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|Eddie Van Helsing||Malcolm McDowell|
|Jennifer/Bass Guitar||Jessica Paré|
|Bar maid||Calico Cooper|
|Joey/Singer The Winners||Rob Stefaniuk|
|Rockin' Roger||Henry Rollins|
|Club Bouncer||Carole Pope|
|Jeff/Winners Manager||Dave Foley|
|Hugo the roadie||Chris Ratz|
|Border Guard||Alex Lifeson|
Directed & Written by Rob Stefaniuk
A body well-worn, a soul that still rocks
Guy Dixon | Globe and Mail 1/9/09
Iggy Pop is looking at a life change. As he ambled through the dark film set, over clustered power cables, he is obviously no longer the jagged, angular performer he once was. He has already long been drawn to quieter and more varied pursuits, which was partly the reason he took a supporting part in Toronto actor-director Rob Stefaniuk's forthcoming vampire comedy Suck. “I'm not up for many wild adventures at this point. Not at all,” he said with a smile in his deep, gravel-chewing drawl. And even though his immediately recognizable mug looks a little out of place on a $3-million Toronto-shot comedy, he was one of the first in a coterie of musicians, from Alice Cooper to Moby and Henry Rollins, to accept supporting parts in the film.
Is acting, then, the remaining creative phase for Pop? What's left after decades as garage-rock, proto-punk's icon No. 1? “Okay, there are two parts to that,” he said, settling into his folding, movie-star chair. “I have nothing left to say.” Big laughs all around. “And I like to react,” he added with sudden, turn-on-a-dime seriousness. Pop was on tour in Russia when he received a copy of the script for Suck, about an aging rock band with vampires in its midst. Pop, utterly unfazed while filming his scenes, deadpanned his lines through various takes.
One of the film's producers, Jeff Rogers, who has had a career in promoting and managing rock acts such as Crash Test Dummies and Randy Bachman, knew Pop's manager. They then sent Pop an e-mail and a script in October. Rogers had also worked with Moby on the Grammy-nominated Moby: Play - The DVD, hence that connection. Another of the film's stars, veteran actor Malcolm McDowell, knew Cooper, and so one connection fed off another. But once Iggy came on board, it became easier to get the other musicians, according to Stefaniuk.“ At the time, I totally thought it was a crazy long shot, that we weren't going to get him. But he read the script and decided to do it,” Stefaniuk said. “We just thought it would be cooler, rather than to get one major actor person, to hire musicians to be the actors. There's no compromise there: It's perfect for the film. It's what we always wanted to do. When I wrote the script, I wrote in rock cameos for these parts.” The plan is to have the film ready in time to submit to this year's Toronto International Film Festival, where Stefaniuk's previous comedy Phil the Alien premiered in 2004, and then for a theatrical release in the fall. “I was looking for something conversational, mainly verbal and anti-physical,” Pop said during a break in filming. “It was not the first vampire movie I've been asked to do, but the others had me climbing chain-link fences – you know, eating barbed wire, violently killing my victims, that sort of thing. That wasn't really going to do anything for me in terms of what I want from being in a film.”
First set report on Suck
by Michael Rowe 12/18/08
“Chicks dig me,” sneers Beef (Moby), the shaven-headed self-proclaimed “biggest rock star in Buffalo” as he pushes aside Hugo (Chris Ratz), the spindly roadie for down-and-out rock band The Winners. Marching to his doom down a filthy corridor leading to the dimly lit motel room where the cold white embrace of Jennifer (Jessica Paré), The Winners’ incandescently beautiful bass player, awaits him, Beef will find that while chicks may dig him, this one will love him to death.
This week, filming will wrap on the Toronto set of Capri Films’ Suck, with Fango having enjoyed unprecedented access, totaling 17 days of the 20-day shoot. Writer/director Rob Stefaniuk, who also stars as the band’s frontman Joey, hopes to bypass the curse of “vampire rock star” genre clichés with a witty flick that is unequivocally a rock-and-roll movie with vampires, rather than a more stock-in-trade vampire movie with rock-and-roll. Rounding out the lead cast with Canadian actors Mike Lobel and Paul Anthony (who join Paré and Ratz to play the band), also stars Malcolm McDowell as vampire slayer Eddie Van Helsing, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coates as immortal predator Queenie, who changes The Winners’ lives forever with his bite, and Dave Foley as the group’s archetypically sleazy manager. Firmly anchoring the film in the horror genre without reservation are makeup artists Jordan Samuel and Colin Penman, from Saw V and the as-yet officially untitled new George A. Romero zombie opus.
Further separating Suck from the current crop of dewy, post-adolescent romantic Twilight-hour vampire fare is a storm of cameos by classic rock stars, also including Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Carole Pope of Rough Trade and Alex Lifeson of Rush. And for the first time ever, Cooper will appear opposite his daughter, dancer Calico Cooper, who plays a barmaid. “I love the mixture of horror and humor,” says Cooper, who stops just short of calling Stefaniuk a genius in this specific area. “And what’s cooler than a vampire?” Adds Lobel, “Rob’s omniscient.” He notes that there are pieces of Stefaniuk (also a musician, and co-author, with John Kastner, of seven of the film’s 11 original tracks) in every one of the characters. “I love the fact that this is a rock-and-roll road movie.”
All of the musicians claim to have been drawn to the wit of Sefaniuk’s script and its not-too-subtle parallels between the wretched life of a couch-surfing rock band, who roam the night in search of fame in bars that stink of beer and cigarette smoke, and the eternal night of the vampire, who roams the night in search of blood. At The Winners’ level, the line between predator (either bloodsucking monsters who take 10 percent of nothing in the form of agent fees, or vampires) and prey is, at best, nebulous. Suck, produced by Robin Crumley, Jeff Rodgers and Victoria Hirst and executive-produced by Gabriella Martinelli, is slated for release in the fall of 2009.
Moby Sucks it Up
Rolling Stone 12/18/08
The scene: a seedy strip motel in the middle of nowhere. Beef Bellows, a bald man in a long leather coat and a broad sneer is making some moves on a statuesque Goth chick. “You smell so good,” she says, her dead eyes sizing him up. Unfortunately for Beef - and for Baby Beef, as he calls his member - the young lady’s pallor is a matter of function, not fashion. She’s a vampire.
Welcome to Suck, the brainchild of writer-director-star Rob Stefaniuk. It’s the story of an aspiring rock band who don’t have soul, or rather souls (apologies to Brandon Flowers). They have traded them for a chance to become famous. The film’s producer, Jeff Rogers, a former executive with V2 Records, has lured a number of persons who may or may not have struck a similar bargain in real life - Vincent Damon Furnier, James Newell Osterberg, Jr. — to play roles in the film. The former (Alice Cooper) will play the uber vampire, the latter (Iggy Pop) portrays a record company executive.
Henry Rollins is also involved, as a Howard Stern-like shock jock, as well as Alex Lifeson of Rush, Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides and Canada’s own punk sweetheart Carole Pope. There are some actual actors: a certain Malcolm McDowell plays Eddie the Vampire Killer. But perhaps the most surprising cast member is Robert Melville Hall as Beef, the frontman of the Secretaries of Steak, a protein-fueled punk band whose fanatical followers show their appreciation by bombarding them with chunks of meat. The artist known as Moby is as famous for his vegan lifestyle and animal-rights activism. The meat is foam rubber, the blood is raspberry syrup, the leather trench coat is synthetic, the “USDA approved” meat stamp on his neck is a stencil…but on camera he’s just plain mean. “I’m making a specialty of playing douche bags,” says Moby, during a break. He played one in the film Pittsburgh opposite Jeff Goldblum. “I could spend the rest of my career perfecting the douche bag. It’s the journey not the destination.”
When Moby lets rip, stand back. “I knew he could do it,” says Rogers. “But he is exceeding all expectations.”
“I only have 45 words,” admits Moby. “But they are 45 important words. Then I get eaten.”
Blood, guts and rock 'n' roll
Bruce DeMara | The Star 12/5/08
Suck – the title of his second feature film – has just wrapped up three days of principal shooting at downtown nightclub the Big Bop, at Queen and Bathurst Sts., and the baby-faced Stefaniuk is in ruddy good humor. "What else can you call a vampire rock 'n' roll movie?" Stefaniuk asked between takes. Of course, with a title that almost dares movie reviewers to bare their fangs, Stefaniuk and producer Robin Crumley are expecting their share of blood-chilling reviews. "I keep saying to people that'll be the review: 'It does'. I think I'm actually looking more forward to the bad (reviews) rather than the good ones, as long as they're from sources that aren't...too influential. I think critics will have a lot of fun with the title," added Crumley, head of Capri Vision, an offshoot of Capri Films, which is going after the youth market.
All three floors of the Queen West nightclub were redressed to play different venues on the road for the film's fictional band, The Winners, on their rise from the bottom to the top, thanks to a little help from the undead. Production designer Jim Goodall said mood is essential to any vampire film, even one that takes a comic bite out of the genre. "We wanted to make sure we caught the rock 'n' roll vibe, the vampire vibe, and the road movie vibe. That's a lot of vibes," Goodall said. So every detail is important, Goodall said, right down to the slabs of meat that get lobbed at real-life vegan Moby, who plays Beef Bellow, head of rival band The Secretaries of Steak. That meant constructing a veritable faux side of beef from latex rubber and foam, dripping with fake blood.
The cast is largely Canadian, including star Jessica Paré (who learned to play the guitar for the role), Degrassi: The Next Generation's Mike Lobel (who's been playing the drums since he was 9) and funnyman Dave Foley, who plays the band's sleazy Renfieldesque manager. "My feeling is (the film)'s really not going to work. My gut says it's just never going to work. But I don't want to bring everyone down," deadpanned Foley, who got involved through longtime friend, musician John Kastner, who co-wrote nine songs with Stefaniuk. "Vampires have never gone out of style. There've been vampire films for every generation. They actually really scared me as a kid. The idea of being turned into a vampire was very scary and appealing at the same time," Foley said.
A casting coup de grace came in the form of the venerable McDowell, who has previously worked with Capri Films head honcho Gabriella Martinelli, in the role of a would-be Van Helsing. "She (Martinelli) is a smart producer. She told me there's a very, very good script coming and I would like it – and she was right," McDowell said.
With the film headed for a pre-Halloween 2009 release date, Stefaniuk promised a "unique" take on the genre and a new look for the blood-suckers. "I'm hoping people come away from (the film) thinking it's original and yet fun and accessible. You can be arty without being pompous. So now I'm just trying not to f--- it up," he added.
The film will have it's U.S. premiere at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas the week of March 12-20. http://sxsw.com
The film will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival since that's the area the filmed it.
Shock Til You Drop 11/29/08
Filming began in Toronto on Rob Stefaniuk's vampire horror-comedy Suck this week. The production boasts an impressive cast of rockers like Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Moby, Henry Rollins, Alex Lifeson, Dimitri Coates and Carol Pope. Even Cooper's daughter, Calico, has jumped on board. Written and directed by Stefaniuk, Suck is about a group of musical wannabes in search of immortality and a record deal. The rock band The Winners have sunk so low, they will do anything to make it big. After a life-changing encounter with a vampire, they rocket to stardom only to discover that fame and fortune are not all they’re cracked up to be. Stefaniuk stars as the lead singer of The Winners, Jessica Pare plays bass and is the first band member to succumb to the blood lust. Malcolm McDowell plays a vampire hunter who is afraid of the dark and Dave Foley is the band's manager. Coates, meanwhile, is the vampire who converts the band. Pope will play a club manager, Rollins, a radio show host, and Moby, the lead singer in the rock band Secretaries of Steak. Iggy Pop plays a music producer and Calico is a bar maid alongside Alice Cooper who plays a sinister bartender who haunts the lead singer. Paul Anthony, Mike Lobel, Chris Ratz, Barbara Mamabolo and Nicole DeBoer co-star.
Production will begin in and around Toronto on Nov. 24. The executive producer credits on the Capri Films picture are shared by Gabriella Martinelli, former ThinkFilm founder and CEO Jeff Sackman, Brad Peyton, Terry Markus and Tim Brown. Equinoxe Films acquired the Canadian rights to "Suck," while Insight Film Releasing holds international rights.
Alice Cooper will join other big names in music such as Henry Rollins, Moby and Iggy Pop in a brand new vampire movie which also features Malcolm McDowell. In the film Eddie Van Helsing hunts down a band of vampires. In short, "Suck" is a Rock 'n' roll vampire satire about a group of rockstar wannabies in search of immortality and a record deal.
The film premiered at the TIFF in Toronto 11 September 11, 2009.
Iggy Pop's character was Ivan. Carole Pope was the Club manager.
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They use a shot from O Lucky Man! in the trailer to show a young Malcolm. Very sneaky.
Here is a comparison shot
Eddie Van Helsing with eyepatch and flashlight
"I've been watching dailies, it is absolutely a crowd pleaser. I expect it to be ready for theatres next fall." Dan Lyon 12/14/08
A group of musical wannabees are in search of immortality and a record deal. The rock band The Winners have sunk so low, they will do anything to make it big. After a life-changing encounter with a vampire, they rocket to stardom only to discover that fame and fortune are not all they’re cracked up to be.
Archived 2008-10 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net