In an exclusive interview with Flickering Myth about his new film Shut In, executive producer Tommy Vlahopoulos sits down with Senior Staff Writer Scott Davis to discuss the film (which had a successful run at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is screened on June 12th at the L.A. Film Festival) and his aspirations as a producer in Hollywood.
Scott Davis: Congratulations on the completion of Shut In. How did you first become involved with financing films in Hollywood?
Tommy Vlahopoulos: Thank you! We are very excited for everyone to see it. It’s interesting as I have always, not only loved films, but I have equally enjoyed starting new businesses ventures and watching them grow.
SD: Have you always wanted to Executive Produce films, or did you happen to fall into it and think of it as a good investment?
TV: I did not always want to be an Executive Producer, but when the opportunity came to me, I gave it the green light. It felt like the right time for me to get involved in the entertainment business.
SD: You have linked up with Producer Jeff Rice for Shut In. Has he given you any advice with producing films in the future?
TV: Jeff Rice is a well-seasoned Hollywood Producer. He has helped navigate me through the film business in a way that I truly believe is invaluable. It has been an experience in itself. I plan to continue to work with him on future film projects.
SD: What was it about Shut In that made you want to get involved? What can you tell us about the film?
TV: I was sent the project by Matthew Lamothe, a producer at Jeff Rice films. When I first read the script, I honestly could not put it down. That was a great sign. I thought to myself, I have never read anything like this – the thriller aspect of the story combined with the unexpected twists in the plot made it special…something that I had never seen before. I was hooked!
Shut In is a psychological thriller about a woman, played by Beth Riesgraf, who suffers from acute agoraphobia. When a trio of criminals breaks into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. However, what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.
SD: Were you involved in the casting process for the film?
TV: Yes I was very much involved, and I must say that I am very happy with everyone’s work. Cast we have, Beth Riesgraf (TNT’s Leverage) and Jack Kesey (Guillermo del Torro’s The Strain), Rory Culkin (Scream 4), Martin Starr (Veronica Mars movie) and Jack Kesy (Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain).
SD: Are there any of Hollywood’s current community who you have looked up to in terms of producing films, like Jason Blum who has made quite the name for himself?
TV: I admire the success of countless film producers, including Jason Blum. I was very fortunate to have been able to produce Shut In with Steven Schneider, who produced Insidious and Paranormal Activity with Jason.
SD: Do you see yourself working in the horror genre from here on out, or do you want to try a bit of everything?
TV: For me the genre doesn’t matter as it is all about the script. A good script makes the movie, and as long as I have a good team of filmmakers around me who are confident in the material, we’ll green light it to be made!
SD: What’s next for you, any exciting new projects coming down the pipe?
TV: I can’t really talk about my next project right now, but rest assured I am very excited!
SD: Are there any actors or directors in Hollywood you would like to work with?
TV: I would love to work with Tom Hardy and Tom Hanks and as for a Director; I would have to say James Wan.
SD: Finally, what would be your dreams for five/ten years from now within Hollywood?
TV: My ten-year dream would be to still be happy, healthy and continue to be making feature films that people enjoy to watch at the movie theatre and at home.
SD: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me for Flickering Myth Tommy; we are excited to see Shut In.
TV: Thank you – I hope you don’t get too scared!
Shut In is set for release sometime in the later half of 2015 and stars Martin Starr (Silicon Valley), Rory Culkin (Scream 4) and Beth Riesgraf (Criminal Minds). Adam Schindler makes his feature directorial debut with the film.
Our thanks to Liz Rodriguez and the team at EMR MEdia for setting up the interview, and to Tommy Vlahopoulos for taking the time to chat to us.