by: The HORROR Man
My fright writer, Brad Bruce, loves zombies almost as much as I. So when he told me he had a interview with Markus Taylor, I almost flipped my wig! So dig the interview already will ya!
Zombies are hot, there’s no debate there. But the quality of zombie films, now that’s debatable! Almost in cookie cuter fashion zombie films are produced overnight. And I commend folks for actually getting their films made, but alas, some films shouldn’t be made at all. There are only a handful of true classic zombie movies. Anything Romero, Shaun of the Dead, Fido, Dead Snow, Dead Alive. Now to add to the list is Deadheads, from the genius minds of Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce. When I first heard of the premise of the film it sucked me in. Then I saw the trailer and I was hooked. To put it simply, it’s a buddy zombie road trip movie. What more could a gore/comedy hound ask for?
A couple of zombies(Michael McKiddy and Ross Kidder ) awake in the middle of a living dead outbreak and one decides to find his lost love and another goes with his partner. Along the way they pick up Cheese, a lovable zombie with a heart of gold. Cheese is played by Markus Taylor who I sat down with and talked a bit about his time on Deadheads and to find out who Mr. Taylor is. Listen up ya zombie freaks!
B.B: How did you get into acting?
Markus Taylor: To be honest (chuckles) I was in the coast guard, I did like six years in aviation field. I was going to college studying to be an engineer. And I really hated it. I remember talking to one of my friends. He said what are you going to school for? I said to be an engineer. He says yeah but what have you always wanted to do? I said, well I’ve always wanted to be in a movie. He says that seems more like your style. And to be honest I hated being an engineer. So I started looking into it. And I was either going to go to New York or LA. And I got a call from my family out in California and that was my decision. I came out here met some people in the business by random and once I actually learned the craft, because you spend a couple years in Hollywood spinning your wheels, no one ever tells you how to do things, they say just go out there and meet people and you learn things from them! I fell in love with it.
B.B: What did your family and friends say after you told them you were going to be an actor?
M.T: “You know, my family and friends were actually really supportive. I think it was one of those things where they were like oh yeah, go for it. But really at first I got “your to old to be an actor”, cause I didn’t start until I was 27.And I always use Samuel L. Jackson as an example, He didn’t get his break till he was 35. But ultimately they were cool with it.”
B.B: So how did Deadheads come about for you?
M.T: “You’ve seen the movie Old School right. Dean Pritchard his character was once referred to as Cheese. And there’s a part where Vince Vaughn called him Cheese. So I’m going through these listings on LA casting, and I see a listing for a zombie. In your head your always like I’m not gonna do a zombie film. That would ruin my career. And I see thins posting that says Cheese, and I’m like (long pause) I have to be this character. So I submitted for it. And they called me in for it. I remember leaving after the audition thinking I hope I get it. And I told my girlfriend at the time I hope I get it I would love to play a character named Cheese. It was two months before they called. I thought it was gone. In this business you do an audition and you cut it loose, you never know if their going to call. They called and they said you wanna come on board as Cheese. I was like Cheese? Oh yeah I do.”
B.B: How did you develop this character?
M.T: “I had to create this whole huge back story. There was no background on him at all. I just saw Cheese as a backyard wrestler who was always seeking approval from his friends and girls. But he was a big heavy metal guy who got in a bad backyard wrestling accident and was killed. Even in death he’s still searching for affection. That’s what I saw in Cheese.”
B.B: Where was Deadheads filmed?
M.T: ” All over Michigan, Royal Oak, Dearborn. I learned a cool thing while I was there Michigan’s shaped like a mitt. So anytime when some asks where your from they will hold up there hand and point to a part on it. It was cool, it was a beautiful location. We got there in august and shot until October. Long shoot to be in contacts.”
B.B: So what was it like making the film?
M.T: “It was a huge family. I was kind of like an outsider, cause they all knew each other, everyone was basically from Michigan, we all had our spots to hang, but when your living in a house with like twenty other guys. Things are gonna happen, but I have to give it up to the crew. I mean that crew was amazing they worked their asses off. And you can see it in the quality of the film. They really did a great job, it was a good time. And deadheads was actually the movie that made me decide I was gonna do this for real. When I left I was like, this movies gonna make or break it, and when it was done I was like this is what im gonna do for the rest of my life.”
B.B: So when you saw Deadheads for the first time what were your thoughts?
M.T: “Wow! Totally was not what I expected. I didn’t see it until they did a private screening for the cast. It was like two years after. I was floored I did not expect it to be what it was. I’ve seen it quite a few times since then and this is a really fun entertaining movie. And I still catch things every time I see it. And after we saw it we were like wasn’t expecting that. And to Brett and Drew’s credit they knew exactly what they wanted and god bless them cause it’s an amazing film and I’m so grateful for the experience.”
B.B: What’s the feedback been like from people?
M.T: “I haven’t heard one negative thing. The feedback has been amazing people are really on bored. Like people that have seen the trailer are like “I can’t wait to see this movie.” And I’m like, “I know I cant wait to show it to you.”
B.B: What’s next for you?
M.T: “Well actually I’ll be doing a little bit in Michael McKiddy’s webisode called Super Freaks. The premise is superheroes’ when they were younger. Mikes really a big comic book guy and he loves that genre. And I’m really excited to be doing that stuff for him. I also got a short film that I’m doing. I’m all over the place, Continuing to train, and really hitting the Twitter (follow Markus @stretchmwt )”
B.B: Do you have a favorite genre of film?
M.T: “You know what, I didn’t at first. But I actually tend to lean more towards sci-fi. I really enjoy it. My mom was a really big trekKe. She used to make us watch it, but after like ten episodes, I was like so what’s gonna happen to Jean Luc Picard. It’s just really entertaining to me. But as an actor now I don’t wanna say it ruins things. But you really get analytical. I was watching Indiana Jones the other day and the whole time I was like oh that’s a good shot and that looks nice. The first ones a great film that you can watch time and time again. But I’m sorry if you read this George Lucas and Steven Spielberg the last one was horrible. I was just like what is this. This has been a really great year for movies. With the Fighter, Black Swan, True Grit. There have been some really amazing performances.”
B.B: Who was an inspiration to you?
M.T: “I’ll tell you who I think is probably one of the greatest actors of all times and that’s Daniel Day Lewis and another is Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I aspire to be on the level of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. There was no one really when I was growing up I said I wanna be like so in so. I was in a play when I was a kid I was Davy Crockett I was the lead and I loved it. But then in high school it was not cool to be in drama. I played football and stuff but I think me finding it later in my life was better for me so I could find out more about who I am.”
B.B: What advice would you give someone who said “I want to be an actor what should I do?”
M.T: “I say learn your craft, there’s a saying that I live by in the industry and that is, “there is no such thing as luck, luck is when opportunity and preparation meet”. So you have to be prepared when you’re giving opportunities to take them and go out there and learn the craft. And really understand the craft. Its life changing, I’m the first person to say six years ago when I started this I was a different person than I am now. Its introspective, it helps you to understand people, literally in my opinion it opens your eyes, it makes you a better person and that’s the part about it I love. Because when someone is looking on screen and they can identify with that that means your touching them. And that’s a huge complement. And you have to take care of that and it’s a responsibility to go out there and take this vision off what a writer wrote who put there heart and soul into it and try to deconstruct it and try to find out exactly what it is they’re saying. And convey that. My biggest thing is learn the craft and have fun and there’s no better feeling….”
So there you have it direct from Cheese’s mouth, uh I meant Markus Taylor, Markus is a tremendously talented and amazing person. Keep an eye on him. Were gonna see big things from him.
Thyanks Brad for a great interview! Be sure to stay here as we will be having a Deadheads screening and review up soon.