The hot young actress takes us on the deadliest detour imaginable and reveals the secrets of her latest thriller
One time good ol' boy and psychotic truck driving serial killer Rusty Nail is back on the attack in the straight to DVD sequel Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead, arriving in stores on October 7th. This time out, he is hitting the gravel for some good old fashion murder and mayhem. Wearing the trucker hat more out of necessity than status quo credentials, our hulking anti-hero has taken it upon himself to moralize and straighten up a couple of wayward twenty-somethings that have done him and his precious big rig wrong. One of his victims just so happens to be the very beautiful, very talented Nicki Aycox, who you might remember from such horror classics as Perfect Stranger and Jeepers Creepers 2.
While visiting the Vancouver based set of Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead late last winter, we were all set to talk with Nicki about her role in the film, and her place in this up-and-coming DVD franchise. Sadly, she came down with a bad bought of pneumonia the day we arrived. So, instead, we chatted it up with the rest of the cast. To watch our exclusive video interviews with actors Kyle Schmid, Laura Jordon, and Rusty Nail himself, CLICK HERE.
Sad that she missed out on our sure to be entertaining conversation, Nicki called me up a few months later to chat about her character in Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead. Always happy to talk to the young and the beautiful, I jumped at the chance to grill her about this highly anticipated horror sequel. Here is our conversation in whole:
Hi, Nicki. Are you guys still in Vancouver?
Nicki Aycox: No, we are all back in Los Angeles now. Though, I do love Vancouver. For me, I can't decide where I'd rather live. Here or there.
When I originally came to visit you on the set, the weather was pretty bad. How did you handle shooting all of your scenes at night. It's super cold, and you have to pretend like its summer.
Nicki Aycox: Yeah, this film is supposed to be taking place in the desert in the middle of the summer. It ended up raining every single night. It's really nice, though, actually. Once I got used to the cold, I liked being out in the crisp air and the rain. It is something you just have to get used to. Vancouver has a very cold, metropolitan feel to it. I think that is very romantic in many ways.
True, but how did you guys all not catch pneumonia running around outside in your skimpy shorts and tank tops the whole time?
Nicki Aycox: I actually did. I got very sick while I was shooting. That happened halfway through the movie. We had a doctor come on set and check me out. Luckily, we were near the end of the week, and they were able to rearrange some of the things I had left to shoot. It actually happened on a holiday there in Vancouver, so I had three days to recover. The doctor put me on four different antibiotics. I took them and just sat in my room. I pretty much slept through the whole experience.
Has anything like that ever happened to you on a set before?
Nicki Aycox: No, I have never been that sick. That took the cake. I was pretty down for a good four days. I don't think I have ever been unable to shoot because of being sick. Prior to me getting sick, I had been shooting a scene outside where I strip down to my underwear, and I am standing on the freezing cold pavement in my bare feet. I was standing there in my bra and undies, and each take latest about two minutes or so. It was supposed to be warm outside in the film, and here I am freezing to death. It was wonderful, because the trailer they had for me was set at ninety-four degrees. We'd shoot the take, then I'd run in there and heat up. I was running back and forth doing this the entire night. I think it's that constant contrast of temperatures that eventually brought me down.
Well, I certainly hope you are feeling better now.
Nicki Aycox: Ah, yes! I didn't die. I survived. I am much better now.
So, you guys are all done shooting for now?
Nicki Aycox: Yes, at this moment we are all done. We are going to wait and see what comes of it.
What was it like going up against Rusty Nail?
Nicki Aycox: Well, it helps that Mark Gibbons is such an amazing, sweet man. Sure, he is big and tall. He is certainly intimidating. But he, himself, is just a big teddy bear. I knew that I had a lot to prove. I had to make this convincing. That I could go up against this hulking man. I think I did it.
You also starred in Jeepers Creepers 2. For the horror fans, who do you think is the scary villain? Who's the tougher force to escape?
Nicki Aycox: Oh, no. My goodness! You are going to put me in that position? Let's see...One of them is human, and the other one is not human. I think, for me, as in the scary factor, I consider the actual human that is capable of something so grotesque and brutal to be scarier. Something that is alien or inhuman, I would find them to be the toughest. The Creeper has super powers. He is going to be harder to defeat, don't you think?
Possibly. So, do you think in Rusty Nail's biography, he might eventually become one of the indestructible characters that often occupies these sorts of films?
Nicki Aycox: That all depends on how many sequels the studio wants to make. I don't think he will become indestructible. That is not the point of this film. The suspense comes from him being human. You are not aware of who he is. He could be in any truck that you are looking at. He could be any person in a truck dinner, sitting there, eating dinner. That is where the suspense comes from. You could be on the phone, or on the CB, and you are constantly worried and wondering, "Who the heck is this guy? Who is this person stalking me?" The fact that it is a real person makes it that much more terrifying.
Now, I know you are the star of the film. But are you also the sole survivor of Rusty Nail's attacks this time out?
Nicki Aycox: I can't give that away. You know I can't give that away.
You can't even talk about your potential involvement in a future sequel? From what I understand, they are attempting to turn this into an ongoing franchise.
Nicki Aycox: They are starting the sequel tomorrow. No. I am kidding. You just don't ever know. Especially with a horror film. There is always this talk. When you are on set, people keep telling you, "Oh, there is going to be a sequel." But you never know if that is true until the director and the writers and the producers all get together and sit down to figure it out. You have to wait for them to decide to do a sequel.
From what I understand, Rusty Nail drags both you and your friends through the wringer. I know you can't reveal any big secrets, but can you tell me a little bit about what audiences can expect to see?
Nicki Aycox: Yeah, I can do that. It does follow the premise of the first film. It is a little bit more modernized. There is a little bit more humiliation in each thing Rusty puts each of us through. Each character is put through some sort of humiliation that Mr. Nail has decided they must go through. And then he either kills them, or keeps them tied up. He can either kill you. Or he can torture you and then kill you. I guess that sort of idea speaks to where the horror genre is right now.
With this film wrapping so recently, do you look back and have a favorite night of shooting?
Nicki Aycox: Well, there have actually been a lot of different nights that were my favorite. We had one night that was quite wonderful. We come up on a truckers' speed party. There, a bunch of truckers and some other bar patrons are doing speed after last call. We had fifty extras that were playing the different parts of the truckers. In all my career, I have never seen so many extras doing such a great job. They really got into it. They dressed the part. They were carrying around their beer bottles, clanking them together and singing. They were partying, and really putting their hearts into it. I remember looking out there and being really impressed. They wanted to be a part of this party for real. They put so much life and love into it.
Now, that's an interesting topic. Tell me the truth. Is Rusty Nail on Trucker Speed?
Nicki Aycox: I don't think they ever really go into that. They never allude to the fact that Mr. Nail is on Speed. Speed is a pretty big part of the story in this one. It is often mentioned throughout the script. How all truckers are on speed. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren't. But we never go out of our way to establish if Rusty has an addiction problem. He could be on speed. That might be his problem. But in this sequel, we never got a chance to explore that.
Did you ever get a chance to get behind the wheel of Rusty's precious truck?
Nicki Aycox: Yes, I did get to drive the big rig. I am definitely involved in some of the car chases. I do get behind the wheel of this truck, and some craziness does ensue. That gets us to the suspense part of the film. My character is a very tough woman. She is prepared and capable of doing whatever it is she can to save her fiance.
Did you have to do any special stunt training in order to drive the big rig?
Nicki Aycox: No. I am actually in a TV series that takes place in Iraq. I was the truck driver the two times I appeared in the series, so I already had quite a bit of experience driving a big rig. I drive a lot in general. I came aboard prepared. And I was very excited to shoot those scenes.
Was driving the truck one of the things that attracted you to this project?
Nicki Aycox: Yeah, I think that is always the case. I love to get a script and see that the female is strong and smart. I love that I get to portray a character in that light. This girl is tough. She has a lot of jumping around that she has to do. She has to get her fiance out of the truck. She has to jump on it, and get in. She has to get it moving. All that kind of stuff. It did appeal to me.
On set, it became apparent that you had to run around most of the night when you were shooting most of your scenes. How physically taxing did that get for you? Especially having to do that after you were sick?
Nicki Aycox: After the point where I was sick, I went into mind over matter mode. I just had to keep telling myself, "You are okay." Actually, the running around was the easier part. It allowed for your blood to start pumping. You are out there playing in a horror film where it is supposed to be the desert in the heat. But it is cold. And your energy gets dragged down. When your energy gets dragged down, you have to constantly remind yourself that you need to be intense. You need to be really scared. You don't have the same emotional conduciveness when you are cold. If I hadn't been running around before a take, I would go jogging just to get my heart rate back up. I needed to be able to do it. It was easier on the nights were I had something physical to do. You are being active, so you don't have to think about it.
With Mark Gibbons being such a nice guy off set, was it hard to get into this mindset that he is a killer when you guys actually started to film your scenes together? Did he turn nasty once the cameras started rolling?
Nicki Aycox: No, he didn't do that. He was pretty much a nice guy all the way through. Most of my stuff with Rusty was over a CB or a Walkie-Talkie. His nice guy presence didn't really effect me one-way or the other. He is a very tall guy. I think he used to be a linebacker. When I first met him, I was sitting outside of my hotel room in Cash Creek. He had just come in. He walked up to me. It was sort of a desolate area that we were in. He wanted to ask me what his call time was. And he scared the heck out of me. I didn't know who he was, and he was certainly intimidating. I think that aspect alone is something you can put in your head. I was able to imagine him as this Rusty Nail character. I didn't need for him to be anything else.
What was the rest of the group like to work with? Did you guys have a pretty tight team over there in Vancouver?
Nicki Aycox: Yeah, we were tight. We had five straight weeks of night shoots. So, all we saw was one another. We became very close, and we had a lot of fun nights. We would just sit sometimes and chat. I was impressed with all of them. I felt that we, as a team, brought something really great to this. The cast had this anxious sort of thing about them. Everyone wanted to create the best character they could. I enjoyed the heck out of all of them.
Rusty Nail will be driving his big rig into the isles of your favorite DVD retailer on October 7th, 2008. Make sure you reserve your copy today!
Dont't forget to also check out: Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead