Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl on the grueling reality of “Hunter Hunter”
For lead actors Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl, the intense indie thriller Hunter Hunter was a real test of their courage in more ways than one.
“If you haven’t felt what winter is like in Winnipeg, it’s unpleasant, and it all helped to set the mood for the movie,” Sawa recalled. “Whether we had the money or not, I think it wouldn’t have been easy to bring the cozy stuff to these places, so we had to put in a lot of effort. The days were long and cold and we had to deal with snowstorms. It was brutal, and it kind of played out in the movie.
Stahl added: “It lent itself to the material quite well. It was the perfect location for that, even though it wasn’t that far from the city. It might as well have been a few hundred kilometers away. The distance was very believable, and it was brutal at times, just extremely cold. The scene where my character first appears, I’m cold in the movie and honestly didn’t have to do a lot of acting.
Hunter Hunter is about a fur trapper, played by Sawa, and his family trying to make ends meet, but they believe a wolf is hunting their traps. He goes to the forest to find out what’s going on, leaving his wife and daughter in their cabin. That’s when a mysterious and seriously injured stranger, played by Stahl, arrives outside their cabin.
“The weather there was a challenge, but it wasn’t the only one for me,” Sawa revealed. “My character is a die-hard smoker. Every time you see him, he lights a cigarette or smokes a cigarette. The guys on set asked me if I wanted to smoke cloves instead, but I said, ‘Nah. It doesn’t seem real. Just give me the real ones. Days and days went by, and they kept giving me cigarettes, pulling me one way, then another, then out to sea, and in the end I would buy my own packs, and I was a real smoker. It took me about a month after to quit.
Despite being the protagonists, Sawa and Stahl have hardly spent any time together on set, but their paths have already crossed.
“I wasn’t there for almost any of his stuff,” Stahl revealed. “We ran into each other one day, so it was interesting, but we worked really well. It was shot pretty much chronologically. Devon and I had worked together years before. We had a few scenes together in a movie called 388 Arletta Avenue. “
“There was this movie, but I’ve always been a fan of it. We first met in the 90s, during the Final destination and Disturbing behavior days, ”Sawa added. “I think it was him, Charlie Sheen and I were at a party together at one point, so we’ve known each other ever since. I love what he did and hope to work with him again someday.
Stahl continued, “I was impressed with Devon when I got to see him. He nails it. It was just a very solid performance. I texted him about it.
“I wasn’t there for Nick’s job and the filming of the end of the movie. When I got the link for the finished movie, I watched the other parts for the first time. I was like, ‘Okay, we’ve got a pretty cool little movie.’ I liked Nick’s choices in Hunter Hunter because he could have tried to be way above it, but he didn’t, and it felt genuine and organic. That’s what made it more disturbing. I think he did a fantastic job. I don’t know how but this movie found me and when I read it I loved it. I loved it so much more after watching it.
He is Hunter HunterThe Macabre End, one of the best final acts of the year, which will truly engrave itself on the minds of the public. This is where Stahl had to go the extra mile.
“I don’t know why, but I tend to do a lot of prosthetics. Whether it’s death scenes or whatever, from an early age, for whatever reason, my characters die a lot. Looks like I’m still in this chair with this stuff stuck on my face or my body, ”he reflected. “I learned to deal with it, but I hate it at the same time because it’s uncomfortable. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but here it was fun and horrible at the same time. What we did here was unique as they had to dress my body where they were removing part of the prosthetics from the stage, so my actual skin also had to be made to look a certain way under all the exterior stuff.
“It was a long, exhausting process, but it was totally worth it when you see the end result. I haven’t even had the worst. When you see the whole body photo, there was a stunt performer who did that, and this poor guy was covered from head to toe, so I didn’t feel that bad after seeing this guy.
Sawa agreed, “Good writers don’t go into the details of some things. It’s up to the imaginations of the special effects guys and the actor playing the part, and you hope it all rolls out the same day. This is really the case here. What was written in the script was pretty knotty, but when it comes to life it’s like, ‘Oh wow, there you go.’ With these things it can go either way, but it’s done so well.
The dark intensity of Hunter Hunter fits in 2020, the year that also marks the 15th anniversary of Stahl’s hit HBO series finale, Carnival. In the age of peak television, could the actor, who played protagonist Ben Hawkins, see a revival in his future?
“I have to be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen at this point, but I guess you never know. I think it was such rich material and such a cool cast of characters, and such an interesting story, ”Stahl reflected. “I loved this role, and I was also my first thing on TV. I had only done movies before. I haven’t been a regular on a TV show since then. new for me to stay with a character for that long. I think there were all kinds of possibilities as to where the role could go, where the story could go. It would be amazing if that happened.
“Regarding a movie, I’ve had the question before, especially recently, and maybe it’s because HBO made a movie for Dead wood not so long ago. I guess that’s why I can’t rule it out. It was never mentioned to me by anyone who made the show, but it’s not a bad idea. We should explore this.
Hunter Hunter is in select theaters, in digital and on demand, starting Friday, December 18, 2020.