Actor Reece Connolly burst onto the indie horror scene last year with Dark Temple Motion Pictures’ whacky werewolf feature A Werewolf in England.
He is now back in the saddle for a second round with the upcoming Werewolf Castle. Bloody Flicks caught up with Reece to talk all things lycanthropic and more!
After Werewolf in England you are back tackling lycanthropes again, when did you first hear about Werewolf Castle?
Charlie [Steeds, writer + director] was chatting about how he was developing another werewolf movie while we were still shooting ‘A Werewolf In England’. He mentioned later that there might be a character in there for me, that he was writing a part with me in mind, so I was very excited to finally read the script.
What can you tell us about your character Wolfstan?
Wolfstan is the leader of a pack of wolfmen who live in the caves of a deep dark forest, who has totally renounced his humanity and committed to ushering in the age of the beast.
He’s a very very unsavoury character, with frankly shocking personal hygiene, and even worse ethics. He’s manipulative, greedy, sadistic, and perverted. As I said, Charlie wrote the role for me.
Did you get covered in more fake blood than Werewolf in England?
Impossible as it sounds, yes! And I spent a great deal of time on the ‘England’ shoot covered in the red stuff.
But there are some scenes in this one which trump anything I’ve done before, gore-wise. It’s a good job the blood we were using tasted pretty good; I just wish it hadn’t been quite as sticky!
Was it more relaxed with the Dark Temple team this team after Werewolf in England?
Definitely. But, saying that, the cast and crew welcomed me in with open arms from the off on my first film with them anyway. They’re a lovely lovely bunch of people, all very generous and warm and dedicated to the final product. So returning to work with many of these familiar faces second-time round was an absolute delight.
What sort of research did you do for your character?
I kinda built the character up with Charlie before getting onto set, and being there and vibing off everyone else’s performances [for me anyway] changes the character further; you settle into that world the more you inhabit it.
But a touchstone I did keep returning to as reference was The Child-Catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ – he shares a lot of qualities with Wolfstan. And that character, that performance is such a masterclass in onscreen villainy that – for all its camp and cheese and pantomime [none of which are bad things by the way] – is still utterly terrifying. I hope I channeled some of that scenery-chewing wickedness.
Tell us about filming in Wales?
Wales is gorgeous. We shot in some breathtaking locations – beautiful woody glades, dramatic waterfalls, epic ancient forests. That was amazing, and so so immersive. It really felt like we were living in the world of the movie. Thankfully, less feral beasts. Only a handful of feral welshmen.
Who did you work with most in the cast?
Luckily, I got to work with most of the cast at some stage or another. Wolfstan gets around! It was great getting to act alongside Peter, who plays the lead character Thorfinn, because I’ve admired him as an actor for a while. And lovely to reunite with Jake Watkins who I play opposite in another Dark Temple movie ‘The Haunting Of Bloody Tower’ where our two characters have a very different relationship.
Part of the joy of doing stuff like this is meeting and working with new folk as well – Gregg Draven, Jay O’Connell, and so many others too. All a delight.
How different is Werewolf Castle from Charlie Steeds’ other filmography?
I believe this is Charlie’s first foray into the realm of fantasy epic, but with the Dark Temple twist of gratutuous gore, language, nudity, and violence. Sometimes all in the same shot.
What I love about Charlie’s work is how much of a genre-nerd he is. Much like someone like Tarantino [who I know is a big influence of his] there’s so much in the way of homages and nods to other works in the canon, both popular and more deep-cut. But – on top of all that – it’s still unmistakebly a movie only he and his team could cook up.
Did you film this back-to-back with The Haunting of the Bloody Tower?
Some of it yeah! Which was a bit nuts because my character in that is worlds apart [literally] to Wolfstan, so sometimes I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. At least I had two very distinct hairstyles to keep me right.
Really amazing though, to be straddling two crazy but incredible projects at the same time. Living the dream.
What can you tell us about that project?
‘Bloody Tower’ is epic. It’s a medieval murder mystery full of blood, sex, gore, and lots and lots of ghosts and general demonic spookiness. It’s gunna rock your ye olde socks off.
Look out for Werewolf Castle directed by Charlie Steeds in early 2022.