Prior to the release of Blair Witch on the 15th September we had a chat with Brandon Scott who plays Peter. We speak about pranks on set, being ninjas and video games.
Hey, how are you?
I’m doing good!
You’re in the new Blair Witch sequel which comes out on the 15th September, how would you say this film differs to the older films?
I think the closest comparison is to the first one, released in 1999, what’s cool is if you loved a lot of the mythology of the first film, and you were cool with it being found footage, maybe not so much the shaky camera aspect but a lot of the turmoil that the characters go through and the idea of being lost in the woods and how that effects group morale then I think you’ll love this one because it takes all of those and it expands it, especially the mythology. If you liked the Easter eggs that were dropped in the first one then there are so many more in this one and so many more answers but no answers to give you the full story so there’s still an element of mystery. Another cool thing is that it’s first person, but more of a POV camera from the character so it’s not as shaky therefore you can actually see cinematic moments and what’s happening as opposed to just hearing it and the camera is on a tree or something.
On set, do they make it scary for you?
Yeah it was because Adam really knows how to weave this creative, spooky environment. So we were actually in the middle of the woods and there were cougar sightings and stuff so the natural habitat puts you in alert mode already. In addition, we are lighting the scenes with our own flashlights and in some scenes, I go off alone, it’s terrifying because I am wearing the camera and walking in the middle of the woods on my own and Adam is notorious for being a jokester so I wasn’t allowed to see anything that was about to happen so I really had no idea. In between takes he would play this scary music, one of the funniest moments, he was like ‘basically to have a séance, all you need is music, some people who believe and a fire’ and we realised that we had all of those elements going right then and there so it was a lot of fun but scary. I never felt in danger but the environment was perfect for making a scary movie.
Was it the same location as the first film?
No we shot in Vancouver, the pacific North West looks a little different from Maryland but I still think it works because when you see the movie and learn more about the mythology it kind of justifies why things are always changing.
Something I have always wondered, as I haven’t ever spoken to someone that is in a horror film before, when you watch it back, is it weird seeing yourself in those situations?
Oh yeah, anything I watch back I’m always like ‘oh that’s weird, who’s that guy?’ This film in certain ways yeah, I’m like ‘oh man would I scream like that?’ or ‘would I run?’ but what was cool was that I was actually able to watch and I was genuinely terrified, like I was on the edge of my seat. That’s where I wished that there was a parallel universe where I could watch this without having been in it because I was such a big fan of the first one so I’m really excited to see what people think. Obviously with a film as iconic as the first one there are going to be people that love it and people that hate it. Even though I knew what was happening and that it was me on the screen, I was still jumping and laughing and screaming and grabbing the person next to me. Everyone involved just did a superb job.
It’s a very small cast, did you all end up getting quite close?
No, I hate them all, nah they’re like my family. I love these cast members, I couldn’t imagine having anyone else in any of these roles and we just bonded because we were in the middle of nowhere for like 7 weeks and we got to the point where we were going to karaoke together, we still meet up for dinners now, we have group texts going on so when you go through an experience like this, there is always potential for egos to get in the way and that just never happened so I think that’s amazing on top of the fact we made a really cool film.
Are there many arguments on set, or pranks being played etc?
This one not so much, definitely not arguments on set but one time we were doing this take and whenever we were actually rolling we kept hearing some sounds from the woods and of course for me that cognitive dissonance came in and I was like ‘oh yeah there’s nothing out there guys, we are fine’ and others were like ‘no there is something out there’ and I just didn’t want to believe it at all and eventually we found out that to our terror, Adam had put someone in a sasquatch costume and they were creeping up on us. Pranks like that happened, I’m a big prankster and I didn’t get a chance to do a prank like I wanted but trust me, I’ve got one in the making somewhere. It’s going to happen.
I read that the filming process was going on around 5 years before anyone really knew the film was happening, is this true?
Yeah, somewhere between 3-5 years was when I guess that they had the idea to do it but I’m a little cloudy on the exact timeline. Then they approached the writer and director and took some time to write it. I got cast about a year and a half ago and had no idea what it was so I only had to keep it secret for about a year and a half but even when we were going through the casting process, I had no idea that it was Blair Witch. Then I got cast and I still didn’t know and then they were like ‘we need you to come in and we are going to give you a script’ so a week after I got cast, I went in and they sat me and Corbin, she plays my girlfriend in the movie and they said ‘well this is Blair Witch’ and I was like ‘what? Come again?’ I couldn’t believe that they managed to keep it secret and that I was going to be in that film. I think it’s cool that Simon and Adam managed to take elements from the first film and took them to a new level because this isn’t a remake, it’s a sequel but it’s also got its own twist on everything so even the marketing is great. There’s no way now a days that we could convince people that this was real like they did in 1999 so they adopted their own marketing tactic, only a few can pull it off like Beyonce and Blair Witch are the only ones that can really surprise audiences.
I did the online 360 experience but I couldn’t do it with headphones because I’m really jumpy, is the film quite jumpy? Will I survive?
Me too! Jumpy in what way? Do you like horrors?
I love horror films, I’m just super jumpy.
Are you a screamer?
No, maybe the occasional squeal.
It’s definitely something to watch with an audience because you’ll laugh and you’ll scream. When we watched it at Comic Con, the audience were really audible so definitely watch it with an audience. You will jump, not going to lie but it’s a fun jump, it’s a romantic comedy, and it’s great. I love the person in the audience that has the iconic scream, it’s not just a little yelp, it’s a 3-5 second yell, I love that energy.
Aside from Blair Witch you’ve done quite a few bits and pieces including voicing some video games, how is that?
I’m just such a nerd so I grew up on video games, it’s another one of those times where I just have to pinch myself every now and then because I was very fortunate as the first video game I ever did was The Last Of Us, Naughty Dog and I’ve been a huge fan of the Uncharted series and I’ve just recently done Uncharted 4, it’s such a rewarding experience. It’s like theatre with the motion capture, everything is 360 and you can do the smallest gesture and they’ll always capture it. Video games have also become so cinematic these days but you can also roll up in your pyjamas and you don’t have to worry about hair, makeup, wardrobe etc, you just put on a suit or go in the vocal booth with a cup of tea or coffee and then you just get to be in this world.
The casting sessions are normally so focused and no one wants to talk to each other because it’s so competitive and you’re in this sterile room and you can hear the clock ticking but when we got to the Naughty Dog auditions, they came over like ‘you want a coke? We’ve got Cheetos? Doughnuts? There’s a PS4 right there’ and it was just such a fun environment and I think the whole voice over world is just like that, mostly video games.
Do you have to change your voice much or not really?
It depends, I try to do subtle things here and there, I recently did Battlefield and I play a Harlem Hellfighter so I did a more resonant, old timey voice for that and then in Wreck It Ralph I was more of a grizzled, smoked a lot of cigarettes, been through war type of guy so it depends. If the character calls for that then sure but I’m finding more and more that they’re going for more subtle, realistic voices as opposed to too cartoony, which I prefer because sometimes the too cartoony ones mess up your voice and give you a headache because you aren’t getting enough oxygen. Maybe my technique isn’t down; some people are great at that.
Tell me something that not many people know about you.
I was born with 6 fingers on one hand, I forget what it’s called you get this extra thing, I’m blanking on the name but it basically has no bone in it, this is weird, I’m an alien. Not too many people know that so when I was born they had to cut it off but they said it wouldn’t have been a useable finger. Oh geez now I’m embarrassed for telling you that.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Oh geez, wow we are going in there, are you going to tell me yours?
I can do if it makes you feel better.
The first thing that has popped into my head is when I was in 8th grade. I went from private school to public school, I really didn’t fit in but there was this girl I really liked and I don’t really know what happened but you know when you’re young, you just throw paper balls at girls to impress them, I don’t know why but it worked. I don’t remember what happened but we were chasing each other, this is so lame, I did martial arts from when I was young and I prided myself on being a ninja, I would tell people that. I was trying to run from her and I knew that I could lose her if I jumped this fence, and it had been raining a little bit and I was just like ‘I’m about to lose her an impress her and everybody else’ and I went up to jump it and my feet got caught and I ended up falling over and landing in the mud and I remember wearing these light jeans, oh my god who was I, and I got up and I was completely covered in mud and had to go the rest of the day in dried mud. That was the end of me and this girl. I’m like flushed, red hot right now. You have to tell me yours now.
Oh no okay, I’m a live music photographer as well so I was shooting a gig and the lead singer of the band came into the photo pit, I assumed he was just going to go into the crowd and he just started coming towards me and got ridiculously close, I have my personal space bubble so I stepped back and tripped over the barrier arm and the videographer, fans and band all saw it and there is probably a clip of it somewhere.
Oh no, you win, that’s so embarrassing, I have to see that, you were ok though? My stomach is hurting for you! When was this? Like yesterday?
Last year I think.
Oh no that’s still fairly recent haha! These things make us better people. We are not ninjas.
Nope not ninja’s haha! Final question, what’s next for you?
I’m here shooting a mini-series called Guerrilla it stars Idris Elba, Freida Pinto, Babou Ceesay and it’s a really cool project about some political activists in London in the 1970’s who kind of go from activism to becoming militants because they’re trying to take on this thing that they’re targeting called the Black Power Desk which was a secretive counter intelligence unit within the government. I always loved the 70s so I’ve got some cool pork chop side burns, an afro, I get to wear bell bottoms and some cool leather jackets so I’m having a lot of fun and it should be out May of next year. It’s written and directed by John Ridley and he wrote 12 Years A Slave and a great series called American Crime. So that and then hopefully some rest, some good food and maybe some travel.
Thank you for your time! Good chatting with you!
Yeah this was fun! Thanks! Bye!
Interview by Kayleigh Francis