Oh hi friends, how are you?
If you can recall as far back as a week ago, the Drunk in a Graveyard crew watched a movie called Bonejangles and talked about it on our podcast. We all legitimately really enjoyed this film and we were offered the opportunity to speak to the director of Bonejangles, Brett DeJager, and yes, we were able to confirm that he is in fact cute. He’s also a dad so that’s even better.. (HOT DADS HOT DADS HOT DADS!).
I sat down for a spell with Brett DeJager and we talked Bonejangles, the psychology of small towns, and why bourbon is best.
DIAG: So tell me who you are and what you do?
BDJ: I am Brett DeJager obviously, and I’m a licensed school psychologist, I do a lot of school psych work, I work for a public school and I do that for a career. And then on the side I direct, write, and produce movies.
DIAG: Oh it’s funny how we all have our day jobs, I work in healthcare.
BDJ: Yeah we all kinda have two worlds to us.
DIAG: Oh absolutely, we all have two levels, kinda like the Simpsons. So what led you into film making?
BDJ: It was probably, I’d say, my freshman year of college and I was just watching horror movies and I thought it would be fun to try it out. One of my best friends at the time was in film school down in Arizona so I called him up and said – ‘hey do you wanna make a horror movie?’ and he was like ‘sure!’. So uh, we wrote the script or whatever, and I flew down to Arizona and we filmed it, and that’s how it started – kind of a whirlwind.
DIAG: So how did the Bonejangles story come to be, what’s the backstory there?
BDJ: Keith Milcher wrote, and he’s now one of my best friends, but I didn’t know him beforehand, and he had brought the script to Sean O’Connell who owns Labyrinth films and they do a lot of editing for movies and they filmed all the movies and stuff, and they were gonna produce and film it and they were looking for a director. I had met Sean on the red carpet for my movie premiere for my very first movie and we hit it off, so he was like, ‘hey I know this guy, total horror guru, total horror buff, knows everything about horror movies, loves horror movies and he would probably do it justice’ and so they called me up and asked me if I wanted to direct it. And I was like, ‘uh sure, let’s do it’.
DIAG: Sounds like a match made in heaven.
BDJ: It was quite good, most of the projects I’ve worked on, I’ve come on board and the funding isn’t there and we are trying to scrounge for funding, but with Bonejangles, I came on, and all of the funding was in place, so I didn’t have to do that part of the film making process like I normally have to do.
DIAG: So what was it like working with Reggie Bannister?
BDJ: Reggie was.. well when we were trying to cast the role for Edgar Sr. we tossed around a lot of names, you know, some icons that we thought would be perfect and he was the name that kept being brought up so we through an agent, a casting agent, and he contacted Reggie. Reggie was interested, he read the script and he loved it, so we were ecstatic.. And I was like omigosh, Phantasm, you know? I was really nervous to direct him and we flew him direct into Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we directed it and he was fantastic. People say he’s a nice guy but he really true is a nice guy, genuinely down to earth, nice guy.
DIAG: Oh that’s awesome, that’s good to hear, because you know, you hear from the convention circuit that there’s some actors out there that are kinda maybe not so nice, and you hear stories about people being shitbags, so it’s good to hear stories of people who aren’t that way out there.
BDJ: No, Reggie was super chill, down to earth, I mean we hung out with him after he wrapped or whatever and we went to his hotel and a restaurant and had some drinks and hung out. We got to meet his wife and one of his daughters, it was really cool.
DIAG: Oh that’s awesome. So, any fun moments happen on set that you wanna share?
BDJ: Well a lot happened at the set, that we all lived in (for a whole month) an old elementary school in basically an abandoned town, that was turned into a hunting lodge. It was like the Real World where the whole cast was living in an old elementary school. So we would have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. So many fun moments, behind the scenes, getting to know everybody, the whole experience was awesome, just being with everyone.
DIAG: Sounds like you guys had a good team then?
BDJ: Everyone was super chill and wanted to make a good movie, and everyone came really prepared so that made it really nice.
DIAG: Well, and you guys made a fun movie, as well. It was very entertaining to watch. My staff and I, we watched it this past weekend, had some beers, had some laughs, we talked about it on our podcast, so now, we have some questions after watching the film, these questions are coming from the staff – What’s the perimeter like around the town of Argento? Because, like, are the monsters contained, or are they just yukkin’ up all around the countryside?
BDJ: Oh okay, well the lore behind it is that they’re kind of contained to this town that’s been cursed, so it’s kind of like a bubble per sey, where they only kinda wander around the perimeter of Argento. In our minds they weren’t really wandering in other towns, it was more like the city limits.
DIAG: Oh okay, okay. So they weren’t like hanging out in the suburbs or anything?
BDJ: No, no, they weren’t. Good question though.
DIAG: So why didn’t the town’s folk, just leave?
BDJ: That’s another good question.
DIAG: Cuz I mean, if I lived in a town where zombies came out once a year to fuck around, I would just move.
BDJ: So, there is a psychology behind it, have you ever grown up or lived in a really small community?
DIAG: Yep, I live in a small town right now.
BDJ: Okay, so currently I live in a town of 1000 people.
DIAG: Oh shit, so everyone knows everyone.
BDJ: Yeah, so when we are talking towns like Argento, we are talking under 3000 people, under 2000 and it truly is the psychology behind that people grow up there, their grandpa and grandma grew up there, their great grandpa and grandma grew up there, they own land, they own farmland, they don’t have.. you know some people have never been out of the state, some have never been out of the town and its just a cycle and people, it’s just their home, so you look in the real world, and it’s people who are down south, and the towns are basically ghost towns you know? Big industry has moved out of the towns and some people move too, but there are people that stay back because that’s truly their home. People in Argento view it as their home and they’re not going to be run out by the curse and they will keep living their lives as they always have.
DIAG: Aw, thanks, thats a really good answer actually. So, were all the meta references intentional – like there’s a line from Blade 3 (“some motherfucker always trying to ice skate up hill”).
BDJ: That’s a good question for the writer. He is definitely clever, I didn’t get some of his jokes on set and he was like, “trust me some people will get them”.
DIAG: So, was the janitor at the start of the movie a Scruffy reference from Futurama?
BDJ: Not in my mind, no.
DIAG: Okay so in Futurama, there’s the Janitor, Scruffy, and he’s got a big moustache and he’s always reading a porno magazine and the janitor looks a lot like him.
BDJ: So that particular scene, that was the very last scene we shot after feedback. The whole movie was shot and edited and we got the feedback that we were missing something, and then we shot that scene, that was the only scene of the movie where I did not direct it.
DIAG: So, do you think Rowena the Witch and Bonejangles would make a good power couple like Bratt Pitt and Angelina Jolie?
BDJ: Okay so, Bonejangles 2 and 3, both scripts are actually done, revisions have been made, so you will just have to wait and see, because it’s something we have considered.
DIAG: Oh shit! So what would their power couple name be? Like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was Brangelina.. So would it be like Rowjangles?
BDJ: Bonegia? I don’t know, we were tossing around names for the sequel and we had names like Bride of Bonejangles, like to play off of Chucky.
DIAG: AHAHAHA! Okay So we are gonna get a little silly, so up next we are gonna do the lightning round, so I will give you two words and you pick your favourite out of the two. Kind of like word association but better. Okay?
BDJ: Okay so I pick which one I like better? Okay.
DIAG: Okay. Puppies or kitties?
DIAG: Beer or whisky?
DIAG: Freddy or Jason?
DIAG: Digital or analog?
BDJ: Digital. I’m gonna get killed for that one.
DIAG: Tits or ass?
DIAG: Daffodils or daisies.
DIAG: Coffee or tea?
DIAG: Weed or cocaine?
BDJ: Cocaine (DISCLAIMER: DIAG & Brett would like it known that he is drug free, and that this question was simply for laughs, so please don’t get your jimmies rustled).
DIAG: Walking Dead or Game of Thrones?
BDJ: Walking Dead.
DIAG: John Carpenter or Wes Craven?
DIAG: Vampires or Zombies?
DIAG: Okay, so we have one last question, and it’s the same question we use to finish of all of our interviews. So, since our site is called Drunk in a Graveyard and we kinda focus on booze and horror and having some laughs, what’s your favourite horror movie and what would be the intoxicant of choice that you would pair to go with it?
BDJ: Any movie?
DIAG: Any movie and any substance?
BDJ: I really like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, I think George Clooney was in that. and I’m a big bourbon guy, so I would have to go with bourbon.
We would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to Judrina at October Coast for setting us up with this interview and for offering us the oppurtunity to see Bonejangles. We would also like to thank Brett DeJager for making this film a reality, and for putting up with our drunken bullshit.
If you want to know more about Bonejangles you can find him on the Bonejangles Facebook.
And if you want to hit up Brett DeJager, he’s got twitter
And if you feel like checking out our podcast where we talk about Bonejangles (and Gary Busey’s cloaca), you can click here.