A Slice of CUT!: David Rountree and Dahlia Salem Discuss Unique Horror Film

CUTNothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film by scaring real people. However, when things go too far and someone actually dies, the pair decide that killing for real on film is the way to make a truly terrifying movie.

The premise for CUT! is a unique approach to the genre of horror film making. Director David Rountree (along with actor and writing partner David Banks) bring forth a one of a kind “suspense thriller within a horror film” and along the way, manage to pay homage to one of the classic horror films of a generation.

With an amazing storyline, an ensemble that includes Dahlia Salem, Sam Scarber, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Gabrielle Stone and Academy Award winner Victoria Sampson at the helm for sound editing, CUT! is sure to be one of the most anticipated horror films of 2013.

I had the opportunity to speak with both director David Rountree and Dahlia Salem, the beautiful actress who plays Chloe Jo in CUT!.

Director David Rountree

What’s the current status of CUT!?

DR: We were originally planning for a Halloween release, but then we had Victoria Sampson come on board to do post audio. She’s an Academy Award winner who’s work includes films going back to ‘Return of The Jedi’, ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’, ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Bad Boys’. She has about 200 films to her credit and won the Academy Award for ‘Speed’. When she signed on we pushed our release date back a bit.

How did you and David come up with the idea for CUT!?

DR: David and I had written a comedy script a few years ago and were looking to start filming it during the summer of 2012. I wasn’t a fan of just sitting around so while we were waiting we came up with the idea of making something while we were in pre-production. We started talking about movies like ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ and came up with the concept of two guys that live together and want to make a cheap movie just to have fun. The goal was they would be very professional but then as it unfolds, things go wrong.

RountreeWe figured we’d have a quick turnaround time and could get it out there and have fun doing it. So we started planning it and really spent a lot of time working on the opening scene. Once we shot it, our distributor looked at it and was very excited. He told us that if we can do this, we’d have a real shot at knocking it out of the park.

Our production immediately turned upside down and we really set this project into motion. What began as a straight forward horror movie became more intelligent during the process and is now a film that makes you think a little along the way.

It’s become a solid suspense thriller inside of a horror movie.

What’s the story of CUT!?

DR: The original idea of the movie is for the characters Lane and Travis to make a horror film. But when things go bad and someone actually dies, they have to make a decision. The footage they have is so amazing that either they turn themselves into the police for murder or run with this plan.

Tell me about the connection of the film to “The Hills Have Eyes”.

We created the role for Suze Lanier-Bramlett where she plays herself as a former actor turned director. Originally, the plan to have both she and Dee Wallace Stone. Both of them were in the original ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. Dee was involved in another film at the time but we were lucky and her daughter, Gabrielle Stone came on board.

What’s your next project?

DR: I’m working on a baseball story with the Orem Owlz, a minor league team in Utah. I’ve been collaborating with the owner there about doing a story similar to Bull Durham, about a real life of a baseball player in the minor leagues.

Dahlia Salem as Chloe Jo

dahliaHow did you find out about this role?

DS: I was introduced to David Rountree by a mutual friend, Mike Simon (who also plays Adam in the film). David told me about the film and I thought it was interesting and very creative. It was also a labor of love for both he and David Banks and I wanted to be a part of that kind of collaboration.

What did you like most about the script?

DS:  What I liked most about the script was the concept of it being a horror film within a horror film, and it was unlike anything I ever worked on. My character (Chloe Joe) is an accessory to the vision and deception of Travis (David Rountree) and Lane’s (David Banks) plan.

These guys take things to the extreme for the risk and excitement, as well as the potential success they can receive for what they’re creating and getting away with! Chloe Joe I imagine, was attracted to their drive and  goes along for the ride!

What was it like working with David Rountree?

David Rountree is a consummate professional, as well as fun and easy to work with! David is such a good director in that he allows each actor the freedom to create what they want in the moment. It was very raw, and each character in CUT! fits in like a puzzle. I’m really excited to see the end product.

Are you a fan of horror movies?

DS: I certainly am! It’s a fascinating and mysterious genre. I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween, my favorite horror film of all time.

What other projects are you currently involved in?

DS: I just finished working as a guest star on the ABC drama, ‘Body of Proof’. I play an assistant district attorney and there’s a chance that she can return which is pretty exciting. The episode will most likely air sometime in March.

I also do a lot of voice over work. I do narration for a show called ‘Big Rich Texas’ on the Style Network. It’s a different animal all together not being on the camera side. You can be very creative with your voice. I love that kind of work as well.

What do you like to do when you’re not acting?

I love yoga, tennis and teaching acting to children. A friend opened a children’s weekend acting program in Orange County, and I was a guest teacher. To watch kids come out of their shell to create and learn, was such a great experience for me.

I’m also doing a bit of writing, collaborating on a script I wrote loosely based on true events in my life. It’s a “dramedy” and I hope to create it into a TV or Web series. We’ll see, it’s feels pretty challenging!  I have to really commend David Rountree and David Banks in wearing so many hats for CUT! with writing, acting and directing! They truly inspire me.

Article first published as A Slice of CUT!: David Rountree and Dahlia Salem Discuss Unique Horror Film on Technorati.

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