Jonathon Schaech

The writer/star talks about his new horror film and future projects.

Jonathon Schaech has basically done it all in his career. After getting his start with acting in the early 90s, Schaech branched out into writing, directing and producing in the 21st Century. Schaech dons both his writing and acting hats with his new thriller The Poker Club, which hits the shelves on DVD today, April 21. I recently conducted an email interview with this talented multi-hyphenate, and here's what he had to say.

You wrote this film with your writing partner Richard Chizmar, so where did this whole premise come from? Was there a real-life version of this poker club, with or without the thief breaking in?

Jonathon Schaech: We adapted it from Ed Gorman's novel of the same name. Ed's an old school crime and mystery writer.

I assume you wrote the role of Aaron Tyler for yourself, so how did you come about the rest of this cast like Loren Dean, Johnny Messner, Judy Reyes, Michael Risley and the rest? Did you both write any roles for any actors in particular, and how did you enjoy working with this cast?

Jonathon Schaech: I never intended to play Aaron. It worked best for the production to have me play him. We had to move fast. At one point Robert Downey was going to play Aaron. Loved the hard work my cast put in...excellent actors who care about their work. Those are my type of actors. Artists who are always challenging themselves and taking risk.

You had directed before, so was this something you were possibly going to direct yourself, and can you talk about how director Tim McCann came on board?

Jonathon Schaech: I was introduced to Tim after his screening of Runaway. That film won Austin Film fest in 08, the best writers festival in the country. Loved that movie. And we got to talking about indies, I suggested rich and I's script and he loved it. We worked in another twist and after several attempts got the money. Tim's a top notch award winning director I was lucky to have.

It seems like this had a fairly low budget, so does having a lower budget give you more creative freedom or is it always nice to have as big of a budget as you can?

Jonathon Schaech: It's nice to make the movie with enough money to make it so it can compete. Because whether you made it for five bucks or 5 million it's going into the same market place , competing against the studio films for space. Tim, Bruce devann and Jordan Gertner came aboard to assure us to get the most out of the money we had. We wanted to make a film that was

commercial enough to get distribution and with just enough indie appeal. We got Sony to put it out and so far Audiences have enjoyed immensely. Now we hope people look past the misconception of what straight to DVD means and buy it. DVD movies now aren't what they use to be.

Is there a favorite scene you. have or just a moment on the set that stands out on this film?

Jonathon Schaech: Johnny Messner kept accidently hitting me with the bat. And it broke. Ouch! We had to wait four hours for a new bat.

Is there anything you can say about Takers? That looks like quite a cast in that film. Can you talk about the story of that film and when we might see a release?

Jonathon Schaech: Soon to be released. It's a bad ass heist flick. With some bad ass actors.

You're also writing and producing From a Buick 8 with Tobe Hooper directing. How is that moving along? I heard the film is still trying to secure funding right now. Are there any updates you can give on that?

Jonathon Schaech: Hopefully we'll start rolling cameras in the fall. The script is ready now. Rich and I stole stuff from the Dowdles' (Quarantine) that I think audiences will love. Makes it so much more scarier. Rich and I are prepping to write our first comedy now.

Finally, the DVD comes out on the 21st, so what would you like to say to all the horror fans out there to get them to pick this up on DVD next week?

Jonathon Schaech: Ed Gorman is the kind of writer Stephen King read. We took his book and modernized it and added a couple twists. It's like a bullet train that never let's you stop guessing or releases any tension. You will never stop guessing. Bottom line: this could happen to you. You may have already started to create this type of deadly cycle in your own life and you just don't realize it.

You can catch Schaech and the rest of the cast of The Poker Club on the DVD shelves today, April 21.