Interview with Nicole Kruex
Nicole Kruex is best known for a career in the Horror Genre. She excelled in bringing to life strong female characters with action orientated focus and dramatic delivery. Though proficient in every genre from comedy and romance to commercial she most enjoys action, horror, and drama. Nicole has stared in over twenty projects to date with an additional thirty in varying roles. In addition to producing, directing, writing, and cinematography, Nicole is quickly acquiring vast knowledge in all aspects and functions of film creation.
Nicole, it is a pleasure to meet you. I have read a lot of bios and research people and their work for the interviews on this site but I have to tell you I am very impressed by you. Not only with your acting but the ambition and drive you put into your projects.
Tell us how Triwar films came into being?
TRIWAR began as an idea, the goal was to create a force within the indie film culture that would excel in community and production. We organized in 2007 as an official LLC on the heels of a film project I assumed was within a reasonable $2M ask that I quickly found out wasn’t as attainable as I had hoped. I discovered what Hollywood considered low budget isn’t as realistic an investment as I assumed and through trial and error I realized you had to start small and grow into “low budget” features.
What was Triwar’s first official project and how was it received?
TRIWAR’S first official project was a 1950′s throw back gunman vs. the devil short film drama titled, “The Pact”. It was for all intents and purposes… a learning disaster. Between sound issues, sketchy lighting, and a sorry excuse for writing? We had created for ourselves something I’m not sure I ever really want to see the light of day but the truth behind it is you have to live through trial and error to grow, so I should be proud of it! We never did release it publically but there is a trailer for it out there somewhere!
Tell us a little about one of your latest projects, “Discursion” which takes an interesting spin on the traditional Zombie movie.
Well, first and foremost… it’s not really a zombie movie in the traditional sense. I’ve heard it compared to 28 Days Later and it couldn’t be further from that story. The film plays out far more dramatically then the trailer let’s on… it makes for a much more though provoking product by combining the past, present, and human psyche into prolonged isolation, for that reason? I would say it’s more so a journey with monster fed elements, an “I am Legend” that focuses less on the “zombies” then it does the characters involved. It may be something that will garner an older audience looking for substance vs. the horror audience who want strictly blood and I can see some negative flack coming from that but I’m okay with it. The truth is? We finished a film. Through all of the trials and errors, we managed to complete a full length feature on a tight budget and as a reward will see it hit stores and video on demand worldwide. Is it perfect? Heck no. But it’s amazing to have it go this far and I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishment.
How hard was it to do the production work and act as well?
You have no idea. Director Mitchel A. Jones and I were the Sun and the Moon on this project. We both held camera’s, hung lights, ran sound, scheduled, catered, cast, location scouted, did make-up, etc. There were days that we had several bodies on hand to help things go faster? Then there were days where Mitch and I ran solo hoping we could get everything we needed without having it all fall apart. Between tight location schedules, keeping up with actors schedules and trying to study lines I have to say my brains was fried by the time we wrapped filming. BUT one thing, or should I say person, saved us a great deal. Mayor Mike O’Loughlin of Maple Lake, MN was our onset angel. He found us places to shoot, hung out with us to make sure we had everything we needed, provided a smile whenever we were down. Mike is our Hero, and an incredible actor too boot. I don’t think we could thank him enough, OR the town of Maple Lake… which hands down was the most accommodating city in MN I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot in.
You said something absolutely fascinating in another interview.
”I actually produce for a living. My partner and I don’t talk about it much because we don’t find any use in broadcasting our exploits (it’s often a practice of ego or bragging to do) for us, it’s just work. The jobs we do, people we’ve met and interviewed, places we’ve been flown to? It’s not something that I think needs to be publicized.”
That is about as opposite to the norm for most people in film and television as you can get. Is it just a matter of believing in yourself and letting the work speak for itself?
Ha!! Seeing my own quote kind of makes me laugh, but to answer your question? Both. Mitchel and I both firmly believe that those who “do” are too busy to brag. The glitz or glam of the business isn’t what we’re in it for, we want a career in film making not 15 mins of awe from our friends. We don’t enter local film festivals, make spectacles of ourselves, or our projects because we don’t need to. If what we do is worth others taking notice? People will do so at their own speed. It’s the same in our corporate/commercial world. I may have done work for company “x” or spent time with celebrity “y” but I don’t see a point in broadcasting what job I just landed or client I’m working with to anyone that isn’t in efforts to garner another job. What purpose is there in fronting to 30 of my film colleagues the “cool” that I am?? Except that it’s a dick move created to create an air of superiority. I think if we spent more time focused on our personal goals and less time showing off to others we might get something worthwhile done and before we know it find ourselves further along then we expected because we weren’t showing off. (That and actual celebrities find it lame… lol)
What led you to the horror/action genre as opposed to other types of acting such as comedy or drama?
I’ve actually done all kinds!! A few years back I was in two features that had little to do with horror. ‘Faux’, which was a drama with a black comedic undertone, where I played a cynical film student. And, ‘Shy’, a fun romantic comedy where I played a supporting role as one of three quirky room mates. Faux earned me a great review in Lavender magazine as one of the more memorable characters, I was very proud of that. I really enjoy roles that aren’t “Girl heroine” so I look forward to any genre that offers me multiple personalities to try out!
(Side note: I want to play a villain terribly, or do an action film.)
In the interest of our readers I am going to ask you what your favorite horror film is and why?
Hands down, The Shining. Of all the past and present films I’ve had the pleasure of seeing? The Shining has never failed to creep me out in all the right ways. Stanley Kubrick is an incredible and precise director, his take on The Shining created an atmosphere I can only hope to one day find in a film I’m involved in. It is perfect in every way in my world!! From story to visuals, to flow, timing, and sound design? It doesn’t get better.
How about Asian horror? Any favorites?
LOVE Asian horror! Though I’m a bit tired of the stringy haired pasty girl? The stories that the Asian community creates are fresh and creepy. I think the winner is The Audition, but I also like Anime so I’d have to add Blood: the Last Vampire amongst a few.
Let’s talk about your directing debut, Kane and Able. I am very excited about it, myself. What is the plot and what have you been doing to prepare?
Kane and Able is a complete 180 for us, being so focused on horror? This will bring a completely different world into view and a part of my unknown history. Part of my family originated in North Minneapolis which for the general public is equal to the streets Detroit. My cousin in law lost his brother to shootings there, his friends carry guns and drugs and are constantly watching their backs… it’s a reality most people will never experience. I wanted to create a movie based on that life and the options one has that surround it. Plus? There is so little going on in urban entertainment? It’s about time someone stepped up to the plate. As for preparation? Right now we are in pre-production, script generation, and funding… as that grows we are connecting the film to several under privileged youth charities as the recipients of a percentage of gross profits.
Also on the upcoming project list is “The Helpmate”, a serious drama focused on love, betrayal, and terminal illness. What will your focus be on this film and when do you start production?
‘The Helpmate’ is already in production, the project is on hold however due to a very shady producer who stole and ran off with several thousand dollars from the executive producer. It was a disheartening and unfortunate situation? But it’s finding resolve in the near future!! Mitch and I are volunteering our services to fix the problem and help the company resume production in the coming months. ETH Entertainment is a young Christian material based production company, like us? They believe in family and teamwork on and off set… we have a great deal of faith in them as the future of film for their African community of filmmakers and are excited to be a part of their team.
You are also an avid gamer and blogger. I have read through your blogs and your writing is impressive. Is writing something you consider one of your strengths?
I love to write?! I’ve got horrible grammar and sentence structure though. *lol* I do love reviewing things I’m passionate about like video games, movies, and all things horror related. I don’t know if I’d call it a strength? But creating stories is definitely a love!!
You are known for your work in horror films but you also have worked in more traditional mainstream television and commercials as well. Can you tell us about some of them and it it something you will continue to do?
Well!! As an actor I’ve done everything from film to commercial. I HATE commercial work though, it’s very very fake and weird. I opt for film. I DO like producing commercial work though!! Mitchel and I have done everything from a 30 sec testimonial to a 10 min long instructional video. We do PSA’s, interviews, sizzle reels, music videos, reality shows, commercials, and more. I like structured projects the most though. As an editor by need more then want, I like to plan out what needs to be shot before shooting so there is more precise footage to edit, otherwise it looks like a mess to me and bums me out.
What influence, if any, do you think that the success of television shows like “The Walking Dead”, and “American Horror Story” will have on the horror genre on television?
I feel like I’m not qualified to answer this question having seen neither!! I haven’t had television for almost two years… but I’m excited that these shows have put a focus on horror movies for the main stream audience!! I think it may create a larger appreciation for the genre and I’m a-okay with that!
How is the independent film community in MN and what do you think about it in general?
Great projects are made here!! I’ve seen some incredible efforts surface just in the last year alone, one example, “Memorial Day” a full length war film by Director Sam Fisher.
I was just floored by what he was able to create all in MN!! I don’t about many others though, I don’t spend much time mingling with the locals. The truth is Mitch and I are often to busy to go out and play and even if we weren’t I’m not sure who we would play with? There are odd little groups here in MN that all stick to each other like those “cool” groups in high school who congregated by certain lockers in the hall and eye balled you if you got to close to their territory. I’m just not into that shit. Like I said above? I’m not in this to impress my friends, be the cool kid on the block, or play king of the film castle… I just want to make movies for a living.
You have a Bachelor of Science in Film Production. How prepared did school make you for “real life”?
Not at all. If I have any advice for aspiring film makers? In my experience it would have been more beneficial to take that tuition and invest in a few business courses and a pile of film gear. Then get out there and create!! Get hired on film sets, at your local television station, or a production company. The experience you’ll get in the field will trump the stuff you get in school. I’d say the only thing school is worth is the friends you’ll make… but even then? 1 out of every five MIGHT continue on into an actual career in film. I think dedication and on set experience will get you further then anything else these days.
What about the off-screen Nicole? What does she enjoy doing when not working?
I’m not sure there is a moment that I’m not working. But is I take more then an hour off? I play video games!! Star Wars: The Old Republic, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto… I love video games, Anime, bad horror movies, art, and mindless web surfing. My new hobby is bloging for AlienBee.net!! I’m hoping in the near future here to make the time to take a more active role in that… I adore Brian Shirley and I’d like to see his site explode!!
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
Well, Discursion will have an offical street date very soon! But at present these sites are the backbone of our work: