AR: Thank you for coming over and chatting with me. To start off, could you tell me how you started out in the movie business?
CL: Thank you, man. Yeah, you know, it’s just always something I wanted to do and be involved in, in some capacity, having been practically raised on movies and being a lifelong fan. At first I thought I wanted to be an actor, but that’s natural, I think, because that’s what you see and, as a kid, that’s just what makes sense. But I’d always been good at writing, or at least so I was told, and, once I realized there were people actually writing movies, behind the scenes, telling stories, I knew that was it for me, the other side of the camera, and I sort of grew right past the whole acting thing. I wanted to become Quentin Tarantino instead of Christian Slater. And eventually I just decided to try to give it a go after college. I realized nothing else I went to school for would satisfy me the way I wanted it to or make me happy and I knew I’d always be unhappy with myself if I didn’t at least try to pull it off. But I didn’t know anyone in the business, I wasn’t wealthy, had no rich uncle’s. I’m from Indiana and had never even even been on a plane before until I was in my 20’s, let alone ever been to LA. That was an imaginary place to me at the time. I’d only ever seen it in movies. It was the other side of the world as far as I was concerned. Eventually I met an actor though, Gary Cairns, who’s been in three of my movies now, I met him online, like in the IMDB message boards of all places, back when they had those, and Gary was doing a bunch of commercials at the time and he made it real for me. Real enough anyways, he gave me a base and let me put a face to it all and let me see someone having some sort of success at it. At the business. It became tangible to me. And then I started flying out to his house in Huntington Beach and sleeping on his couch and he’d make calls for me, playing my manager. Eventually he made the call that ultimately led to my first movie being made with Millennium Films. So it all worked out. Even if I still can’t believe it. It’s been a whirlwind really, it feels like yesterday and forever ago. It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. I mean, those were the days, man. We didn’t realize how good we had it. I don’t think we had any idea what we were doing. I know we didn’t actually. There were no rules, none we listened to anyway, that’s why it worked. But it led to where it led and here we are. I haven’t worked another job since.
AR: For me, your first 3 movies made me realise Cuba Gooding Jr is quite badass! Do you have a favourite out of your ‘Cuba Gooding Trilogy’?
CL: Well, I loved the script for HERO WANTED even if I might feel differently about how the movie turned out. But it’s such a sentimental one for me since it was also my first movie and since a few people who were involved with it have even passed away since. So I have a real soft spot for it. It was just such an eye opening experience for me too and I learned a lot from it. It was like my film school. Film School Bulgaria. And we had such a great cast all across the board. Norman Reedus, Jean Smart, Ray Liotta, Tommy Flannagan, Steven Kozlowski, my friend I was just talking about, Gary Cairns. I made a lot of friends on that movie. Christa Campbell, Paul Sampson, David Ornston. People I’m still friends with and still collaborate with to this day. I’m actually working on something right now called RING OF FIRE that Johnny Martin, the producer of the movie, is planning to direct. So yeah, I’d have to say HERO WANTED just because it was my first and such a great experience and started so many relationships I still have. Making it, it felt sort of like summer camp…in Bulgaria.
AR: One of my fave Van Damme movies was ‘Six Bullets’ I would have loved a follow up, it was like a better version of Taken with a brooding Van Damme. Was a sequel ever spoke of or written?
CL: Thanks so much, man, I’m really glad you liked it. I like it. I think Ernie Barbarash, the director, did a really good job with it. The best about anyone could’ve done given the scenario. But SEVEN BULLETS? No, a sequel was never really talked about unfortunately. I mean, we might have brought it up in passing here and there, with me making a joke about SEVEN BULLETS or something, but it never really went beyond that in any way. I think it could have and should have probably but, unfortunately, no.
AR: You have worked with Scott Adkins a couple of times, but you created a complete badass character in Colton. I remember Isaac Florentine saying about a potential TV Series. Is that still an idea?
CL: I wish. I’d love to see that and flesh out that character more. Because, yeah, Scott’s great. I love working with Scott. But I haven’t heard anymore about it honestly. Not as a series, although I think that could be great. Scott and Isaac and me were actually just talking about doing a sequel earlier this year though. As we have a couple of times over the years. But then the same producers I think decided to do a sequel to THE DEBT COLLECTOR with Scott instead. Maybe instead? I don’t know. But they own the rights now of course so it’s up to them. So I don’t know. I’m not sure really if we’ll ever see more of ole Colton MacReady or not. I’m very skeptical now to say the least. But there’s a lot that I think you could do with him. He’s a fun character to write and, I think anyways, has a lot more potential than what we’ve even seen yet. He’s a modern day outlaw who just runs around the country sort of begrudgingly ending up helping people kind of like in THE FUGITIVE series or even in THE HULK series. That could be great. I’d love that.
AR: Jarhead 3 was a cool addition to the franchise, was it inspired by Assault On Precinct 13 at all?
CL: Thanks, but it wasn’t my idea, the initial story or idea, so I cant say for sure what it was inspired by at the start. I was brought on to rewrite it after the fact. Me? I always feel like I’m inspired by John Carpenter in many ways, he’s one of the greats and one of my favorites, so yeah, I’m sure there’s propably some PRECINCT 13 in there. But we didn’t shoot a little girl eating an ice cream cone in it though. That was a hard one honestly because there were so many confines to it. An existing script too. I got involved because of the director, William Kaufman, who’s a good friend of mine and someone I just love to work with. But we weren’t just free to roam. We changed so much of it within the parameters, from top to bottom really, but there were still parameters, you know? We did the best we could with it. I think it’s pretty good. Honestly I think it’s better if it’s not looked at like a JARHEAD movie. The first JARHEAD isn’t an action movie, completely the opposite actually, and honestly never should have really had any sequels in my opinion. If the movie was just called THE SIEGE or something else though I think it would be all the better for it. It’s definitely nothing like it’s namesake.
AR: Daylights End was a fun action/horror. It reminded me very much of a Mad Max/John Carpenter type movie. Is it true we shall be revisiting the story arc of Rourke?
CL: Thanks, man. It’s propably my personal favorite of the movies I’ve done. Not script wise per se but finished movie wise. We accomplished what we set out to do and it’s hard to ever ask for more than that. It’s surprisingly rare. A lot of the right things have to really come together. And with DAYLIGHT’S we just wanted to try to spin the wheel well, not reinvent any wheel, and I think we did do that. And you’re right, it was very much Mad Max/John Carpenter, that is exactly what we were going for. To make a movie like the movies we were fans of growing up all wrapped up in sort of like a, hopefully tasty, movie burrito. I’m still a fan first and foremost. That’s why I do this. To try to hopefully make movies I can be a fan of. It doesn’t always work, but that’s always the goal. And I’m a big fan of DAYLIGHT’S END. I think it came out very, very well. As for a sequel? I think it’s still too early to say for sure. I know we’d like for there to be. I know I’d like for there to be. I know there’s a script for a part deux. We’ll see what happens. You just never know really until you know. Every movie that gets made, good or not so good, is sort of a mini miracle that it ever even happens. So we’ll see. I’m hoping now.
AR: You reunited Van Damme and Lundgren in Black Water, was the script written with the two of them in mind?
CL: It wasn’t actually, no. I was just hired to write “an action movie on a submarine” and that was it. Nobody knew at the time. In fact, at the time, I think we were talking about it being Nicolas Cage in the Van Damme role and Mickey Rourke in the Dolph role even. The script was different too then. Things got changed and now it is what it is.
AR: The next movie you penned ‘Beyond The Law’ is due out soon, can you tell us anything about it?
CL: Yeah, I had been talking to producer/director Timothy Woodward about finding something to do together for a while and then BEYOND THE LAW turned out to be the one. He produced it though, didn’t direct, and then James Cullen Bressack, who I actually met on the set of another movie I produced, called ALTITUDE, ended up directing. So it’s a small world kind of thing as always. But the movie reteams Steven Seagal and DMX in a movie for the first time since they did EXIT WOUNDS together. I love that kind of thing. But yeah, it’s dark and it’s gritty and it’s violent and there will be blood and it comes out in theatres and on VOD on December 7th. Just in time for Christmas. So…Merry Christmas!
AR: I really enjoy the movies you write. They always tend to be favourites of mine. After Beyond The Law, what is next in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
CL: Thanks so much, man, that’s always good to hear. I really appreciate it. Next up it looks like is one called SALVAGE, with Thomas Jane, Djimon Hounsou and Anne Heche, another one with Scott Adkins and director William Kaufman called VIGILANTE, hopefully one called GOLD RUSH with this director Claudio Fah, another called SHRAPNEL. There’s quite a few potential things actually that I think have real shots at becoming real really, really soon. I really want to work with Nicolas Cage. We’ll see.
AR: For any aspiring writers out there can you give them any advice?
CL: If you’re a writer, write. The only one stopping you is you.
AR: Thank you for your time Chad, I am a huge fan!! Keep up the great work.
CL: Thanks so much, Jeff. Thank you.