Slasher sequel Pretty Boy screened as part of Arrow Video Frightfest, following the hit debut of Blind, unleashing brand new villain Pretty Boy upon audiences.
Bloody Flicks got the chance to talk to the man behind the mask, Jed Rowen, to spill the secrets of Pretty Boy and potential future films in the series created by Marcel Walz.
Tell us how you got involved in Blind/Pretty Boy?
A bunch of us friends, including director Marcel Walz, writer Joe Knetter, actress Sarah French and many others, would all hang out for Taco Tuesdays. After seemingly endless margaritas, we all decided to make a movie together and Joe and Marcel offered me the part. So I guess you could say Pretty Boy was spawned from cheap happy hour well drinks.
As a killer who wears a mask, how difficult is it for you to emote during scenes?
Well, it was pretty easy to emote. I just did it all behind that mask. What was surprising was how all that emotion seemed to emanate from that piece of plastic. I don’t know what Ken Hall was doing when he was making that mask. Maybe some weird voodoo magic ritual? I don’t know, but that mask seemed to take on a life of its own.
Are you a method, as in, when you put the mask on you are Pretty Boy?
I’ve never been method. I didn’t demand that the crew call me Pretty Boy on set, nor did I drive Marcel crazy with ultimatums that Pretty Boy needed to start shrieking like a hyena.
Were there any actors/stuntmen that you studied before taking on the role?
I definitely did not want to take the typical stuntman’s approach to a masked killer character. I knew as soon as I read the script, that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to play it emotionally. So the stuntmen were out. And because the character had no lines, studying dramatic actors playing psychos was kind of out, too. The way I wanted to do it, I was kind of all alone on this one.
As I was trying to figure out the right way to pull off Pretty Boy, the character oddly took me back to my old theatre days. All those goofy acting and movement exercises, weird experimental plays, avant-garde theatre where you had to react or communicate solely with emotion…that’s really what I drew from as the character took shape.
So it ultimately became something where I had to look inward and trust the actors around me as the creative process evolved on set, as opposed to studying another actor or mimicking a stunt guy. Thankfully, I had a great director who let this all happen organically.
Did you think that the character would become so popular following the release of Blind?
No. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that this character I played would get its own merchandise in places like the Trick or Treat catalogue and in retail stores around the country. You can buy the mask, the whole outfit even. I hear there might be an action figure on the way. I didn’t see any of this happening. And with the sequel coming out, the Pretty Boy character will hopefully gain even more traction.
When did discussions start about you returning for the sequel?
No discussions were necessary.
How do you think the character has changed, if at all, between the films?
The character is more subdued in the first film. In the sequel, Pretty Boy is like a wrecking machine. But, not to give anything away, the ingenious third act kind of pivots back I think to what he was like in Blind. The sequel is a more ambitious film in a lot of ways than the original, most noticeably with budget and production value, but the intricate storyline takes bold risks, too. And the character of Pretty Boy is a beneficiary of all of this, as the role develops tremendous complexities throughout the film.
Without spoiling too much, you get scenes with Robert Rusler, during Pretty Boy, how was he to work with?
It was a terrific experience working with Robert. From the beginning, he was deeply committed to the role, and his overall approach to the work was profound and intense. I bumped into him at the Pretty Boy premiere, and he immediately started talking about doing a sequel. His enthusiasm is infectious and refreshing. Great guy and an extraordinary actor.
Sarah French is phenomenal across the two films, how did you get along between takes?
There was a lot of laughter if you can believe that. Sarah and I are great friends and we added to all the fun on that set. Just because you’re making a movie with violence, insanity, death and gore doesn’t mean you can’t also have a blast. That’s one of the benefits of not being a method actor….you can turn all that mayhem off and go have a good time!
What are your thoughts on a potential third film?
A potential third film? How bout an eighth film? Or a twelfth film? Let’s franchise this thing! No way I want to stop at three.
Look out for a Digital and DVD release of Pretty Boy in 2022.