Hey, all. Shawn here (the guy who writes this freak show). Over the past few months, we’ve posted individual profiles on the members of the Vatican Black Ops squad that joins our cast in Episode 2. You can check out profiles for the team and 17 total Escape From Jesus Island characters here: https://jesusisland.com/characters
The way we built this Vatican team was a bit unorthodox, so I wanted to give you folks a behind-the-scenes peek at the people we modeled these characters after. We plan to do in-character photo shoots, a live-action trailer and eventually we’d love to do a full feature-length EFJI film, so it was important that we find exactly the right people for these roles.
When we first started pre-production on this story, we held a big photo shoot where we brought in friends and family, along with some actors who I knew I wanted to use in the story. We later used those photos to cast some of the characters in the early issues.
Vatican Black Ops
Commander of the raid on Malsum Island
Modeled after: Justin Cole
Mortimer and I knew we wanted to model Joe after someone local, but really weren’t sure who. Was Joe a huge linebacker or more of a MacGyver-type, minus the aversion to murder?
Later, when we were looking through the pictures from the shoot, it became clear. Mortimer’s friend, Justin Cole, had the right look, plus he’s an SCA brawler and kickass cosplayer. Here’s Justin as Joe at our Escape From Jesus Island event at Plague in Portland, Maine.
Vatican Doctor and Theologian
Modeled after: Molly W. Bryant Roberts
The character of Mary is one I’ve been carrying around in my head since I first came up with this story in 1993. As such, it was a very strange experience to meet Mary while working on the set on the zombie movie “2.” She claimed her name was Molly, but she was clearly the lead character from my Escape From Jesus Island story. She has the same irresistibly adorkable charm that makes Mary such a fun character.
I always knew if I got a chance to do EFJI in any medium, Molly was my lead. I had a blast working with her, even though she hit me with a board and her husband Jim shoved me backwards into a bathtub and ripped tubes out of my chest (in their defense, I was trying to eat their brains). Molly is awesome and you can see her in this trailer for “2”: http://youtu.be/85geBli3JeM
Modeled after: Jesse Jet Villarreal
When I was cast as the title monster in “Amish Devil,” I immediately pushed to get “American Ninja Warrior” alum Jesse Jet Villarreal onboard to also play the monster. I hadn’t met Jesse at that point, but I’d seen this stunt reel: http://youtu.be/ySXgmaGckvo
I couldn’t believe this guy lived in Maine. Fortunately, Jet was available, and he and I split duty as the creature terrorizing the not-so-good Amish folk in Damien Zygote’s twisted horror flick.
Jesse is a blindingly talented free runner and I designed the character of Jet, the Vatican Black Ops point man, specifically for him.
Keep an eye out for Jesse in the upcoming “Amish Devil” and the film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Cell.” Here’s Jet wreaking havoc on the “American Ninja Warrior” course: http://youtu.be/hLMFNcWKN7Y
Bob “Boomer” Hawkins
Vatican Munitions Expert
Modeled after: Rob Dimension
I’ve known from the start that the Black Ops team needed a munitions expert, but it wasn’t until I decided to model the character after actor/filmmaker Rob Dimension that the character of Boomer really fell into place. Rob has a perfect mix of goofiness and deadly serious determination, and I brought a lot of that into the character of Boomer.
Rob and I first crossed paths when he was hosting the most excellent “Late Night at the Horror Hotel.” He’s since created a pair of fantastic short films, “No Clowning Around” and “Baggage,” and his third short, “Rabbit Hole,” will be available this August.
Here is the trailer for “No Clowning Around”: http://vimeo.com/50317014
Oleg “Barracuda” Arlovski
Vatican Interrogator and Personal Protector of the Pope
Modeled after: Flash Kellish
I had the pleasure of working with stuntman Flash Kellish on the film “Amish Devil.” With a background that includes stunt shows in Las Vegas and Taiwan, Flash is a tough motherfucker, and the perfect choice for one of the craziest badasses in Act One of EFJI, Oleg “Barracuda” Arlovski.
Funny story. So we’re doing a 2-on-1 fight scene in a barn for “Amish Devil.” Flash and I against the monster. My foot clips the edge when getting thrown through a hay door to the level below and I hit the ground in a bad way, fold up like a lawn chair and break my back in two places (that isn’t the funny part). Total stupid fluke injury.
So I’m pissed because I know my back is messed up. The pain is beyond belief. But I’ve been training for months to play this monster and don’t want to miss the rest of the shoot, so I am deep in denial. Subterranean. I’m trying to walk it off, which generally doesn’t work all that well for spinal fractures.
I’m talking with the director about getting some scenes rescheduled, figuring if I could just get one day of rest, I’ll be good to go after that. I walked around for about an hour with a twice broken back, including slowly shuffling back up a set of stairs to finish the scene in the barn.
Flash and his wife Shannon are the folks who finally got me to accept that I was injured and needed to lie down. Turns out, they were right. Thanks, guys!
In addition to lots of stunty goodness, Flash has two decades of acting experience and is in the Maine-based grunge-country band Bizzy Gruntry, whose first CD is coming soon. Check out some of Flash’s stunt show kickassery below:
So there you have it… Team Vatican. How will this crew fare against the forces of ReGen Corp and Yeshua’s horde? Stay tuned for Episode 3…