Filmmaker Warren Badenski took some time out from preparing his next film ‘ Dead Name’ to take part in the Spending Time With… series (thanks Warren)
Dead Name is a psychological thriller/horror that follows Nia, a retired hitwoman who’s brought back into the game by her criminal family for one last job. That job is to take out her brother Ian to stop a war breaking out. Sounds great to me (the film I mean not the crime war breaking out! Dead Name is now on my radar and I look forward to learning more about it as the film heads through its production stages. So, back to Warren.
What is one of your most favourite locations you have filmed or performed in?
Hmm…Tough one. I’ve enjoyed most locations to be honest. A football stadium was pretty interesting, but full of rules. I find I always enjoy filming in places of business that have shut for us, like bars, shops, and offices. I don’t know why but I love looking around these places when they’re closed and empty.
Do you have any ‘props or keepsakes from any of your films or shows?
Yeah. From my first film SIMON I have the jacket that our main character (played by Katie Alexander-Thom) wore. Though usually I end up with stuff the actors have left behind. I’ve gotten several t-shirts, watches, and a snuggie because they just leave stuff after we’ve wrapped. I think I’ve started casting them in future projects just so I can give their stuff back, haha.
Do you remember who got your first autograph?
Yeah, I think. A lady named Hetty, who loved my short film Simon, and when it came time for the feature we cast her as the news caster. She’s a wonderful person.
Have you ever gotten someone’s autograph? Which is the most memorable for you?
I worked in an autograph shop when I was finishing school. So I used to collect quite a bit. We also had instore signings so I got to meet a lot of actors back then. The most memorable was probably getting to meet David Carradine. He signed a Kill Bill poster for me and drew a silver bullet on there coming out of his gun in case of werewolves. I was in college at the time, making short films, and I got to film an introduction with him, which was awesome!
What is the ONE single coolest movie geek thing you own?
Tricky one. I have a signed Grindhouse calendar from Quentin Tarantino, where he played a character called Warren, so it’s my name next to his, which is cool for me not sure for anyone else.
What is one film that gives you the ‘creeps’? Or scares you
The Grudge, the American remake. Watching that for the first time freaked me out in a way I’ve never felt before or since. Funny story, after watching it I felt like a dark patch had attached to my soul. It’s hard to describe, but it kind of flared up anytime I watched those films until I happened to meet Aiko Horiuchi, who played Kayako in The Grudge 3. Then it went away like my soul realized it’s all just fiction. It was weird never had anything like that since.
Do you have an ‘off switch’ when not working, and how does it work?
Yeah I sort of switch off when watching a film or show. I usually pick a director’s filmography or a franchise to go through. Watch one a night until I’ve watched them all. I tend to do Resident Evil and the X-Men movies at least once a year. I just finished a Park Chan-Wook marathon, which was great would recommend everyone watch those.
What’s the first thing you do when you get on ‘set’
I’m usually first there, so I’ll start blocking the scene in my mind, walking about with a script in my hand, or holding my laptop trying to picture it all. When people arrive I start saying hi to everyone.
Do you prefer day shoots or night shoots?
Day shoots. It’s easier to light everything when you have daylight. I also find if we wrap early I get to hang out with the cast and crew a bit and share stories, which I love doing. At night everyone wants to go to bed. If you had to make a ‘bucket list’ of people you’d love to work with, tell me one name who would be on it? Oh so many names, but an actor I’d love to work with is Jason Isaacs. Have been wanting to work with him since I saw Event Horizon.
Do you read reviews of shows or films that you are in?
Yeah I have. Mostly for my first film SIMON. It’s great when people say nice things, and sucks when they’re negative. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt when someone hates what you’ve produced, but you can’t please everyone. I’m very intrigued to see what people say about the new film Dead Name when we get it released.
Let’s shine a light on some of your past work. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
Well both my features really. Proud of SIMON, that we managed to make it for absolutely no money and that it’s made it’s way onto Netflix back in April last year. A feat I was told wouldn’t happen. I’m also proud of my latest film that I’m in the process of releasing to the world now, Dead Name, it’s a whole new ball game. I stretched and challenged myself as a story teller way more than I ever thought I would with this one, can’t wait for you all to see it.
Out of all the projects you’ve done, which one do people seem to ask you the most about?
SIMON for sure. Since it’s gone up on Netflix in Europe people have been asking about it a fair bit.
What’s the most difficult thing about your creative journey?
Raising money, which I guess everyone says. Though as hard as that it is, I find turning down actors for roles to be harder for me. Most times people are amazing, but you can only cast one actor per role and there could be 4 or 5 people that seem perfect and you have to let them down. I try to message everyone who didn’t get a role, even if its a quick email. A lot of times actors just kind of get ghosted with this and get stuck in a sort of limbo where they don’t know if they’ve got it or not, so any film maker I’d ask you to let you applicants know they didn’t get a role so they can move on.
And, the flipside. What’s the most enjoyable for you?
Filming on set and getting to collaborate with the actors and crew, and really bring the film to life. Then the edit and piecing it all together.
I was tweet chatting with Mick Garris (The Stand, Hocus Pocus) recently and asked him which name spring to mind when he thought ‘Oh MY God i’ve met them’ My reply was George A Romero (Night Of The Living Dead), Mick’s was Steven Speilberg. Who would yours be?
I got to tweet chat with Mick Garris too. He seems so nice. There’s been a few people over the years, a few thanks to my autograph shop job which included Alice Kreige, the cast of Red Dwarf, Masie Williams, Doug Bradley, Gunner Hansen. But the ones that get me these days are the people I’ve worked with when they show up in stuff. Had moments with both my leads. Katie Alexander-Thom (SIMON) when she showed up in Game of Thrones and Caspian Faye (Dead Name) was the double for Scarlet Witch in Avengers Age of Ultron, but also showed up in a scene as a Scientist and I spotted them. I love seeing people in things, though maybe its slightly different as it’s not a ‘I’ve met them” its more “Oh my god I know them”