitting in front of Dean knowing all the names that were attached to the movie. There was another guy that was attached to the film before me. God worked in mysterious ways and pushed him out. I got the spot. So, it was amazing, man.
So, did you feel like you nailed the audition?
Carlito: Yeah, when I did it, I felt like I got it. There’s always that little part of like, what if, what if this isn’t the time? In all honesty, I felt like I nailed it. I felt like I left my heart in the room, and if there was any way to show that I portrayed the character of Derek, I did it there.
Acting opposite David Tennant, how did that help your performance?
Carlito: He definitely keeps you on your game. He’s not a two-take type of guy. He makes you want to get better as an actor every time, man. He’s so focused. Even when we’re not filming, he’s just in his role, depending on whatever set he’s on. Super sweetheart, perfectionist, and it just made me want to become a better actor every time. It was amazing.
“…the guy can be a very scary bad dude. But I think he takes us to a whole other level…”
Let’s talk a little bit about Electric Entertainment. You’re mostly associated with big studio sci-fi films. Where did Electric Entertainment come from?
Dean: Well, the name came about because my father had a huge passion for electric cars. In fact, he had the very first production EV1, which what inspired us to make the documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car? We’re actually called Electric Entertainment because that was my father’s passion. He passed away the year I started the company. So, it was kind of in tribute to him.
Electric was all about moving away from the studios. Most of the work we started at Electric some 22 years ago, has been independent. We made a World War I movie about fighter pilots called Flyboys. That was a hundred percent independent. Who Killed the Electric Car? was independent. Our TV series, whether it’s Librarians or Leverage, those were also a hundred percent independent. And now, Bad Samaritan being our first big wide theatrical release. When we find success in releasing films theatrically, that will mean my last ties to studios are finally severed.
Let’s talk to the indie filmmakers. What one useful piece of advice would you give to them?
Dean: It really depends on the kind of career you want, and what you want to do. My number one advice to filmmakers is simply…make films. When I was coming up, it was hard to make a film. You had to raise money, find quality cameras, and get a crew. Today, the technology is so good. Soderbergh just proved it. He made an entire feature film with his iPhone. You can make movies now whenever you’re inspired to do so. I encourage filmmakers to make as many films as you possibly can. One, you’ll get better every time you do it. Two, you may just make that one thing that takes off. And if it takes off, your career will build from that.
Bad Samaritan hits theaters April 27. Cast and crew will make a special appearance at the upcoming WonderCon in Anaheim.