1. Could you tell a bit about yourself?
I’m just a normal dude born and raised in Minnesota who loves movies and wanted to make them. Aside from that I love drinking rye whiskey, I’m obsessed with monsters, listen to a lot of 50s and 60s rock and roll and my favorite movie is American Graffiti.
2. List three adjectives to describe The Domestics?
Violent, Irreverent, Heart.
3. What research did you do when writing The Domestics?
I mainly just dug into my own life experience. The inspiration came from the idea that relationships are challenging but in the end worth fighting for. I didn’t want to just write a drama. If I was going to tell a story about marriage it was going to be scary and brutally violent. An intimate portrait of an American apocalypse. That's it. That was the extent of my thought process in the beginning stages. Then I just dove into my personal experience and started lifting things that had happened to me and placed them in this strange post apocalyptic world. It was cathartic to write about my relationship struggles but it was also cool to see what those struggles looked like in this violent scary world.
4. Could you explain the development process of The Domestics?
In the Fall of 2013 had shot an episode of the web series and had 20 page document plotting the rest of the 100 minutes long series. I had made posters, mood boards, bought domain names. I was going to do this thing! I pitched the idea to a producer who told me it sounded more like a movie to him so I embarked on the feature script. After it was written, it sat on my computer for a few months. The producer who had told me turn it into a feature had gone AWOL and I was like OK, whatever. I’ll just keep moving forward. Unfortunately I was out of money and knew I wasn't going to be able to make another episode for a while. I started writing another spec script for a friend of mine out in LA, Kamron Saraye, who is Co-Producer on the film, and I asked him if he knew anyone who would want to read this little post apocalyptic thing I wrote. Sure enough, he put it in the hands of writer Kurt Johnstad who put it in the hands of Shannon Gaulding over at Hollywood Gang. They loved it. We worked on the script for a few months, tightened up all my materials I had made and I pitched to the owner Gianni Nunnari. It was a whirlwind. I couldn't believe I was sitting in a pitch room in front of the guy who did Seven and From Dusk till Dawn. He liked the pitch, him and Shannon took me under their wing got me prepped and ready for studio pitching. It all happened very fast. We had 6 pitches lined up. Our second pitch we were at MGM. An hour after we pitched, they called us. “We want it.” I had come up with the idea for the web series in January 2013 and sold it to MGM 3 years later.
5. How was your overall experience working with Tyler Hoechlin and Kate Bosworth?
Kate and Tyler were great. Kate brought a really unique perspective to her character especially for the genre. She was able to create this damaged and scared woman, Nina, who eventually realizes that she is still in love with her husband and will do anything to protect him. Watching her kick into gear and start mowing guys down was a treat to watch. Tyler brought a masculinity with to Mark but also this quiet baggage that something just wasn’t quite right in his past relationship. He can be so quiet and gentle and then he goes and stabs a guy in the face.
6. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Lance Reddick, Sonoya Mizuno, and David Dastmalchian.
I’ll always remember Lance telling me that as soon as he read the line “A little gamey but tender.” he wanted to do the movie. I think the first time I saw Sonoya dressed as Betsy was pretty great. There was also this time when she shoots this guy in a trunk and then asked me in this sweet english accent, “was that ok? Would you like another?” Made me smile. And David. Oh David. I only had one day to work with David. He came to set AS Willy. His presence was just insane and I remember he knew the character so well, we did takes at different levels; Level 1 was calm and creepy, and level 3 was absolutely bat shit crazy. I then cut all the takes together to create this super weird bi polar psychopath. A post apocalyptic Pee Wee Herman.
7. What do you want viewers to remember about The Domestics?
Love prevails in the worst of times. And maybe that Russian roulette scene.
8. What book (or movie) had the most influence in your life?
There are a few; American Graffiti, Death Wish, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Mad Max (1979), The Thing, Monster Squad, Race with the Devil, High Tension, Drive, Inglorious Basterds, Kramer vs. Kramer, Dick Tracy, Duel.
9. What is your writing habit in general?
Try to write a little bit everyday. Some days are good. I really crank out a ton. Some days suck. Been really trying to work on that and just get stuff out on paper whether its good or bad. A lot of writing for me is happening before it hits the page. Things percolate in the brain and then one day after it simmers it just vomits out on the page.
10. Could you explain the genesis of your short film The Retirement of Joe Corduroy?
It’s my love song to Death Wish (1974). I wanted to make my version of the classic story. Something about an old man with a gun taking out the trash that I just love. It was cathartic.
11. What advice do you wish someone had given to you when you were younger?
I think I care too much what other people think. I wish someone kicked my ass and told me not to care because its not worth it.
12. If you could have been the screenwriter of any movie you saw, which movie would that be?
The ‘Burbs or maybe E.T. one of those would have been awesome.
13. Where is your favorite place to write?
Alone with no distractions with a bottle of sake.
14. What is your favorite line from any movie?
There are a few, but this one jumped to mind today.
I don’t give a shit about your friend he took out my eye! And if I ever see him again I’m gonna cut open his head and I’m gonna eat his brains! You think he’d like that?” Dennis Hopper WATER WORLD.
15. Between Bullying Sucks, Kill The Habit, Computers, Computers! Sleep Thieves, I want…, The Haze, and Hunger, which one did you find most challenging to direct and how did you overcome that difficulty?
The Haze. I knew nothing about ballet other than it looks fucking awesome! I literally would have to dance terribly on set and then the ballerina would translate my crazy into these beautiful breathtaking moves. I’m serious when you are that close to a ballerina, when they move it takes your breath away.
16. What’s your motto in life?
Own it. Find what you love in life and just fucking own it. None of this wishy washy stuff.
17. If you have your own talk show, who would your first three guests be (besides me, of course)?
I’d use it as an opportunity to meet the three directors I've always wanted to meet: Spielberg, Tarantino, and Eastwood. (Charles Bronson gets mention here too, RIP)
18. What is your favorite horror movie as a teenager and now?
Wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of horror growing up. Always loved Creature From the Black Lagoon though. We could watch all the old stuff. Still like that movie a lot.
19. Last question: what item, that you don’t have already, would you most like to own?
1974 Winnebago Brave motor home, all original with orange stripe and faux wood paneling inside.
Best wishing to Mr. Mike P. Nelson and thanks once again for agreeing to be interviewed by me. This movie should definitely be on your to-watch list for October. If you want to know more about him and his future movie project just visit his website: www.mikepnelson.com/ All in all, thanks for stopping by and I hope your day just got better.