Interview - William Jarand

The Children of Samhain Exclusive:

The Pinup Dolls on Ice Interviews - Part Eight with Willam Jarand (Moe)

If you haven't heard me raving about Geoff Klein and Melissa Mira's sexy homage to the slasher genre, Pinup Dolls on Ice, then you've been living under a rock. And if you haven't been following my nine part series of interviews with the directors, cast and writer, then you've been missing out. After I gave the film a stellar review (that you can read here) in which I describe the film as 'A cross between a traditional slasher movie and a drunken night at Jumbo's Clown Room… that works like a charm.' I jumped at the chance to speak with the people behind making such a brutal old school slasher. I would like to personally thank each and everyone who took the time to answer my questions, and a special shout out to directors Geoff Klein and Melissa Mira who just returned from Madrid attending Nocturna, Festival Internacional de Cine Fantástico, where they screened the film. So here we go. First we featured writer Michael Penning in Part One. Then we featured Karine Kerr in Part Two, Jordan Mae Antoinette in Part Three, Kyla Shinkewski in Part Four, Ashley Almon in Part Five, Geoff Klein in Part Six, and last week featured Melissa Mira in Part Seven. So here is The Children of Samhain's Pinup Dolls On Ice Interviews: Part Eight featuring William Jarand (Moe). ***We have something special planned for Week Nine, so stay tuned….***

Leo Francis: Moe never even really utters a word, but instead grunts and screams like some sort of wild animal. Where did the inspiration for the Moe character you've given life to come from? How much of the character was written and how much did you add to it? Is there a particular villain or actor that you were influenced by? 

William Jarand: I arrived early for the audition and was waiting outside when the producers and casting director arrived.  We entered the building together, wondering who was who, and started a conversation about the film.  Geoff Klein confessed later that he couldn’t figure out which character I was there to audition for because of my straightforward casual attitude, maybe I worked for the agency?  When he called my name I entered and instantly transformed into the gruesome Moe before his eyes.  Guess he was always lurking inside of me.  After he offered me the part I started to think about the utter lack of compassion and emotion, the desire for destruction and chaos that filled up Moe’s empty soul. We agreed that I would do everything I could to freak out the other actors and crew while on set.  I spoke to no one, I stared at the actresses both in and out of costume, hyperventilated while pacing like a caged animal, and when Geoff called ‘action!’ the reign of terror began.  

LF: You've played the bad guy, Moe, in both Bikini Girls on Ice and Pinup Dolls on Ice. Those seem to be your only acting credits, is Moe the only role you've ever played? Did you study acting and how did you come to be involved with this film? Is there room for another chapter in the series for Moe? 

WJ: As a kid my friends and I made a lot of movies with a Super 8 camera.  We made Ninja films, stop-motion model car films, war films, anything really.  I then started acting in High School and later at the Black Hole Theatre at the University of Manitoba.  Then on to Fringe Festivals and a few short films. (Here's an example) Here in Quebec, I am fortunate to live in a very artistic community and have performed in dozens of amateur and professional theatrical productions, written and produced three musicals, and have directed, designed and built sets, including lighting and sound design.  This passion developed into a job and now I am a High school teacher of both Music and Drama.  It has been challenging to incorporate the hectic life of a teacher with the crazy life of an actor but it’s been a lot of fun too!  On the first film I was painting a huge mural on the side of a bank in Cowansville, Quebec forty hours a week and then shooting BGOI Fri., Sat., Sun. from 12 a.m. until 4/5 in the morning. Brutal! And yes, I understand the films are meant to be a trilogy.

LF: What's it like constantly working with the ice? Does it make for unpleasant filming conditions occasionally or have you gotten used to it? 

WJ: There were many incredibly cold nights and mornings for the actors. October in Canada can be super cold especially when you have to jump in the Saint Lawrence River at three in the morning! The ice we used was actually fake.  This is a bit of movie magic employed by the props department. The plastic ‘ice cubes’ are easier to manipulate and they don’t melt!

LF: There were so many amazing death scenes in Pinup Dolls on Ice. Do you have a particular favorite? How is it filming those scenes? Did any of you perform your own stunts or were there stunt performers? Did you sustain any injuries while filming?

WJ: As an actor, you want everything to be authentic for your audience. I immersed myself in the void that is Moe and became the killing machine that everyone expects to see in the films. None of these scenes are ranked in order of best to worst – each death scene is an improvisational masterpiece by Moe using what he has at that moment in time to succeed in his horrifying quest of utter destruction for all who cross his path.  No stunt performers, we did it all – and had the bruises to show for it!

LF: Do you play violin (or viola - it's hard to tell from your profile pic)? How long have you been playing? Who are some of your musical inspirations? Have you ever done any composing for film? 

WJ: I play a variety of instruments including guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, piano, alto sax, trumpet, violin, bohdran, sing, and dabble in just about everything else.  I’m crazy for all kinds of music and love the Canadian music scene right now.  I am constantly writing and recording music and hope to one day get serious enough to put the good stuff onto a CD. I asked Geoff if he was lacking any music for the latest film and he said that he needed one song for a certain scene but hadn’t found it yet.  I said I would write and record something and get it to him asap.  He said great and I went to work.  A few days later I sent him the song.  He said ‘cool’ but it didn’t fit the scene.  So I asked more questions and went back to the drawing board.  I wrote a new song, recorded all the instruments, and had my wife (and singer) Sheila McManus sing the lead and backing vocals. Geoff loved it and it’s playing in the film while Suzi’s character cleans up the bar.  It’s called D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself)

LF: Do you have any immediate plans to expand your acting resume? Would you ever consider doing something other than playing the bad guy in a horror film? 

WJ: Of course! Contact me on Facebook! LOL. I just wrapped a film shot in the Eastern Townships called ‘Lustre’.  I play a detective who mishandles a sting operation on a scum bag arms dealer. 

LF: Have you always been a fan of the genre? What was the first horror film you ever saw that left an impression on you? What draws you to the genre?

WJ: Scariest film was ‘The Exorcist’.  I was twelve or thirteen on a skiing trip and it was on pay per view.  No parents, late at night, lights off – absolutely terrifying.  Actually, I’m not a big fan of the genre and going to festivals to premiere our film has shown me the world of horror filmmaking.  I just love anything that promotes and involves being creative.  Films, music, visual art, theatre, costumes – whatever!  Making things from idea to finished product is good for the soul and energizes your life.

LF: What scares you? We're all scared of war and disease and things like that. But when it comes to horror films, what genuinely scares you? 

WJ: A familiar place, in the dark, and something tells you that everything is not okay.  Yikes!  I like the suspense, the edge of your seat waiting for the scare.  If a film can engage my imagination to fill in the blanks with my own internal sense of terror then I like it.  I don’t want to be constantly bombarded with something gruesome or disgusting, I want to always be walking the razor’s edge of screaming like a little boy.

LF: Name a film you walked out of at the theater.  

WJ: Can’t.

LF: If you could punch one person in the face, who would it be? 

WJ: I choose compassion over violence. (strange comment coming form a psychopathic killer!)   If someone is so ignorant, abusive, hateful or poisonous that they deserve a punch in the face I usually just steer clear. 

LF: Has anyone ever made you feel 'star-struck'?

WJ: I was teaching at an elementary school in Ottawa during their annual Literary festival.  My associate teacher mentioned that a guest author would arrive the next day to speak to the school.  It turned out to be Dave Bidini the guitarist from one of my favorite bands – The Rheostatics.  The next day I was way more excited than the kids to meet him!

LF: What's your favorite horror film of all time and / or the scariest movie you've ever seen? 

WJ: Well it’s a toss up.  Bikini Girls on Ice or Pinup Dolls on Ice!!!!!!

LF: Well said. Cheers!


- Leo Francis