Here’s a closer look at ROAR and The Making of ROAR thanks to Marshall who shared some time with Indie Fest.
Q: Have you always been interested in animals?
A: Yes, I grew up with animals around me so I was curious about them and constantly wanted to surround myself with them.
Q: Did you always want to be in the film industry?
A: Definitely. I come from a family of filmmakers. My father produced the award winning film The Exorcist and my stepmother is the legendary Tippi Hedren. Having a normal office job was just never in the cards for me.
Q: Did you have any unusual difficulties during filming?
A: Working with 150 untrained lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs caused a lot of unexpected delays on set. You can't exactly instruct a wild animal to move back to their original spot and do the scene again.
Q: Will winning an award from Indie Fest help promote the films? How so?
A: Absolutely. It isn’t just a competition for talented artists and filmmakers; the staff has a great reputation of being very hands on in assisting filmmakers with distribution and connecting all the right people together. Being honored is a tremendous accomplishment for Roar and I believe would vigorously help spread the word of this educational independent film.
Q: How long did it take to make ROAR?
A: Roar took more than five years to make with a crew of over 100 people. I did the documentary, Making of Roar, to celebrate the 25th year since we made ROAR.
Q: How much money did the original movie cost?
A: Approximately $17,000,000.
Q: For what audience is ROAR suited?
A: Roar is appropriate for all audiences, young and old. If you're an animal lover, enjoy action, comedy and want to see something you've never seen before then you must see Roar.
Q: Any bites yet from distributors?
A: I've been in talks with a few distributors but I haven't found the right partnership, as of yet. I want to find a team that believes in Roar as much as I do.
Q: Is there a second part or next part in the works so to speak?
A: I'm exhausted just thinking about it. No, there will be no sequel. We have learned that you shouldn't be with lions and tigers. We all got bitten during the filming. We learned a lot. No amount of money could get me to do another movie like this. It’s just too dangerous. But I have no regrets. It was a great experience.
Q: What was it like working with the actors?
A: The actors were a breeze, especially compared to the animals. The cast was mostly composed of family members so we already had our communication ironed out before we arrived on set.
Q: What has the feedback been?
A: People love the film; they also think we are crazy. Just last week, I received a Roar DVD order from Australia from a woman who previously ordered the film. I thought it was a mistake and contacted the woman to be sure. The woman told me she did mean to order another DVD because she loved Roar so much she wanted to pass it along to her friend. I always refer to Roar as a hidden treasure. Once people know about the film, I believe everyone will know about the film.
Q: Are you working on any new projects?
A: I'm constantly working on new projects and productions but nothing I can announce as of yet.
Q: Did anyone get hurt or bitten during filming?
A: Yes, unfortunately. Our director of photography, Jan de Bont, was bitten by a lion during the making of the film. He received 200 stitches and was very shaken up but as they say, "the show must go on!" Also, every family member was bitten at least once. In all, over 70 people got injured. No animals got hurt, though.
Q: Tell us about The Making of Roar.
A: The Making of Roar is a documentary chronicling behind the scenes of Roar. We sat down with Tippi Hedren and other members of the cast and asked them to share their experiences and the chaos that happened over 25 years ago on the unpredictable Roar set.
Q: Tell us more about how Roar evolved.
A: Dad and Tippi were in Africa. Tippi was filming a movie and they saw a house overrun by lions. They thought it'd be nice to do a movie loosely based on that. We originally were going to use "studio" animals. But soon, we were encouraged to get our own if we wanted to make a movie like Roar.
Q: What was your overall role?
A: I lived with the animals just like the rest of the family. I then moved out to the set house, now called Shambala, Tippi's non-profit org. I then built up the set house and ran the preserve. When filming, I was an actor and did production, camera, etc. Whatever was needed if I wasn't in the scene.
Q: What was the best part?
A: It was great knowing all those cats. The whole experience was great, but very, very difficult. I guess the best was when we finished!
Q: How did you get started?
A: I started acting when I was five; I’ve always been in the business. I did commercials and few TV shows like Hazel, The Andy Griffith Show, and an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Q: Any trouble with the locations?
A: No, we owned the locations in Los Angeles. We shot some in Africa, but it was fairly painless.
Contact: John can be reached at: LINK