LATIN HORROR’s entertainment writer Jennifer Ortega caught up with part of the brain trust behind ‘Beyond The Night’ at the Laemmle Glendale Theater during a public panel the day following the film’s premiere, where she functioned as moderator. Jennifer scored exclusive interviews with the project’s director, Jason Noto, and actors Zane Holtz and Azhy Robertson. The full interview begins after the jump.
A war of attrition breaks out when a soldier’s son reveals damning information about a local gangster’s daughter.
Jason Noto – Director, ‘Beyond The Night’
Jennifer Ortega: So lovely to meet you.
Jason Noto: Nice to meet you.
Jennifer Ortega: I’m very excited about the film.
Jason Noto: Thank you.
Jennifer Ortega: You wrote and directed it.
Jason Noto: I did.
Jennifer Ortega: I know you have a horror background.
Jason Noto: Yeah, I do. I tend to write in the darker realms. And a lot of my content is too dark, I think. So I wrote this. Which immediately got support, because it was
slightly more commercially viable, and wasn’t played as deviant as I normally
write. So yeah, that was good. It works. Even though a lot of people call this
quite dark, but yeah. I’m happy with it.
Jennifer Ortega: Where did the inspiration come from for this particular?
Jason Noto: Okay, so since I was about six or seven I was a newspaper kid. I would throw newspapers to make money. And my neighbor’s father shot himself when I was outside the house.
Jennifer Ortega: Oh my God.
Jason Noto: So since then almost every year I have experienced death. Someone in my family, or a friend, or suicides, murders, a lot of different things. So I’ve always really been fascinated with death, and that relationship. So because of that, I’ve always researched reincarnation, and afterlife stories of likeness with birthmarks. Certain
cultures feel like birthmarks are a symbol of who they were in their previous life.
And how kids who have birthmarks can remember things from their past life. So
I’ve been fascinated with that for five or six years. So this was the perfect setting
to do that.
Jennifer Ortega: It also deals with PTSD as well a bit.
Jason Noto: A little bit. I’ve been really kind of slightly annoyed by a lot of the PTSD stereotypes lately, so I wanted to bring that in because I respect that very much, but in a
more human way, not so stereotypical, or caricature way. So the PTSD in this
story is much subtler. It’s not quite as in your face. But I love that, because I think
anybody who’s involved, or knows someone with PTSD, it’s not always over the
top, kind of crazy. Often times it’s what they don’t say. So I was really interested
in exploring that. I’ve been very happy with the response so far. It’s been really
respectful, and really grateful for a more serious, genuine response.
Jennifer Ortega: I’m always curious when talking to directors and writers, what are some of your major influences?
Jason Noto: Oh man. I’m an ’80s kid, so it’s most ’80s genre films. And most ’80s action movies.
Jennifer Ortega: Well I love all of that.
Jason Noto: Yeah. And I’m born and raised on Terry Gilliam, like Time Bandits, and Dark Crystal. So that’s my bloodline, so yeah, a lot of my stuff lives in that world, and
there’s elements, because there’s a kid in this, and I can’t write anything without
kids for some reason. So there’s elements of that in this movie. But so much more
in my other concept, yeah.
Jennifer Ortega: I’m excited to see 9 year old Azhy Robertson (“Lawrence”) in this, he looks great.
Jason Noto: He’s really amazing. He’s shot four or five films since this one, and he just was the lead of Spielberg’s new film for Amblin coming out, it’s called Larry. He is
Jennifer Ortega: And I know he’s in the new Noah Baumbach film, I think too.
Jason Noto: Yeah, he’s got one he’s about to start shooting. He did a movie, he played Ethan Hawke’s son last year, and currently in stacks of movies. He’s not stopping. And
it makes sense, he’s brilliant. Yeah.
Jennifer Ortega: And you’re from Baltimore?
Jason Noto: I am from Baltimore City, yeah.
Jennifer Ortega: In college, when I moved to New York, my roommate was from Baltimore. I have to say, I love artists from Baltimore. It’s a special city.
Jason Noto: There’s a rooted blue collar vibe.
Jennifer Ortega: I think everybody should go there at least once, ’cause it’s a very kind of special place. Very very unique.
Jason Noto: Very honest. Let’s say it’s a very honest city.
Jennifer Ortega: It’s so funny, because my name’s Jennifer, and her family for some reason would only call me Jenna. No has ever called me Jenna. Jen, Jenny, but not Jenna. Only in Baltimore am I Jenna.
Jason Noto: I mean, that makes sense to me for Baltimore.
Jennifer Ortega: I was like, “Alright. I’ll go with it.”
Jason Noto: They would call me Jase. I don’t get Jason, it’s always Jase.
Jennifer Ortega: Well congratulations, I’m very excited to see it.
Jason Noto: Thank you.
Jennifer Ortega: So lovely to meet you.
Jason Noto: It’s nice to meet you.
Zane Holtz, Actor – “Ray Marrow”
Jennifer Ortega: I’m excited about the film, of course.
Zane Holtz: Thank you.
Jennifer Ortega: And we’re about to see it, but just quickly, can you give us a little snippet about your character?
Zane Holtz: Sure, I play Ray Marrow, he’s a father returning from war. Due to tragic circumstances he has to come in, be sort of the sole caregiver for his young son. He
hasn’t had a lot of time to develop a relationship with him, so the movie’s about
him trying to both connect with his child, and then also try and come to an understanding of the mystery that’s presenting itself in this sort of small, American
Jennifer Ortega: I just talked to Jason about the film, and he seems amazing. How was working with him?
Zane Holtz: Oh, he was awesome. We met for the first time on Skype, and we got along great right away. And we had a blast making this film. And to see it all come to fruition
is awesome. We did a couple festivals towards the end of the year, and then now
we’re doing the kind of proper LA premiere before it comes out later this month,
so it’s great to be able to see everybody’s work up on the big screen.
Jennifer Ortega: It was at Austin film festival, so you’ve seen it?
Zane Holtz: I’ve seen it. Yeah, this is going to be my third time seeing it, yeah.
Jennifer Ortega: Awesome. Well it’s my first, and I’m excited to see it.
Zane Holtz: Cool, well supposedly the quality of this screen is very high, so it’s as the director, and the DP intended it to be seen.
Jennifer Ortega: Well that’s perfect. And I hear great things about Azhy, so I’m excited to see him.
Zane Holtz: Yeah, Azhy’s great. Chance Kelly (“Bernie”) is great. Tammy Blanchard (“Caroline”) is great. Neal Huff (“Pastor Hirsch”) is great. Honestly, the performances
in the movie are beautiful, and I’m excited to be able to share it with people, and
have it get out there and be seen.
Jennifer Ortega: Thank you so much. So lovely to talk to you.
Zane Holtz: Thank you.
Jennifer Ortega: I’m really excited.
Azhy Robertson, Actor – “Lawrence Marrow”
Jennifer Ortega: Hi. So nice to meet you.
Azhy Robertson: Nice to meet you too.
Jennifer Ortega: I like your glasses.
Azhy Robertson: Oh, thanks.
Jennifer Ortega: Black thick rimmed glasses are the way to go. It’s a good look. I’ve talked to your co-stars and your director. And I have to tell you, everyone’s saying really great things about you. How was it working on this film?
Azhy Robertson: It was spectacular. This was one of my first … My first feature film.
Jennifer Ortega: Really?
Azhy Robertson: Yeah. So it was really great for me.
Jennifer Ortega: You have so many great things coming out too, I’m very excited to see this, and to watch your career progress.
Azhy Robertson: Thank you.
Jennifer Ortega: I’d like to know what are some of your favorite movies as an actor that you like to watch?
Azhy Robertson: Well my top three.
Jennifer Ortega: Yes! I like top three, that’s good.
Azhy Robertson: Mad Max Fury Road.
Jennifer Ortega: Great choice!
Azhy Robertson: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Jennifer Ortega: Also an amazing movie.
Azhy Robertson: And Teen Titans.
Jennifer Ortega: I love that. That’s a good mix. I love that you said Mad Max. That’s fantastic. How old are you?
Azhy Robertson: Oh, I’m nine. I turned nine yesterday in fact.
Jennifer Ortega: Well, first of all, happy birthday! You have really good taste already at nine. So is there any scene you’re excited to see? Did you already see it when it was at any
of the festivals?
Azhy Robertson: I watched slightly a bit. Then I got scared. But that was two years ago.
Jennifer Ortega: Yeah so you were seven then. So it was probably a bit too scary to watch when you were younger. Everybody says such great things about you, so I’m very excited to see this. And you are an absolute delight to talk with.
Azhy Robertson: Thanks Jennifer!