Many stuntmen have crossed over into filmmaking but so many of them don’t succeed on their first outing. Mike Mayhall is the exception, and his Jake’s Road is a near perfect road thriller that could ostensibly believe was made by a filmmaking veteran.
In a nutshell, can you sum up Jake’s Road?
Ok … in like one long sentence … Jake’s Road is a psychological thriller/Action/Horror that tells the tale of a man suffering from amnesia who is unable to recall the person responsible for murders that happened while he was on a vacation with friends. He can recall fleeting images from the trip, and tries to piece together the truth.
How was that? Honestly, I am really not good at describing movies. I want to tell everyone the whole story. I get to excited to sum things up. I say watch it. Let yourself get wrapped up in the characters and follow their journey.
It seems to be an effective mix of genres, is that fair to say?
It’s a total mix. Thriller/Action/Horror … if I had to put them in order. Those are my favorite genres.
What was it about Eric Roberts that made him perfect the role of Keith?
Mainly because when I was writing the role he was the only actor who came to mind. And once my mind is made up … I can be really stubborn.
And you play George. Was the plan to always act in the movie, too?
Yes, I love performing. George was a fun character, but small enough that didn’t take away from me being behind the camera.
Can you give us a hint as to some of the scares in the flick?
Oh … if I do that I’ll ruin the end. Let me say this. I like to create a story where you can let go and feel for the characters. I want you to like them. To feel for them. So when they bleed or die or have their world rocked you feel it in the pit of you stomach. So, sit back and watch and let yourself get to know everyone thats on your TV screen. That being said … each death is a bit of a tribute to the different film genres that make up Jake’s Road.
How much did you let the cast and crew have input? Did you encourage improv?
I love the creative process. If you hire good creative people, you should listen to them. If someone had a great idea that helped the film then I would use it and craft it to fit the moment. I love improv, but I am very particular about my writing. Improv was encouraged, but for the most part we stuck to the script. The actors really took to the characters and their dialogue. I did use improv at times before the scene to help the actors get into a particular moment. And some of those improv moments made it into the film.
You have been doing stunt work on Geostorm – how colossal a project is this? Can you tell us what you’ve been doing for it?
Geostorm is colossal … but, honestly I only worked on it for one day. However, I just wrap on a film called Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlburg and directed by Peter Burg. This film is huge. I spent close to 6 weeks doing stunts. Learning and watch Peter direct and craft a scene. And, trust me, everything I learn from watching and talking with these great directors from the films I do stunts on I put towards my projects. Its like a master class on film. I brought that to my set when I did Jake’s Road.
Do you think the state of the horror movie industry is healthy at the moment? Anything you’d like to see less or more of?
I like the state of horror. I like that we are seeing real horror come back and not just shock for shock value. To me, a horror film builds and builds until you can’t take it anymore and then you get the pay off you were wanting. There are different type of horror. In Jake’s Road we explore those and still give a nod to the 80’s and 90’s horror film I grew up with.
Jake's Road is available to purchase on iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/jakes-road/id975769939