An Inteview with Actor/Director/Writer Shane Ryan

Shane Ryan is the director, writer and star of the video “Amateur Porn Star Killer 3D: Inside the Head and appears in the film “Darling Nikki”.

Here is a link to his IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1546474/

1. What made you want to become an actor?

Jean-Claude Van Damme. I was introduced to Bloodsport when I was about 8, and instantly wanted to be an action star, so I started making my own films and doing stunts (when parents weren’t looking – like jumping off buildings and stuff) in hopes to work side by side with him. Though I had already been in love with films since I was about 5 due to my Dad being an editor, and taking me to and teaching me about films. I started learning to edit when I was 5. All of that helped as acting in my own films has been some of my own real work.

2. What makes you so attracted to the horror genre?

Nothing, actually. I was making arthouse movies, drama, noir types (actually in black and white) when I realized, that if you have no money to make a film, or are an indie/underground filmmaker, the only real place for support is the horror community. You have about 100 times as many places willing to cover your film, it’s insane. Not that I don’t like a good horror film, I like good films regardless of what category they fall under, but most good films fall under drama, for me. So, I basically tried to disguise my arthouse films as horror and erotic, to gain attention and support, while trying to tell stories about characters and events I thought were interesting. I’m very much into true crime, but for the mystery, the psychology, etc., not the blood, at all.

3. What is ” Amateur Porn Star Killer”?

Amateur Porn Star Killer was sort of a fluke. A film I shot in one night, which actually jump-started my career. It’s a fake snuff film, about the last hour in a 13 year old girl’s life, before she is raped and murdered. I thought it was important to portray rape in a realistic fashion, to show how vile it really is, and how rape, many times, is about manipulation and power, not by using force. While I felt the idea was important, the only reason I shot it was because I had failed multiple times at making a feature due to people not showing up, technical problems, no budgets/money, learning experiences, etc., so finally I said “Fuck it, what can I shoot in one night with no money/crew?” Therefore there’s no way I won’t finish this film. And that was Amateur Porn Star Killer. An arthouse talky drama, disguised as a rape-murder-fantasy type flick to get its foot in the door. It received so much attention, I decided to turn it into a trilogy. Now I’m trying as hard as I can to get away from it and do films I really want to, lol.

4. What do you like about Hollywood?

I liked Tower Records, the Sunset 5 Laemmle, and Virgin Records, but they all shut down. That was my only reason for really going down there. I live a couple hours north of Hollywood, most of the time. Unless we’re shooting something in Hollywood. I guess I like the parts with character. There’s this really seedy area I’m hoping to shoot at in a couple of weeks. Always has runaways, prostitute, druggies, gang bangers, cops, and that’s it. So dirty, you don’t want to touch anything, but it’s sad, with character, and that makes it very interesting. I like some of the people down there I guess, the ones who don’t act like Hollywood. I like the diversity, that’s the big thing, I suppose.

5. What don’t you like about it?

It’s like high school, yet somehow way worse. “He said, that she said, that this star said, about this extra, from her momma’s bachelor,” holy shit, it just goes on and on. I think that’s why I don’t want to move there, I can’t stand that drama shit. I’ve seen enough real drama in my life, this petty shit that never ends is ridiculously annoying. I also don’t like men telling women to get fake boobs, it’s retarded. More men like real women than you would think. We want real boobs, I don’t care if they’re small, big, whatever, let yourself be real. Women, don’t waste your money and esteem on fake shit you don’t need and probably look way better without. And I hate the smog. It’s crystal clear where I live, you can breath, see the stars (the real stars, in the sky). Hell, some actors know what I mean, I see Clint Howard up here all of the time.

6. What separates a good horror movie from a bad one?

Well, as saying, not much for horror, but it’d be character. If you care about a character, or are at least interested in the character, you will be more involved with what’s happening, therefore it’s more suspenseful. I saw that piece of shit The Cabin in the Woods (which everyone played up for some reason) and couldn’t give one damn about any of those people, most just annoyed me, so I was totally bored. Then I watched Retreat with Thandie Newton (I really wish she would get a divorce so I could marry her, wow! anyway) and it was freakin’ awesome, I was so devastated at the end, but enjoyed and was thrilled and engaged every second. There were only 3 actors in a house for most of the film, but I cared about two characters, and was totally interested in the 3rd. I think suspense and horror is in looks, moments, emotion, feeling, not in blood and guts.

7. Who are some of your influences?

On my last film, My Name is A by anonymous, I kept telling everyone (when they needed security about where we were going) to think of a David Lynch film, though I definitely wouldn’t say I ever try to copy any of these people – Gus Van Sant, Harmony Korine, Terrence Malick, David Fincher, Jim Jarmusch, John Cassavetes, Lars von Trier, Alex Payne, Sofia Coppola, Edward Burns – I do love that they all have their own style, and do their own thing, and that’s what influences me. Sometimes I love their work, sometimes hate it, always admire it. Otherwise, as far as filmmaking, there’s plenty of things in life that gives me ideas and motivation.

As far as acting, I’ve been so sidetracked filmmaking, I’ve been trying to find myself, where and if I belong acting. Recently, since I found myself to be method, I’ve been going back and really studying Dustin Hoffman in the 70’s when he was closer to my age, especially since I’m also his height, similar look, it’s been helping mold ideas of how to do things. And looking at the recent work of older actors, like Michael Caine, who never turned down a role really (or took every job he could get) and just kept learning. So, I really studied him in Harry Browne a few times. Subtle genius.

8. What is your wildest Hollywood story?

Hmm, I’m actually not that wild in real life, though when I have been don’t believe it was in Hollywood. Only thing I can think of, can’t name names, I met up with some friends (well, people I didn’t really know at the time) and there was a famous former child star with us (whom I didn’t recognize since I never watched the insanely famous show she was on forever). She’d been drinking all day, and as it lead into the night, she started getting very feisty, and was not getting along at all with this guy who was there. They started fighting all night long, everywhere we went, cussing up a storm, really yelling bad causing a scene, thought it would get physical. Eventually he passed out at the Roosevelt, but then got kicked out by security. It got bad when he came back in, nearly fell in the pool, then we were told to leave (I was the only sober one, unlucky me). So, everybody who’s drinking (everyone else) starts throwing a fight with security, eventually after awhile the entire staff is down there forcing us out. The girl child star, being tiny and under 5 feet tall, nearly gets us arrested, starts trying to fight security, the manager (I didn’t realize how well known she was at the time, so I was surprised later when I realized paparazzi would have been on this if they were around). She’s literally going off on these people, I have to drag her out, and try and get every one else to shut the fuck up, don’t start a fight, let’s just leave. This could go on forever, this story, so, quickly, wrapping it up, we get to the parking lot, she psychically starts beating her boyfriend up (not the guy she was arguing with all night, that was a different guy), gashes him up, verbally and psychically, in front of all these rich guests waiting for their cars. Then he tries to drive her home, he’s plastered, I have to fight for the keys, then convince the valet I’m not stealing the car, drive them home in this expensive fancy ass car I can’t figure out, while they’re all screaming nearly making me crash. We get to their place, but it doesn’t end, they keep fighting, meanwhile, I can’t get back to my car now. Now the guy she was fighting with all day, he gets out of the car and just disappears, leaving his phone behind. We look for an hour, never see him again, hope he lived (find out next day he did). Then, the girl star, hears a party across the street, feels the need to go over and crash it, so me and her boyfriend go with (as she brings more booze to drink), it’s tons of old rich folks, they’re staring at us like, what the fuck, who are you, etc. After that, didn’t get too bad, same shit, but it was fun. That’s about the peak of my excitement.

9. What separates you from other aspiring actors?

I can’t stand actors, lol. Unless I’m directing them, then I love them. But as a co-star, as a producer or anything else, they seem to really annoy me, or not get along with me, or not like me, or something. Not all of them, but many. Hopefully it changes.
That and getting my first two big jumps between being on Disney’s That’s So Raven, and raping a girl in my own fake snuff movie. My SAG work and my first starring role, pretty diverse. I also rarely get a part through auditioning, and don’t audition much, because it usually never works out. I get everything through making my own films and starring in them, and then getting recommended off of those films. And I’ve never really even liked acting until recently, when I did this film American Girls. It was only one day, but I think I finally found myself as an actor, did the method thing, loved it. So, from now on, hopefully I’ll be an actor who likes or loves, to act.

10. What would you say to someone who says Hollywood is racist, sexist and looksist?

Shut up and do something about it if that’s how you feel. When I make my films I do them the way I think I should, against whatever problems I have with Hollywood. As an actor, if I don’t like a role I’m submitting for then I don’t submit to it, or don’t take the part, or if I do take it out of desperation, then I try to learn from it. If you don’t like how things work then do it yourself, and hope others follow.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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