On Thursday October 19th, the Regal Essex Crossing and RPX Theater, in New York City, hosted a private screening for the upcoming suspense thriller Countdown, written and directed by Justin Dec.
The film stars Elizbeth Lail, who plays a nurse who downloads an app that is supposed to predict that exact time she will die. When the app reveals that she only has three days to live, she restlessly searches for a way to save her life. Countdown will be released in theaters on October 25th.
After the screening, we had the chance to briefly interview two of the stars of the film. Tichina Arnold and Jordan Calloway both discuss their experience working on the film.
The Knockturnal: As someone who is extremely well known for your comedic roles, I was wondering what drew you toward this film, considering it is a horror movie?
Tichina Arnold: Well, because I’ve never done a horror flick, other than Little Shop of Horrors, which is a comedy horror, I jumped at the opportunity. I’m a weirdo, when I watch TV. I like ghost stories, I’m kind of on the dark side of stuff like that. It’s one of the only genres of the industry that keeps me intrigued. I always wanted to be in a horror film but just didn’t know in what capacity.
The Knockturnal: What was your experience like shooting on this film compared to your more comedic roles?
Tichina Arnold: It was very easy and fun and everybody was really cool. It was relaxed. It was very chill for some reason. Everyone was just laid back because a lot of the storyline for me takes place in the hospital. So I didn’t have to see or be a part of the whole gory part of it but it was really nice. A very pleasant experience working on this film.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working specifically with the director?
Tichina Arnold: He’s a sweetheart. He really helped me accept that this was a different kind of film. So he made it easier for me to make that transition. There wasn’t a whole lot of funny for me to do and I kind of liked playing more of a straight kind of character because I haven’t done it a lot.
The Knockturnal: I really like the part with Dr. Sullivan. I thought it was very current and meaningful to include his storyline about the sexual assault. What are you hoping viewers will take away from this aspect of the film?
Tichina Arnolds: I thought it was interesting and very progressive that this film did put that subject matter in it which was cool because it’s something that a lot of women and men have to deal with on a regular basis. So for them to incorporate that into a horror film was also a plus because whenever we can get out the word on women’s issues. Or really any humane issues that we can talk about and deal with and put in mainstream media through the industry and through television and film: yes of course by all means. It’s always wonderful to be part of something that is moving in a positive direction and yet can entertain people.
The Knockturnal: On a lighter note, if the countdown app were real do you think you would download it, without knowing what the app has the potential to do to you?
Tichina Arnolds: Hell no. I watch too much horror so I would never download anything like that. I like watching ghosts on TV but actually seeing a ghost in real life no thank you. I’m more of a voyeur.
The Knockturnal: What was the process like being cast in this film and is this your first horror role?
Jordan Calloway: Well this is actually my first feature film on the big screen. So when the opportunity presented itself obviously it was a big shot and you want to land it. As it came to the genre, I’ve done horror before in previous projects that I’ve done. When I got into the room with Justin, and John and Sean and some of the other writers I realized this wasn’t just going to be a scary film but it actually had a really cool story to it. It had a great concept with it as well as some humor to it as well. So I was very excited when they presented me the opportunity.
The Knockturnal: When you we’re actually on set did you find yourself getting scared while filming?
Jordan Calloway: You know it’s funny when you start to do it kind of takes it away. I’m not a big fan of scary movies actually but when I was working on the film I kind of just settled into it. You got to see what the monsters look like. You really grow to have an appreciation for all of the different departments: the special effects, the stunts and you see how they rig different things. The costume and the makeup, definitely the makeup because they killed it. So when that happens it kind of takes the fear out of it. But it was fun none the less.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working with the director, Justin Dec?
Jordan Calloway: I believe this was his first actual scary film big feature as well. Justin was great. He was an absolute gem to work with. He’s very personable and he allowed us to have the space that we needed in order to play into the fear, play into the drama, play all of the different colors of the film. He articulated everything very well. It was great to have him on the set but also to see him work with Sean and John as they were giving him suggestions and advice. It was really cool to see how behind the camera everyone was very cohesive as a unit.
The Knockturnal: You mentioned you’re not a big fan of scary movies what was it like seeing the film for the first time?
Jordan Calloway: Well, fun fact I have not seen the film yet. I’ve been on location filming. But I hear it’s been good. So here’s to having my fingers crossed still that everyone enjoys it. For me, my horror film interest kind of died when my brother and my older cousin locked me in the room to watch It, the old version back when I was six years old. Oddly enough I actually went to go see the second one with my family, and we saw the trailer for Countdown. So that was a nice treat to share with them, especially it being the first feature film that I’ve done.
The Knockturnal: Are you looking to remain working in film now or to go back to television?
Jordan Calloway: The thing about it is I totally love all aspects of the entertainment industry whether it’s film or television or even theatrical. I just have a blast being able to take on different roles, take on different challenges, and just entertain. It’s a lot of fun. I would love to keep doing more features, as well as television, and eventually maybe go back and check out theatrical theater as well.