Exclusive Interview: Andrew Deane, Producer of MoH
29th Jan 07
We had a great time at Dublin's Horrorthon last year where we were treated to great Irish hospitality, several fantastic films (The Lost, Pan's Labyrinth), and also the first ever UK screening of Takeshi's Miike's extreme episode Imprint from Season 1 of Masters of Horror.
Alongside that, Andrew Deane, Exec Producer of both seasons, had also brought along previews of five of Season Two's episodes, namely Brad Anderson's Sounds Like, John Carpenter's Pro-Life, Dario Argento's Pelts, Tobe Hooper's The Damned Thing and, arguably the best of the bunch, John Landis' Family.
The following is an interview conducted with Andrew Deane, the Co-Executive Producer of the MoH series. As far as we're aware, no other interview of itís kind exists on the Internet. Mr. Deane, being quite an elusive fellow.
Eatmybrains: Andrew, itís extremely difficult to find any information about you online. Youíre like a smoky Charlie, a fucking non-person who doesnít exist. Have you made an effort for as little information as possible to be available on sources like IMDB?
Andrew Deane: No, not really, I just donít take a lot of pictures. Iím mainly a credit that appears. Hmm, there might be a couple.
EMB: I had to check my American ĎMasters of Horrorí to see what you looked like. Make sure I didnít interview the wrong American.
AD: Iím actually invisible in photos. So thatís why I avoid them, you found me out. (laughs)
EMB: After graduating from Boston University with a degree broadcast journalism, you started off in sports journalism and produced baseball highlights.
AD: Thatís true.
EMB: The ĎMasters of Horrorí is such a massive step away from that. Was that a plan, did you always want to get into Horror?
AD: Not at all, I mean Iíve always been a fan of film and horror films. No, no, it was a happy accident. I just fell into show business accidentally while I was a sports journalist and I just seemed to have a knack for recognising commercial movie ideas. I got into producing, then managing, then the Horror thing just came about naturally through my relationship with Mick Garris ultimately.
Dario Argento's Pelts
EMB: What drove you on into journalism and then show business? Were there any family members or other wise that had that driving impact on you?
AD: I think it was largely my own steam but I sorta been lucky, I was just in at the right place and the right time for a lot of things. I guess I took advantage of the situation when it presented itself where I had the right skills to take advantage of the situation and be successful, but I think I was just I the right place and at the right time a lot of the time.
And maybe my father in fact, he didnít influence me, but I think he was always a good talker. He had the gift of the gab and I think it rubbed off a little on me. Iím a better sales person I guess than most, although I like to think I am as, or more, creative than a sales person, but I am a sales person.
EMB: Bitta smoke and mirrors, sell ice to Eskimos?
AD: Yes, SHOW-BIZNESS (Laughs)
EMB: You mentioned your father worked with Frank Sinatra, did you ever get to meet the man?
AD: I donít remember meeting him, but Iíve met a lot of other interesting people. I used to play softball with the guys from Steely Dan and my dad owned his own record company with Bill Cosby and they signed Deep Purple back in the day that was there first group. So Iíd already met a lot of famous people when I was young.
EMB: Was it always just movies or was there anything else, what about comics, books, was there anything on that level that drove you creatively into movies?
AD: This is very strange about me. I never had a fantasy life. I read literature but never really had had a live in my mind with fantasy. I never had heroes, yeah its strange, I donít know, I was never really into comics and things like that, I donít know why.
EMB: What about movies then? What directors set your mind alight when you were younger? Do you have any favorites any that push you on to other bigger things?
AD: Well thatís a very, very tricky question. Theyíre hard to answer these kind of questions because Iím weird about not liking the label that pigeonholes for liking something, You know itís so hard to say.
But I donít know if thereís any one director who, you know, directors, every time is hit and miss you know. But thereís a couple that I like and thereís many that have made a lot of films that Iíve loved and maybe one or two that Iíve hated and itís all the usual suspects probably.
But, I think that thereís a couple of guys whoíve hardly missed and that would be Bob Fosse interestingly enough and Hal Ashby, but those are guys for how many great ones they made although they were just a couple or a few, they didnít really miss in my opinion. Then thereís many others whoíve made many great films, but they donít you know, nobody gets it right every time.
Tobe Hooperís The Damned Thing
EMB: Aside from film, what else do you enjoy about life? Cheese, drink, women, horses, cards? What pleasures and interests drive you?
Andrew Deane (laughing):
All of the above.
EMB: What about fishing? Do you like fishing?
AD: I love to fish. More deep-sea fishing, I do that every so often. Iím a water person so anything on the water is great, I love to sail.
EMB: What would you do to unwind then, after a few days furiously working on Masters of Horror, Masters of Sci-Fi, what would you do?
AD: Ah to unwind, it would probably be have a great a meal, walk around, go to the beach, maybe see a movie. But I love to travel, thatís my adventure, get away from it, experience other cultures and people. Different forms of life. LA is very bizarre and insular and itís not real, so getting out and exploring reminds you what the rest of the world is like.
Plus I think when you work in the same place your brain starts to go on the same wave pattern and you need new different stimuli to be creative again. So I always find myself coming up with way more new ideas after Iíve traveled.
EMB: Were you surprised when Showtime pulled the plug on Imprint shortly before broadcast?
AD: (Laughs) No. Not surprised in the least.
EMB: Have any horror films sickened you or actually managed to scare you?
AD: Well my family and my younger brother, I always loved horror films, but they were even more into horror films than I was. So I was seeing Horror films at a very early age, so that would probably explain a few things about myself (laughs). I was seeing them very early, so ever since, its been hard to scare me, some things unsettle me I guess in ways, but Iíd have to think what Iíve seen recently thatíd have done that.
I remember when I was a kid, I think I saw it when it first came out, I remember Suspiria scaring the shit out of me. I donít know why or what, I just remember it scaring the shit out of me. I canít even remember what it was about it. You know how it is when youíre a kid.
But I will tell you, I had three younger brothers, two that were ten years younger from my next brother and I. We pulled the worst pranks on these kids, I mean, weíd hide under the bed for hours before theyíd go to sleep or in a closet or rig up elaborate lighting and special effects, this is back in the mid-seventies and weíd scare the shit out of my younger brothers (Laughs) so bad that they canít see Horror movies to this day.
John Carpenter's Pro-Life
EMB: Being a Horror fan, are there any gore scenes that make you grin or laugh. Like you know in ĎThe Thingí, when the head drops down and scuttles away, anything like that?
AD: From The Masters of Horror?
EMB: From anything.
AD: Gore scenes, gore scenes, hmm, Iíd have to think about that, itís probably things that are more real, like a pain that I could imagine or being like buried alive, claustrophobic, something like that, thatíd freak me out as opposed to out and out gore I guess. Iíll think about that and try to get back to you on that one. (Laughs)
EMB: Moving to the up-coming ĎMasters of Sci-Fií. What stories are there, out of ĎDark They Were, And Golden-Eyedí by Ray Bradbury; 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said The Ticktock man" by Harlan Ellison; ĎThe Huntí by Stanislav Lem, and ĎThe Crystal Eggí by H.G. Wells. And with negotiations currently underway to include ĎThe Last Questioní by Isaac Asimov and ĎJerry Was A Maní by Robert Heinlein. Which of these are you most looking forward to see on screen? Heinlen or Bradbury? Lem?
AD: No. You know theyíre all good. You know we couldnít get every story that we wanted or couldnít get every author that we wanted, but I think thereís a really great range of authors and types of stories. I think with this, weíre trying to make an effort to make statements, to make entertainment that can really make people think about our existence, you know, weíll see if we achieve that or not. This might be a way to get things through to some people.
Thereís quite a few I would have liked to see in there. Hopefully though, we only have a six-episode film order and hopefully weíll get picked up to go beyond that. So we can get into a lot of stuff and cover all the bases. (Laughs)
EMB: Any drunken adventures from your time in Hollywood thatíd you like to share on the record. You know the type, it was Mexico, I didnít own the horse, her father gave me permission.
AD: Oh nothing quite that exciting, hmm drunken adventures. Well Iíll tell you one of my first stories. Not a drunken adventure, but a funny story I think about. You know, my eye-opening Hollywood experience, when I first got there.
I was asked by an agent friend of mine, he couldnít go with his client, who was a hot actor, Iím not going to name names unfortunately, a hot actor on a very popular TV show of the time. And this actor was going to go speak on behalf of the American Red Cross in an Anti-Drug campaign and this agent asked me to go with the actor because he couldnít go and he wanted someone to just mind the actor, take care of him, be there and hang out of with him.
So, a limo picks me up and again, Iím twenty, just into Hollywood, this guy is a pretty big star. The limo picks me up to take me to the airport to fly to Washington DC, for him to do this big anti-drug campaign. And the actor was already in the car, ready to go to the airport and heís like ďSo Andrew, you ready to have some fun!Ē and he pulls out the biggest bag of weed you could imagine! And so it was just the irony that he was stoned, we were going to an anti-drug campaign and he had about a pound of weed of him.
Brad Anderson's Sounds Like
EMB: Okay, what do you think of the growing prevalence and influence of Scientology in Hollywood. You donít have to answer this is you donít want to, Iíll understand if you donít.
AD: Ooooh-hohoho (laughs) Ah, eh, N-hmm, Scientology and Hollywood.
EMB: Itís growing.
AD: Oh yes, itís growing, itís growing every day. I donít understand it, letís leave it at that, but then I donít understand a lot of things. (Laughs).
EMB: Looking back over your career in the industry, which of your many achievements makes you most proud?
AD: Phew, hmm, a few different things. Really Iím as much of or more a manager of writers and directors as I am a producer and I sort of produce usually only when I have a great idea for something. But day to day to day minute to minute, most of my time is managing writers and directors and itís very rewarding when you have a brilliant talent, an artist and you help them find a way to get their vision out there and be successful.
Itís a horror, Hollywood is miserable, they want everything in a little box, so if you can help real artists with real voices do something important and worthwhile, get it done and itís out of the box. Thatís a real sense of accomplishment, to help artists fulfill their vision, so thatís been satisfying in a number of ways.
So lets see.
Masters of Horror is great, because itís really changing the model of the way television is done. I mean, never before has anybody been able to give artists money to do whatever they want and really give them the creative freedom and then just delivery it to the network without the network interfering with the creative process, so thatís rare in Hollywood these days. So thatís been rewarding.
And as far as producing, itís just exciting and fun to have an idea then manifest it then see it everywhere. I do know that I have to make another movie or feature film or two so See Spot Run isnít the only thing isnít on my gravestone. Although it was fun and entertaining for a kid movie, it changed a lot - it took nine years to get made. So weíll what else I can do there, Iím working on it.
John Landisí Family
EMB: So you were saying about writers and directors, do they come back and thank you or do they change with success?
AD: Thereís a difference between managers and agents in the US. Agents and agencies tend to be more, eh whatís the word Iím looking for.
AD: Yeah, itís mass numbers, book deliver, book, in out, on to the next deal on to the next client, when youíre hot youíre hot, when youíre not, youíre not. With managers, hopefully the relationship is a lot more personal and deep and so you get into it hopefully a little more carefully and really have a bond. For me and my clients weíre almost like family and weíve worked together a long time. So Iíve been loyal to them and theyíve been loyal to me. I think we just believe in each other,
I mean thereís always going to be ups and downs, its Hollywood, its difficult so, its never just one direction so you gotta stick through it, through thick and thin and talent will win out in the end with the right support. My clients have been great.
EMB: Last question then and I mean it this time. What did you think of the Horrorthon in Dublin? Did you enjoy it and whatís been your favorite part?
AD: Had a great time! The favorite part, other than hanging out with you guys, you know the people are great. The friends, the new friends you make, the meeting interesting new filmmakers and people from around the world and the relationships, the people have been great. And it was great to see Masters of Horror with an audience and to see how they responded and they responded I think very, very well, so that was a lot of fun, to see how the films grade.