A native of Pittsburg, Texas, Brie Straiton is one half of the driving force behind Hurricane Bridge Entertainment, who brought horror fans the 2016 gorefest Night of Something Strange. In that one, Brie also appeared in front of the camera in a supporting role, as did Scream Queen icon Brinke Stevens. Brie’s also active on both sides of the camera on Hurricane Bridge’s most recent production, Johnny Z, which is described as “Land of the Dead meets The Raid.”
Besides being a filmmaker and actress who is used to playing unglamours roles in her films (“I’ve got this ‘ugly girl’ role thing down!” she exclaims proudly), Brie plays the guitar and used to race cars. Learn more on the lady of Hurricane Bridge in her exclusive, and first solo, interview right here at Idol Features. All accompanying photos courtesy of Brie herself.
BRIE STRAITON: Yes. Working with Jonathan Straiton on set ….he kills me ….he absolutely kills me. I’ve been on other film sets and I’ve never seen a director so consumed moment by moment. I feel more like the “audience” on set. I watch the takes and work with the actors from the audience perspective. If lines don’t fit or we don’t feel they fit the person along with their character, we definitely play with it to bring that affect we want felt by the audience. I look at things “not from” a director or filmmaker standpoint, I watch as the audience. I think its definitely a hard thing to separate at times, being married to a filmmaker. I think he expects me to look at it from his standpoint, technical, and I look at it from the audience perception; emotions, humor, if I think its funny, or he will have me watch a clip to see what my initial reaction is and say; “That is it!” That is what I wanted the audience to see or feel. Or, he will have me watch a clip and be like; “Have you been drinking?” He always wants a very fast response and sometimes I just have to think about it or watch it several times before I can produce that. Jonathan is extremely self sufficient when it comes to his sets. He can direct, work the camera, edit, special effects, CGI, effects, he does it ALL and having those attributes make for a badass filmmaker. I trust that when he is shooting he knows what he can do and he knows what he is going for because he does his editing and post production stuff. He knows from the beginning of the storyboards to the blocking to the finished product and color correcting what he is going for. Ron Bonk generally works beside him and they are a great team. After several years of working on projects together, Ron and Jonathan flow. They correlate a lot on both of their projects and I believe Ron will not be able to spend a lot of time in Virginia for the shoot due to other projects he has working. He will be missed. We have some new crew on this set and excited to see what they bring to the table.
BRIE: Yes, I started playing when I was around 20 with my father. He had always wanted to learn how to play a guitar and so I got him one for his birthday. He tried and tried and said his fingers were too fat to play. I, of course, argued with him and he told me to try. I did and I didn’t stop.
CHRIS: You used to race cars at Thunder Valley Speed Way in Norman, Oklahoma?
BRIE: Yes, I slightly “fell” into that. I had seen the movie Fast and the Furious and I became obsessed with becoming “that girl” who drove the hot car. Little did I know, after I had gotten a hot car, that all the “girls” thought I was a “guy” and were checking me out. So, I then had custom made stickers made in pink for the car. One was a Honda sticker. All sorts of kewl, and the “O” in Honda was made to look like a retro sun. I then had a windshield visor sunscreen lined at the front windshield in pink that had “My Sunnie D” in white, layered over it. It was no secret that a girl was behind the wheel. I then started to get interested in car groups and learned there was a free race night at the Thunder Valley Speedway. I started to play there a little, but never got too terribly involved. I stopped going after numerous fights would break out and just thought; “Ehh, not my scene.” I named the car “Sunnie.” I have no idea why I named my car. It was a pearl white 1995 Honda Civic two door, with white wheels 17″ dual exhaust. I’m going to try to find a picture of that car. It was seriously HOT and LOUD. My mom would call me “bumble bee.” She said the car sounded pissed off all of the time.
CHRIS: Your first acting job was in a Doritos commercial?
CHRIS: So on to your most recent film project, Johnny Z. It’s described as “Land of the Dead meets The Raid.”
BRIE: The film is about a ninja warrior and the ones whom created him are using his blood to make a serum to save the remaining population. So he’s initially held captive. He escapes and seeks revenge on the ones who have done this to him. The shooting style is very “Jonathan Straiton.” I’ve seen several takes of the storyboards and they look phenomenal. I do not want to give too much away.
CHRIS: Where have been the shooting locations, so far?
BRIE: We have secured several shooting locations. One you can see on the Johnny Z Facebook page. I say specifically, but it is a STELLAR location! It is located in Virginia.
CHRIS: I know you’re in the film, but you said in an “ugly girl role”?
BRIE: I totally assumed I would be in an “ugly girl role” because Jonathan likes to do this to me. I have NO idea why. I think he gets a kick out of seeing me look horrendous and knowing I’m miserable on set. There is talk of a role and yes, it is the ugly girl. I believe he has me placed in “the slums” part of the movie but IT’S OKAY!! I’ve got this ugly girl role thing DOWN!! One day I can play a pretty princess (laughs).
CHRIS: Who are some of the other actresses in the film?
BRIE: Ellie Church and I’m super stoked about working with her. I believe we have another actress and this will be her first acting role. Her name is Taylor Pacelli. She will be singing one of the songs in the scenes and her voice is unbelievable. Watch out, she’s going to be a double threat.
BRIE: Yes, we have distribution in place. The details are on the Johnny Z Indiegogo page.
CHRIS: Do you plan to have an official premiere, either your own event or at a horror film festival?
BRIE: Most definitely. We have discussed the possibility of having it premiere at “Genreblast.” We also generally hold a theater premiere in the RIC (Richmond International Airport) area for our cast and crew’s viewing.
CHRIS: With that, I thank you very much for doing this, Brie. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
BRIE: All of our supporters on Indiegogo definitely deserve the shout-out. Without their support, whether it be a dollar or a hundred dollars, the thoughts to contribute really made a difference and we are so grateful. We won’t let you guys down and expect a bombshell of a flick.
CHRIS: Oh just one last question: What was it like to work with Brinke Stevens on Night of Something Strange?
BRIE: She was SUCH a joy! I did not know what to expect due to the hype of her coming. I was very nervous. She was very kind and so low maintenance and just excited to be there with us. Fantastic attitude, great smile, and I enjoyed conversations with her. Super great company from a super admired Scream Queen. Heaven ….what can I say? I’d recommend anyone who can get her on your set to do so. She was so pleasant and laid back.