Paying his dues the old fashioned way, Dan Lantz has been in the entertainment industry since 1990 and has been a PA, Grip, Props, Camera, DP, and Editor before becoming a Writer, Producer, and Director. His latest film is Bloodrunners, a vampire story set in Prohibition Era America. Wanting to learn more about this film and his career, Lantz allowed me to interview him for ScifiPulse.
Nicholas Yanes: Growing up, when did you know that you wanted to have a career in film production?
Dan Lantz: I read a paperback book on how they made the movie Empire Strikes Back – 300 plus pages – so much detail. After that, I read every single “Making of” magazine and book I could get my hands on.
Yanes: Was there a specific movie or show that you think pushed you the most in this direction?
Lantz: Richard Rush made a movie called “The Stuntman” in 1980. I idolized Peter O’Toole’s character in that movie – he was a larger than life, almost god-like movie director.
Yanes: You have worked from being a P.A. and Grip to the being a Writer and Director. What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered along the way?
Lantz: Gatekeepers have been the biggest obstacles. This industry is filled with self-important individuals who are more interested in flaunting their tiny bit of influence more than actually making movies. The funniest thing about these people is that after they make your life a living hell, they insist on being added to the end credits of your movie!!!
Yanes: Mixing vampires into the Prohibition Era is brilliant. What was the inspiration behind creating Bloodrunners?
Lantz: My buddy has an old farmhouse that I thought would make a great location for a prohibition movie. As a result, I was tossing around all kinds of movie ideas for bootlegging or gangsters, but the lighting bolt struck when I saw the parallels between the lifestyles of moonshiners and vampires. The bootleggers would operate at night, have secret “lairs” called speakeasies, and trade in a forbidden liquid, alcohol. Rumrunning quickly became Bloodrunning
Yanes: When crafting the vampires for this movie, which type of vampires did you want them to be? Specifically, did you turn to a classic story to decide what type of vampires you’d have in this film?
Lantz: The movie is more of a mystery/thriller than straight up horror. The vampires are a catalyst for the story, but not the story itself. As a result, I wanted to stay as true to “official” vampire lore as possible – no sparkles, or exploding bodies, or day-walkers. I wanted to drop known vampire “breadcrumbs” along the way for the savvy audience member to find.
Yanes: The movie looks like everyone on set had a great time making this movie. Are there any behind the scenes stories you could share about life on the set?
Lantz: Well, this is kind of crude, but one of the cast members had a habit of farting frequently and loudly, but whenever he did it, he would say “Diego Did It”. Poor Diego was our on-set photographer and completely innocent of all charges. Eventually however, the ENTIRE cast and crew was letting loose and all saying “Diego Did It”.
Yanes: On this note, how was it working with Ice-T?
Lantz: He instantly meshed with the cast and worked as hard as everyone else – if not harder since he had little time to prepare. With the music, reality shows and social media, you tend to forget how good an actor he truly is. He gave 100% for every take and set the standard for all the cast to follow.
Yanes: Bloodrunners was filmed in areas of Pennsylvania that are typically overlooked. What were some of the reasons you picked these places to shoot?
Lantz: The CARS were the biggest factor in all exterior locations. The cars cannot be driven long distances at night – and most of the movie is at night (or we wrap at sunset). Otherwise, we would have to trailer the cars to location and that is very costly. Fortunately, there was a perfect small town nearby called Souderton that worked great for the period.
Yanes: When people finish watching Bloodrunners, what do you hope they take away from the film?
Lantz: I hope they had fun! The movie is a slow burn with a satisfying pay-off at the end. Microwave some popcorn, grab a beer (or moonshine), chill on the couch and enjoy!
Yanes: Finally, what are some other projects you are working on that people can look forward to?
Lantz: My next movie is an action adventure with medieval knights who have magic powers… pretty ambitious.