Perhaps best known for his role as Kevin Myers in the “American Pie” films, multi-talented actor/producer and singer/songwriter Thomas Ian Nicholas continues to entertain audiences with his clever filmmaking and passion-driven acumen. Nicholas’ new horror film, “Living Among Us” continues this trend by also applying a new twist on the methodical vampire genre.
The film, written and directed by Brian A. Metcalf, is a fictional found-footage documentary where Mike, (played by Nicholas), and two members of his team are invited to film a group of vampires in an attempt to prove or disprove claims of the undead mythos. The documentary crew soon finds themselves in extreme danger after uncovering a deadly secret, and a fight for survival ensues.
Like many found-footage films, “Living Among Us" shines by delivering seemingly helpless characters in a visually appealing environment as well its use of extended takes. One scene in particular, which takes place in the dining room, will have audiences talking long after the credits have rolled.
“Living Among Us” also stars Andrew Keegan, Esmé Bianco, William Sadler and John Heard (in one of his final film roles).
An acclaimed musician, Nicholas and his band are also gearing up for a new tour this year in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his album, Without Warning.
AXS recently spoke with Nicholas about “Living Among Us”, his music and more in this exclusive new interview.
AXS: How did your involvement in “Living Among Us” come about?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: I have a production company called Red Compass Media, where my business partner, Brian A. Metcalf (writer/director), and I have a slate of projects we’re doing. The first one was “The Lost Tree”, which recently came out on DVD and Blu-Ray and stars Michael Madsen and Lacey Chabert. “Living Among Us” is the second of three that we’re doing. It’s very exciting.
AXS: What was it about this particular story that piqued your interest?
TIN: When we were finishing up “The Lost Tree”, we had the opportunity to do another project. What they wanted was a found-footage film, but one that included an all-star cast. Brian is a film buff and told them that you can’t really do a found-footage film with well-known actors because it would be too difficult for viewers to believe. He suggested that we do a documentary-style American New Wave film. A movie within a movie. One where you’re fully aware of the filmmaking process but are still drawn into the story.
The other thing I really dig about this film is that it’s a new twist on the subject of vampires.
AXS: How so?
TIN: Prior to seeing the film, I’ll bet no one really knows what cutaneous porphyria is. It’s actually a real “vampire” disease that exists on which the mythos is based. We touch a little bit on it in the opening scenes of the film. It’s a disease where a person has a low red blood cell count which causes them to have fatigue. To combat it you need albumin, which is typically given through a blood transfusion. King George III was one of the first noted cases in the 18th century, but back then they didn’t have blood transfusions. So instead, he drank it.
Click Here to see the new TV spot for "Living Among Us".
AXS: How would you describe the story of “Living Among Us”?
TIN: I play the role of Mike, a documentarian who gets invited to interview a household of supposed vampires in order to prove or disprove their claims. Mike’s very abrasive and anti-authority. He’s the kind of a guy who likes to get in there and doesn’t have a problem asking the questions others would be afraid to ask.
AXS: How does creating a found-footage film differ from the traditional filmmaking process?
TIN: When you’re doing a movie within a movie you have really long takes. In this film, one scene that really comes to mind is the one in the dining room. It required a lot of rehearsal time with choreography, blocking and dialogue.
AXS: As an actor, do you find there’s more pressure involved in doing this style of filmmaking?
TIN: It’s a different kind of pressure. More like rehearsing for a play. You have to accept the process, dig deep and really be able to deliver in rehearsal.
AXS: What can you tell me about the release for “Living Among Us”?
TIN: Right now, the film will screen for one week in ten theaters in ten different major cities. Depending on how well it performs, the film could become part of a platform release where its extended to other theaters. We’ll see what happens. To support the film, I’ll be doing a Q&A tour with after show parties with my band. Of course, the film will also be available on other outlets like VOD, DVD/Blu-Ray and iTunes.
AXS: Can you give me an update on what the Thomas Nicholas Band has in store this year?
TIN: I’ve been touring for the past ten years and have released six albums. Last year, I did the Frat Party album, which included my favorite songs from the “American Pie” soundtrack that also included an original song of my own. When I looked on the calendar, I realized that this year was the milestone, ten-year anniversary of my first album, Without Warning. So, this year I’ll be pulling deeper cuts from that album as well as doing a little bit of the Frat Party album. For me, the shows are all about getting everyone together and having a good time.
AXS: Was having a career in entertainment something you always aspired to do?
TIN: If you mean something I aspired to do for the first five years of my life, then the answer is yes [laughs]. I’ve actually been doing this since I was six years old, but I do still aspire to put out great entertainment. It’s the drive the keeps me going.
AXS: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
TIN: There are a few things. Brian and I are working on “Strange Ones”, a supernatural movie where I play the main antagonist. I also recently signed on to produce and star in “BitCoin”, a film that shoots at the end of April. There’s also another project, “Handbook For Mortals” that was released as a book last August. We toured to promote the book and introduce the story before we start shooting the movie later this year. There will be another big announcement for it soon.
“Living Among Us” will be released on Friday, Feb. 2, with screenings in select cities as well as digital media outlets.