SCREAM’s Jessy Williams recently caught up with actor-musician Chris Minor to talk about his role in The Possession Experiment. He plays the lead role of Brandon Jensen, a student whose curiosity around exorcisms leads him to volunteer to be possessed himself. In the interview he chats about his relationship with the film’s director Scott Jensen, his favourite scenes from the film and the film’s possible comment on a society obsessed with live streaming.
SCREAM: How did you go from being in a band to acting?
Chris: Before I started my band I was actually taking acting classes in college, because acting was what I was trying to do first and I sort of fell into music. What happened with this film was that when my band got picked up, one of our music videos was shot by Scott [Hansen] the director. A year or two later I was in a solo music video for a song that’s in the film called The Watchful and in that video, ironically, I was possessed by a demon and after he and Mary [Dixon] saw the video they asked me to audition for the movie.
SCREAM: Do you feel more comfortable on-screen because you’ve had that experience on stage and behind the camera before?
Chris: It definitely helps a lot. It’s a whole different world and it definitely took more to be comfortable on set than it did to be on stage.
SCREAM: Did Scott’s music video experience enhance your working relationship?
Chris: Oh, definitely. That helped us build a friendship for sure. It definitely made things easier for both of us to get along so well, because we had the same taste in music.
SCREAM: Did you read much of the film script before your audition?
Chris: Yeah. I actually kept in touch with Scott and Mary for about a year after the music video shoot and that was when Mary sent me over the script. It was after she saw the video for The Watchful. We started talking about it and she asked me to send over a tape for it. I sent them over a tape, because I really liked the script and then it all just worked out.
SCREAM: What was it about the script that appealed to you?
Chris: I actually liked that, for once, they were doing a possession movie about a guy being possessed, as opposed to every single possession movie that uses a girl. I also liked the buddy-comedy aspect to it. I thought the relationship between Brandon and Clay was pretty cool.
SCREAM: Was your friendship with Jake Brinn, who played Clay, as strong off-screen as it was on?
Chris: Yeah, Jake was amazing. We actually met 3 or 4 days before we were shooting, because the actor who was supposed to play Clay dropped out. Ever since then he’s been one of my best friends and he’s a really amazing actor.
SCREAM: Brandon and Clay’s relationship brought a lot of comedy into the film. Do you think it’s important for horror to have even a small amount of light-heartedness to ease the terror?
Chris: I think it helps people feel more comfortable. At the same time, it could also help with horror movies that are just so absurd that they need the comedy, you know? With regards to Jake’s character, he dimmed down the gruesomeness in some of the scenes. Like, when my mother rips her jaw. Sometimes you need that comedy to even it out a little bit.
SCREAM: Are you a fan of horror films?
Chris: I am definitely a fan of horror films, but I’m a fan of all films in general. There is not a genre that I don’t watch.
SCREAM: Do you have a favourite horror film?
Chris: Probably the original Halloween. It still creeps me out to this day. *laughs* I think a lot of it has to do with the soundtrack, because John Carpenter has made it so creepy.
SCREAM: How was working with Scott as a director? I spoke to him yesterday and he said it was awful working with you…
Chris: *laughs* Oh really? I bet!
SCREAM: Of course not, he sung your praises.
Chris: Scott is a great guy. He started off as a DP and even on this film, he was behind the camera all the time working as a DP and a director. He has a lot of vision and sees a lot of things that loads of directors wouldn’t usually see. That is definitely something that is going to help him along the way. I don’t have anything bad to say about the guy.
SCREAM: Do you have a favourite scene in the film? Whether it’s one you watched back and liked or one you enjoyed acting in.
Chris: I think my favourite scene was when I killed my roommate. A lot of that scene was actually improvised, so I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. The whole thing was me wrapping knives around my fingers and a lot of stuff that was said wasn’t in the script. Scott just said “Go in there and kill him and whatever happens, happens”. So that was a lot of fun!
SCREAM: Would you agree that The Possession Experiment sets out to be more than just a scary horror film, and is perhaps a warning about live streaming to audiences who agree to watch anything, no matter how terrifying?
Chris: Yes, there is definitely a sub-context to the whole movie that the brilliant writer Mary probably had in her mind while she was writing it. It definitely hints at that, but at the same time, I don’t think the film wants anyone to take it too seriously. It’s all fun at the end of the day.
SCREAM: Give it time. When enough people see this film, someone will volunteer to be possessed live and I will probably watch it.
Chris: *laughs* Yeah, I can honestly imagine someone doing that. It’s really funny to see what people live stream on Facebook now. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone attempted to do this on Facebook Live.
SCREAM: What are you working on next?
Chris: I just finished filming a feature film called The Divine Appointment which co-stars Jenni Kennedy and Darwin Shaw. It’s a bit of a drama romance with a Nashville vibe to it and it has my music involved, which is cool.
SCREAM: Great! Thanks for your time, Chris.
Chris: Thank you!
The Possession Experiment is released on 6th of December, to whet your appetite, check out the trailer for The Possession Experiment below.
Words: Jessy Williams (@JessyCritical)