On this family edition of THE INTERVUE, Noah Segan has acted in numerous genre films throughout his carer, whether its sci-fi with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, murder mystery like “Knives Out” or westerns like “The Pale Door”. Today, he steps behind the camera for the very first time with the new film Blood Relatives – premiering today on the streaming service, Shudder!
Francis, a 115-year-old Yiddish vampire, still looks 35. He’s been roaming American backroads in his beat-up muscle car for decades, keeping to himself, and liking it that way. One day, a teenage kid, Jane, shows up. She says she’s his daughter, and she’s got the fangs to prove it. They go on the road, deciding whether to sink their teeth into family life.
Yesterday, I got to sit down with Noah after a special screening at the newly minted Alamo Drafthouse Crystal City to discuss the lessons he learned at a first time director, tacking fatherhood and creating a Yiddish vampire.
Noah, welcome to The Intervue.
Hello, sure. Happy to be here with you.
So great to be here. As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m not normally a fan of horror films but this one was simply amazing. It was a horror film but of a family tale. And the first question I got ask is, how did you come up with the concept for Blood Relatives?
Well, I always loved & worked for many years on genre movies on horror films and crime movies, westerns. I just thought of every movie as a genre movie, I thought of every movie is sort of having a sandbox to play in. When I became a dad and felt compelled to talk about what that experience was like. I think I kind of needed a safe place to do it, I needed a sandbox. And it turned out that a monster movie was the perfect place to do it.
And it definitely was, it was very exciting, especially since you mentioned moments ago, that you’re now a dad. And I want to know, what was it like for you to take on different answer spectrum that you play a single dad in this film, but you became a married dad just recently.
Yeah. That’s an interesting question. Because I don’t know that I had really thought about it. In terms of, I have a partner who does most of the work. She really is, is the hero of the family. And I think, that part isn’t lost on anyone in the family, and how important my wife is. I don’t think it’s difficult to sort of envision the challenges of not having all of the wonderful aspects of, of her as a mom and as an as a partner.
Absolutely. One of the things I liked about this film is not only get to work Victoria Moroles who played your daughter Jane, but work with Tracie Thoms. She was in “Rent” and I love rent. Talk to us about working with those two actresses.
Well, I’ve known Tracy for many years. We I think this is the third movie we worked on together. I’m obviously a huge fan, as we all are. I mean, she’s a legend. And I had written this role and immediately thought of her. I called her and she answered the phone, she was in a supermarket parking lot. I started pitching or the movie over the phone and I was nervous because we’ve worked together but, it was still middle of pandemic.
I was asking her to come out to Texas, and obviously I wrote it, I wanted her to like it. I wanted her and she was like, “What’s the day? Just tell me the day”. That was truest bluest pal move and that’s exactly what she did. She came right out. And, that’s just you know, one of those old friend, heart love family moments.
And I met Vic because she had done a movie called “Plan B”. Really funny, incredible movie, but she also anchors and our producer and actor Josh Rubin is a great filmmaker in his own right. He did “Scare Me” and “Werewolves Within” two really funny, interesting genre movies. If you don’t love horror, super scary horror movies, but you love kind of the idea of a horror movie. You’ll get it from those movies as well. Anyway, Josh had done a day’s work on this movie “Plan B”. And when he and I started working to get to produce his movie, he came to me and said “you know, this is gonna sound crazy. I worked one day on this movie with this actor. And I think she might be the person” And I was like, at first “I wouldn’t be working one day. Is this your best friend? How do you get up?” And he was like, “I just watched the movie. Let’s see if she’ll take a meeting. I think she’s got your vibe. I think she’s gotten your sense of humor. I think she’s gonna like”, You know, darn it, he was right.
She and I luckily, she read the script, she liked it. And she and I became buddies over phone and Zoom. And we didn’t actually meet until two days before we shot the movie. Just open that script up and got to work on it. And Vic really set the tone for all of the performances are out there.
It’s very unique film, especially, you’ve never heard of a Yiddish vampire. How fun was it to incorporate Yiddish into the dialogue of a vampire, which it’s so out of left field, but yet for this movie, it’s so perfect.
Well, thank you. When I became a dad, I was raised very secular, but I’m a fifth generation New Yorker, fifth generation New York Jew, which is sort of its own culture, its own vibe. And, you walk around New York, you hear every language all day long, you see every culture, everybody is sort of, contrary to what everyone has heard about New York, we all live together in perfect harmony, all day.
I grew up with these phrases sort of bouncing around. And, as I looked to my kids, I sort of realized, nobody else is going to kind of let them know, about where they’re from, except me, that’s sort of my job now. And so that kind of influenced the movie. And I thought, why not lean into it and find the comedy in it? Because I think you know, there’s a great tradition amongst people who have felt like they are not like everybody else in the room, being able to sort of laugh and cry at the same time. It’s a great tool, and I thought, we can use that here.
And it’s a great added touch. So we talked about the characters talked about setting, but we cannot forget the unique character of the movie, the car, the 1969 Barracuda and actually I want to own the car after seeing it. I’ve read there’s a story behind the car that involves someone you worked with in the past. Can you tell us a little bit about that story.
So when I when I came out to Hollywood to start my attempted journey working, in the business I worked for a friend of my family was a cameraman named Tom Richmond, who was a great cameraman, he shot Keith Gordon’s movies and Alex Cox’s movies and shot very famous music videos and was really just a stalwart of punk and queer cinema have like the 80s and the 90s. Tom had this Barracuda and he drove it and he didn’t baby it. It’s not a show car. It’s a driver.
And Tom unfortunately, recently passed away but before that, he had moved back to New York, he taught he gave a lot back. And when he moved back to New York from L.A., it gave me this pink slip to the car and may take good care of it. I thought it was it was a good testament to put the car in the movie sort of as a testament to our chosen family as much as our blood family.
And that’s a great dedication. So you just directed your first film feature film? What is a lesson you will take from directing your first film that you will take to directing future films down the road?
The most important lesson was that at every opportunity, especially during shooting, especially during production, pee when you have a chance to pee. Take advantage of it because you might not get a chance like an hour later, you might really have to be.
So right before to film, we got to saw a PSA for Alamo Drafthouse involving you and director Rian Johnson and you’re getting stabbed. You’ve been involved with both “Knives Out and the sequel, Glass Onion. Talk about the great relationship you have with Rian Johnson, who was just here a few weeks ago at Middleburg.
Yeah, I mean, he’s one of my best friends and he’s incredible mentor and big brother. The lesson I think that we all learn from the first movie, he made “Brick” Whether it’s me or Joseph Gordon Levitt or Nathan Johnson, his cousin and composer, Steve Yedlin, his cinematographer, and other cameraman he works with, Ram (Bergman) his producer.
There is a laundry list of people, I’ve been there since the beginning. The lesson is when you find people that you love that you want to be with. You just got to hang on to them. Your assets together. That’s it.
“Blood Relatives” – NOW PLAYING on Shudder! Also see Noah in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out sequel” IN THEATRES NOW
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