A VICE Guide to Bigfoot-Interview

October 29, 201919 min

By Brian Taylor

Writer/director Zach Lamplugh and Writer/star Brian Emond

Q (Brian T):So, I’ve always loved great mockumentaries. And I’m curious what films influenced you to make your own?

A ( Zach):Honestly, mostly, not mockumentaries. Yeah, some of our big comedy influences are like Edgar Wright stuff, we love What We Do in the Shadowsand we were just talking about Dodgeballa minute ago and like that era of comedy.

A (Brian E):Pretty whimsical stuff too like also a lot of the Zucker Brothers thing, like that’s the influence.

A (Zach):When I was in film school the people that I really liked and wanted to be was like Michel Gondry, like that kind of stuff. 

A (Brian E):No, I wanted to be Wong Kar-wai.

A (Zach):Yeah, Michel Gondry, Spike Jones, all these people that made things where something pretty experimental was always going on and I feel like that comes across in our comedy a little bit because I’m always trying to do something where we’re like, well, that hasn’t been done before. Like, the data washing thing in our movie, like that hasn’t been done before, let’s do it. 

Q (Brian T):Well, how much of the film was on the page versus improvised?

A (Brian E):I would say about 90% of it was on the page. We are lucky that we are in Atlanta because we did a sketch show for a number of years, so we have like a pretty big network of really talented actors who are also like, I like your stuff and I want to work in it. And I think a lot credit goes to them for making what was a lot of scripted moments just feel real. They’re just really good at making it sound improvised. Jeff [Stephenson] plays the cryptic commander, we have a really long-standing working relationship with him and we kind of wrote the film around him just because we knew him so well and we wanted him to be a part of whatever we did. And of all the people I feel like we give him the most freedom because we kind of know whatever is going to come out of his mouth is going to be gold, so of all people we were kind like hey Jeff, read these lines but if you got something, just do it. 

A (Zach):You know what, I think a lot about that a lot of people in this movie were trained actors. I don’t think people think about that, but a lot of people went to acting conservatories and stuff and then also think about when John C. Reilly was Dr. Steve Brule and like everybody was like what the hell, this dude is an Oscar winning actor but he’s so silly. You know what I mean? So, a lot of times you see that where yeah like Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunderyou’re like what? Dude, this guy is a real actor, why is he putting on makeup and being goofy. People that are real trained actors can be hilarious if you gave them the right material to work with. I think people with dramatic chops can be really funny and make it seem real. 

A (Brian E):Yeah because they can play it real and if it’s really funny then it just comes across. 

Q (Brian T): Yeah, I actually agree. So why Bigfoot?

A (Zach):We had just seen a zillion million zombie movies, like we wanted to do horror comedy so immediately were like, alright zombies. Done. 

A (Brian E):Vampires, no. And there’s a sequel to that that’s like werewolves I think, that’s a no. 

A (Zach):So, it was like we can’t do this, this, and this and were like no one’s done bigfoot. And also, the cool thing about bigfoot is that it is different from the other genres because like it’s a quest. You’re like searching for something. Zombies is something that happens to you and then vampires are kind of similar.

A (Brian E):WHAT is the idea. Like in your world and you don’t know it.

A (Zach): Yeah, but there’s not like An Interview with a Vampiretype movie where you like got to find the vampire, I don’t know. That’s not What We Do in the Shadowslike I have to hunt down a vampire and talk to them or some shit. We like that aspect of it, it changed the dynamic of the story tale.

A (Brian E):And for budget sake, bigfoot is one of the creatures I think where you get more points for maybe not revealing him. Of all the creatures out there, like we watched a lot of bigfoot films and it’s mostly disappointing when you actually see bigfoot well-lit like ah it turns out he’s not scary. And the creature himself sort of like lives in myth like no one can prove he’s not real so he’s got this legendary aspect that he could still be out there. I think spoiling the myth kind of ruins it. You don’t need the whole backstory of why he really exists. You know I don’t think you need to see him fully either.

Q (Brian T):I actually kind of agree. So, wait, do you both believe in bigfoot?

A (Zach):You know, I can’t say that there’s definitive evidence that he doesn’t exist.

A (Brian E):You know, I can’t prove that he’s not here. So, that’s how that works.

Q (Brian T): That’s usually how it is. So when y’all were filming, you did a lot of shots outside, what was the most difficult scene to shoot?

A (Zach):That scene with the dead body probably. The scene with the dead body was hard because if you watch that scene at the end, the shots are so wide that we were having trouble getting sound because that gag where Jeff is 20 feet behind him to get Brian in foreground, Jeff in background, it just had to be so wide to wrap focus and we were just having a hard time getting sound. And it was also the very last day of the first round of shooting and we were all just pissed off. I was like going back listening to some of the tapes recently and there’s a part where, it’s one of the last shots trying to find B role, and you can hear me go “God, I fucking hate this.” And then Brian goes “It’s almost over dude.” [Everyone laughs] 

Q (Brian T):The end is in sight. Now, y’all both wrote the film, you’re in the film as well, were there challenges to doing all that or was there any benefits to basically being the jack of all trades?

A (Brian E):There’s both. Challenges is like you’re organizing while you’re trying to act which is like a little bit frustrating because you’re just in like two places at once.

A (Zach):The upside to that though is that you get a lot more control and I think it ends up more like what you intend it, like you get to give up less. Like when something comes up, you’re not like well I don’t have to compromise, it’s ours, which is pretty cool, but it has limits too. It makes it so you’re also juggling a lot.

A (Brian E):And also, we had never done a found footage movie. We had never done a found footage sketch, movie or anything like that, so that was totally new. So, that was interesting and the writing too and everything, having to be like everything has to be motivated. You can’t just set up a shot and then cut to it, it has to all kind of be motivated by the story, which was interesting to take on. 

Q (Brian T):Wonderful. Now, I liked the film, it was great and I’m wondering now, are we going to see more VICE guides like, lochness monster?

A (Zach): So, we’re thinking maybe HGTVs, lochness or we’re thinking of maybe a different format, a different monster, a different channel.

A (Brian E):Yeah, something maybe more comedy or sci-fi comedy with a different format would be fun to do. 

A (Zach):We like the format of applying a medium that already exists and then putting a story underneath it cause, I think it lends itself to speed and it helps us write it really well because we ask ourselves now, what would they do? And then we just keep going with that.

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