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HorrorMoviesandStuff INTERVIEW - "Mercy Christmas" actor Cole Gleason!

Grip Of Fear

Just in time for the holidays, comes filmmaker Ryan Nelson's dark horror comedy, "Mercy Christmas." The film which is currently in release, follows a man named Michael Briskett. Michael is just a normal guy, who's inexplicably invited to a Christmas dinner event by the beautiful Cindy (Casey O'Keefe). A young woman he just recently met. While visions of sugar plum fairies and Christmas turkey dance in his head, we eventually learn Cindy and the Robillard family have much more - "unique" plans for their unsuspecting dinner guest. So what makes a horror movie scary? Some might say the unpredictability of the killer or evil force.

Others might say the mysteriousness of who the actual killer is, such as ghost face in "Scream" or the fisherman in "I Know What You Did Last Summer. What is unique about the newly released "Mercy Christmas" is the killers are a cookie cutter, church going family who humorously make it known what they are going to do to their victims pretty early on. Even though the factors that make up "Mercy Christmas" are a little different from the classic horror film, it at times is still pretty terrifying. Below we talk with actor Cole Gleason, who plays Andy Robillard, about these elements, what it's like for his character to get caught on fire, and why he can no longer drink egg nog after making "Mercy Christmas".

How did you get involved with "Mercy Christmas?"

Cole:I was actually filming in Pennsylvania when I got the call that casting wanted me to come in and read for the role. I remember stepping off of set for almost a 14 hour day getting a call from my manager, Nikki Mincks, telling me to be at the casting office the next day. Of course, I was exhausted and I couldn't think about learning over 10 pages for the pre-read audition. A small part of me kept saying, "Just cancel it, I'm too tired to go through this process over the next 12 hours." But I ended up studying the lines on the plane ride home, got back to LA, went to the audition, and the rest is history! That would have been the worst decision of my career so far if I had canceled.

Did you initially read for any of the other parts?

Cole:The only part I read for was Andy Robillard; that was the only role I fit, really. But I do remember waiting outside the audition room with about 7 or 8 other actors reading for that role as well and thinking, "What am I doing here? I am by far the youngest person here; I have no chance at booking this!" Perfect example of how you just never know what casting is looking for.

You play Andy Robillard in the film, whom is the villain and not a very nice person to anyone. Each day how did you come out of playing that nasty character?

Cole:Not a very nice person is the understatement of the year; this person could qualify as one of the worst people on the planet! Because of that you really have to tap into another mindset altogether. I've never found myself to be a method actor where I stay in character on and off set throughout the duration of the shoot, so I really had to snap in and out of this horrible human fairly quickly. I had a process where about 10 or 15 minutes before we would roll cameras I would dive completely into this character's mindset; who he hates, why he hates, certain mannerisms, etc. Then we would shoot the take and I would snap out of it. It did take me a few minutes to get out of that headspace on each scene however because of how sinister Robillard is. There was one scene I remember screaming at the top of my lungs when we wrapped because I just had so much anger built up for an hour or so. You have to get it out somehow! Hopefully no one thought I was crazy.

Did you work with Ryan, the director, at all in terms of character development or did you just follow the script?

Cole:Oh, absolutely. Ryan is the main reason the character is what it is on screen. We met before filming began to discuss what makes Robillard tick and what kind of a person this guy is, inside and out. On set it was all the same. He got me to a point where every time I looked at Steven who played Michael I would absolutely hate him. On set, of course! Steven is one of my all-time favorite people. The only thing I can think of that I picked up on my own was the horrible look and scowl I give throughout the majority of the film. Beth Levy Nelson, the co-writer and producer of the film, calls it the "stink face." But again, the only reason I was able to get there was because Ryan put me in the right headspace.

Your character catches on fire in a sequence that is pretty graphic to say the least. How long did you have to be in hair/makeup for that?

Cole:That was a blast to shoot. Being in the makeup chair for it? Not so much. That took around 2 hours I believe to achieve that look. But how awesome did that look? Greg Nelson who did my makeup for that scene is an Oscar nominee for a reason. He made me look terrifying! I keep saying I want that to be my new headshot. I think casting directors would respond really well to it, don't you?

How long did it take to shoot that fire scene? Did anything funny happen while filming it?

Cole:That scene took I want to say about an hour or so? Pretty standard. But what was not standard was how many times people failed to throw eggnog on me. In the scene my character gets doused with eggnog, electrocuted and set ablaze. But people just could not get the perfect amount of it on my face for the shot. I believe there were four or five total attempts to just get eggnog on my face. It became pretty hilarious by the third attempt. Side note... because of this movie I am now scarred from eggnog and will never drink it again. That is an actual fact.

Has there been a horror movie in the past few years that you have particularly enjoyed?

Cole:Off the top of my head I can think of two movies that were fantastic in recent years. One was "Get Out". That movie was executed SO well all across the board; it had no crazy tricks or scary voices or faces, and yet it still absolutely terrified you because of the situations. The other one is "The Babadook." If you are a fan of horror movies and haven't seen that movie, see it now! Or don't... because that one might keep you sleeping with the lights on tonight.


SEASON'S BLEEDINGS! "Mercy Christmas" is now available for watch on iTunes!

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