The Movie Waffler Interview - PAINTBALL MASSACRE Star Joe Hallett | The Movie Waffler

Interview - PAINTBALL MASSACRE Star Joe Hallett

paintball massacre
Actor/producer Joe Hallett discusses his new thriller.

In Uncork’d Entertainment’s Paintball Massacre, old school friends go on a paintball trip, miles away from civilisation. Things go horribly wrong when they discover a cold-blooded masked killer is among them. Now they must fight to survive their school reunion.

We spoke to Joe Hallett, star and producer, about the film, horror and the late Sean Connery.

paintball massacre

Where’s home for you?

North Cadbury, Somerset in England is where I am very proud to call home.


And are the family involved in the biz at all?

No, I am the first ever family member to work within the industry. However, I don’t think I will be the last now, my cousin is very talented in acting and singing so when she is older I wouldn’t be surprised if she goes down the arts route.


What kind of films were you raised on?

I grew up watching all the action films my parents would allow me to watch. I am a huge James Bond fan in particular; by the time I was 10 I could name all the actors who played in which film, where they were shot, who sang the theme song, who was the villain, everything. I couldn’t get enough of Bond movies and still love them to this day. Sadly we lost my favourite recently. RIP Sean Connery.


Being a martial-artist, I imagine you were a big action movie fan as a youngster?

Oh that is an understatement. I lived and breathed Martial Arts action films. I loved everything Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Sammu Hung, Jet Li and Donnie Yen put out. I would watch them and then try and imitate the moves and fight scenes in my living room. Quite often breaking furniture in the process, which never pleased my mum.


Who is the ‘real deal’ when it comes to action movie stars?

Hands down in my eyes it has to be Jackie Chan. He has been a pioneer of Hong Kong style action for years and set the trend of doing the stunts for real. He most certainly earned that Oscar. However, after working with him on a number of projects, one Birmingham born Brit is really kicking ass these days and that is Scott Adkins. After being kicked in the chest by him during numerous takes on Green Street 3 you know he has got skills.


Back in the day, less probably ‘faked it’ I imagine?

100%. Sadly these days with the amount of technology at our finger tips, we can green screen and add so many visual effects to make a fight look more brutal and real. Back in the day you did not have that luxury so most of what you saw on camera was done for real and stunt men did get hurt. Just watch the documentary Jackie Chan: My Stunts. Nowadays filmmakers do need to realise that the audience aren’t that dumb and they can still tell if it's real or not. I am a huge fan of practical effects, hence on Paintball Massacre everything was done for real including the full body burn, conducted by world renowned stunt coordinator Peter Pedrero and stunt man Freddie Mason. Everything was done for real on Paintball Massacre. We did add some extra visuals only to enhance some of the scenes. The fire burn, drowning, crucifixion, finale fight scene all were real, shot on location and with no doubles I might add. The actors were phenomenal. They picked up the movements quickly and literally threw themselves into it. Obviously everyone was safe with body armour and safety matting. We shot the paintball montages during pick ups and that was a lot of fun shooting each other at pretty much point blank range, which did result in a number of tasty bruises.


And I imagine you oversaw most of those moments?

Yes I oversaw all the action sequences and fight choreographed the final fight. I also acted as the armourer for the paintball equipment ensuring everyone was safe at all times. Strangely there were only two times we actually shot the guns during principle photography, one was when The Killer, played by the almighty Ian Virgo from Black Hawk Down, attacks Matt Wilson played by his friend Ryan Winsley, and Ryan took those paintball hits like a man. The other occasion was when I had to test my accuracy hitting a tree while an actor stood next to it; if I was centimetres off she would have been blinded.


Did you always intend on playing a character yourself?

While developing the film, I always had in my head to take one of the smaller roles. I never intended to take a large role, as a first time producer of a feature film that would be career suicide. I knew I needed to spread myself across the two roles as an actor and producer so did not want to bite off too much more than I could chew. Initially I was to take the role of Ben Hayes the estate agent, however quite late in the day in pre-production we switched roles and I ended up playing Aiden Jones and the fabulous Nathan Clough played Ben, he nailed the character perfectly. I am so happy this decision was made as it cut my acting days in half and I was able to focus on my producing duties which were far more than I ever anticipated them to be.


Do you think it helps to be a fan of the genre to be involved in a project like this?

There is no doubt about it, if you are a fan of the genre that you are making it is a huge plus, as you already know what a film fan will want to see and how it should be presented to them. Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to stretch yourself and try something new, however never go into the unknown without researching your source material and getting an understanding of what you are about to embark on.


And do you naturally gravitate towards this sort of movie?

Actually I have done the complete opposite with Paintball Massacre, which has really shocked people. As a Martial Artist and known for my action film roles, to then go and produce and star in a Horror comedy is quite bizarre. I wouldn’t say I am a huge horror fan or paintball enthusiast, however this project came up, sounded a lot of fun and the timing was right. However my next project I am developing is going back into the genre of action thriller. I would love to actually film a full blown comedy and a Christmas movie one day, why not?


Is there a moment in it you’re especially thrilled with?

The final fight is something I am really proud of for a number of reasons. The morning of the shoot I was told that one of the actors was required to be in London that afternoon so we had only the morning to rehearse and shoot the end fight scene. This was a huge task, however I took it as a challenge and got it done in under two hours. The actors, who had no real Martial Arts background, picked everything up, also gave their own input and we smashed it out of the park. Every time I watch the fight it gives me goosebumps.


So if they were going to show a particular scene at an awards ceremony, which one would you ask them to run? That one?

There is one scene that is a real pinnacle, when one of the characters who you honestly believe will survive to the end gets killed; we really went Game Of Thrones on it. There is a slow burn in the scene. You know something is going to happen and when it does, it doesn’t disappoint, finishing off with a beautiful line written by our writer Chris Regan “He was so sure!” I will leave it there as I don’t want to spoil it for everyone.


Horror-nut question – favourite kill?

There are so many great deaths especially in the Final Destination series. However one that sticks in my mind and is a great opening sequence to the film Ghost Ship, where the wire snaps and cuts through everyone on the ship. It is so utterly grim while being strangely satisfying at the same time. The expressions on their faces before their bodies topple over is pure class and the girl’s face while it all happens around her is cinematic genius. Plus the sound design is beautifully done.


What’s the perfect food to eat while watching it?

If it lands on my cheat day it would have to be Salted Caramel flavoured popcorn or a cheeky bag of Malteasers with a lovely ice cold Somerset Cider.

Paintball Massacre is on US DVD/Digital from December 15th. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.