To coincide with the release of the film on DVD, I had the chance to pick the brain of the star of the film, Scott Elrod.
It’s quite apparent that Scott is right at home here on GKS; he’s a big fan of the genre films that no doubt inspired Hellhounds. Here’s what Scott had to say..
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Scott! So let’s get right into Hellhounds… what was it about Hellhounds that sold you on the project?
I have always been a fan of SC-FI! So the chance to be a part of that was appealing. Toss in the gladiator side of it and I was sold. Not to mention that Rick Schroder was directing. Grew up watching him as I’m sure so many of us did so that in itself was an honor.
This type of sub-genre, the period-piece epic, is relatively unsaturated save for the classics (Spartacus, Ben-Hur, etc.) though we’re beginning to see a new wave of more fantasy-based films like 300 and the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake. Did you approach the film from the vantage point of the period-piece, or were you more conscious of the fantasy/horror element?
I would say neither, as these where taken care of via the special effects, costumes, and locations. I mean sure I was influenced by the classics like Spartacus, Gladiator, Ben-Hur, etc… but all in all I just tried to be as true to the script as possible. I approached it as someone who lost his wife, found out my best friend was responsible, and all I could think about was how to save her and have revenge on him.
Are you a fan of the classic mythological movies, like the aforementioned Spartacus and Jason and the Argonauts? If so, was their any influence on this film, or the approach from the cast and crew?
Yes a big fan, But my greatest influence was the film Gladiator. It being a great piece, you just want to be that guy!
Greek mythology isn’t something easily replicated, especially on an inter-personal level – Did you do anything unusual to prepare for the role of Kleitos?
As mentioned above, for me it was more about understanding the circumstances of the role I was portraying and try to be as true to that as possible.
How was the physical shoot for Hellhounds, in terms of being on location in Romania, and the action scenes? Any unintentional decapitations?
This was for sure the most physical demanding project I have ever done. From a location standpoint (spending a week filming in a cave to a couple of days in a bunker/torture facility used by Ceausescu) to the limited amount of time we had to shoot the film (18 days). This included a day and a half of travel time so really 16.5 days. Translation… We busted our ass! 16 plus hour days in a 3rd world country (just getting there was a treat) it made for the couple of hours sleep you got at night AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong by no means am I complaining as looking back on it, it was a great learning experience, I met some great people and would do it all over again given the chance. Bottom line the cast bonded day one, we had a great crew and that got us threw this project.
The genre is most famous for it’s early stop-motion-animation work from the legendary Ray Harryhausen; in the digital age of today it’s become impractical to be so practical, and CG is the standard for digital effects, as is the case with the Hellhounds; as an actor was that an easy thing to work around? Did you have to fend off the obligatory pretend character?
Imagination and direction I feel is the only way to deal with CG. In this case I was very fortunate to have a Director who had a great understanding and vision of the BIG picture. Which brought the two together (fantasy and real life) in what I hope portrayed as seamless and real as possible.
Interview used with permission, do not reproduce.