The following is an interview with Lee Lanier, the director and visual effects supervisor of BedBugs, a comedy horror feature film. In this interview, Fanboy Comics’ Bryant Dillon talks with Lanier about his directorial debut, how Gremlins inspired the film, and why you should join the BedBugs indiegogo campaign.
This interview was conducted on September 3, 2012.
Bryant Dillon, Fanboy Comics President: Can you give us a short synopsis of BedBugs and how the project got started?
Lee Lanier: Kelly Kellogg struggles to save her ad agency, her love life, and her home from a fickle band of carnivorous mutant insects.
I’ve been working as a professional computer animator, both in feature film and visual effects, for many years. Although, I’ve directed a number of animated short films, I’ve wanted to transition to live-action features for some time. BedBugs will serve as my feature film directorial debut.
BD: Were there any specific inspirations for the film? Is there a real-life story of infestation that gave birth to the idea?
LL: BedBugs arose from a desire to direct a comedy horror film in the vein of Gremlins and other fun ’80s films that featured puppets. I spent several months in L.A. searching for a script that fit the bill and finally came across Dave Eisenstark’s BedBugs. Dave has been writing horror films since the ’80s and has a sense of humor that I appreciate. Thankfully, I’ve personally never dealt with a bed bug infestation, although, I’ve heard the real-life horror stories!
BD: What can you tell us about the main characters of BedBugs?
LL: Kelly: Workaholic ad agency owner with a questionable taste in men and a house full of capricious mutant bed bugs.
Monica: Kelly’s employee and supposed “friend” who has a very dark and very kinky side.
Peter: A geeky ad artist who’s secretly in love with Kelly and who ultimately helps her fight the bugs.
BD: How would you describe the production process behind the film, and what can you tell us about the cast and crew?
LL: At the moment, we’re crowdfunding to raise money to cover preproduction expenses. That money will allow us to hire a producer, finish casting, prepare the physical special effects (like bed bugs puppets), lock down the locations, and plan the shoot (which will occur in 2013). Morgan Mead is cast as Kelly, and Shannon Lark is cast as Monica. Shannon was Fangoria‘s spokesmodel in 2009 and runs the Viscera Film Festival. Morgan has acted in commercials and independent features for a number of years.
BD: You are currently running an indiegogo campaign to help fund the film. Are there any cool incentives offered to backers and how can our readers help the campaign?
LL: Oh, yes. We’re using our computer skills to 3D-print bedbug metal keychains, color minifigs, and color desktop figurines. They’ll looks shockingly similar to the actual puppets used in the film. Plus, we offer ways to buy the rights to horror scripts written by Dave Eisenstark and get 1-on-1 VFX training from me. And then, there are all of the standards: posters, DVDs, etc.
Money is great, but we also appreciate those who spread the word. Facebook posts, tweets, and social networking in general are very important for crowdfunding.
BD: Which type of audience do you think BedBugs will appeal to most?
LL: Anyone who appreciates fun horror. Yes, there are horrific bed bug-related events, but there will be plenty of laughs. And, the bugs know how to be cute and endearing as well as terrifyingly psychotic.
BD: Great creators usually have great taste! Once our readers finish checking out your film, which other films would you recommend?
LL: If they haven’t seen Gremlins, they should definitely check it out. The mom-versus-gremlins in the kitchen is an absolute classic. Otherwise, I’m a sucker for surrealism and related strangeness. Mulholland Drive (Lynch), Santa Sangre (Jodorowsky), and The Shining (Kubrik) come to mind.
BD: Where can our readers learn more about BedBugs?