Mickey Reece’s Alien at deadCenter

Mickey Reece's Alien promo photo

“Mickey Reece’s Alien” will be showcased on Friday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the 17th annual deadCenter Film Festival. The film will screen at the Harkins Theatre in Bricktown. To get to talk about the feature film is Mickey Reece (Writer, Director, Producer), Jacob Ryan Snovel (Producer, Lead – Elvis Presley), Cate Jones (Producer, Lead – Priscilla Presley), and Michaelene Stephenson (Supporting – Linda Jones).

Tell me a bit about yourself and your role with Mickey Reece’s Alien.
MICKEY: I’m Mickey Reece. I wrote and directed the picture.

JACOB: I’m Jacob Ryan Snovel, actor, and producer on Mickey Reece’s Alien. I played Elvis Presley in the movie as well as produced. I’ve been working with Mickey through 13 feature films now. He originally wanted me to play the role, but I turned it down. I felt it required way more persona than I was qualified to do. We shopped around a few more names, but when it became clear that our other choice wouldn’t be able to make the shoot, the role was just not going to escape me. I was terrified, naturally. Everyone has their own idea of who Elvis is, and there are few things that must be nailed right, or you get nothing. I set to work, researching all I could about Elvis’ home life and listening for the sounds and rhythms in his voice when he was tired and reflective. Ultimately, that would be what would shape the performance and even the climactic scene.

CATE: My name is Cate Jones. I’m an actress and I played Priscilla and helped produce the movie.

MICHAELENE: This is my 5th movie with Mickey, starring as the lead role in his last film Broadcast. I’ve been acting for 4 years, but acting in a Mickey Reece film is a whole different world than any other set I’ve been on. I play “Linda Jones” (Melinda Rose Woodford), Tom Jone’s wife in the dinner table scene. Tennille and McKenzie McCallister -our Hair & Makeup sister duo- completely transformed me for the role, custom wig and all! I shaved off most of my eyebrows just to look like her. Some of my friends couldn’t recognize me in the movie trailer.

Mickey Reece's Alien promo photo
How would you describe Mickey Reece’s Alien to people?
MICKEY: Conveyed through sensual black and white photography, brooding musical compositions and wry humor, ‘Mickey Reece’s Alien’ is a rumination on spirituality, space and divine existentialism inspired by the later years of Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s tumultuous marriage.

JACOB: Mickey typically answers this more articulately. However, I see it as the basic struggle of an artist experiencing creative block. Elvis goes through an existential meltdown to come out the other side as the later Elvis Presley we know from the late 60’s.

CATE: An art piece that pulls from all genres to create an ode to the great films of the past that delves into the existence, sanity, and self image of a lonely star and his disappointing attempts in relationships. It’s dark, brooding and at times funny.

MICHAELENE: It is a re-imagining of Elvis’s life after marriage with perspective from Pricilla. Its like Elvis is an alternate plane of reality.

Why should one see it?
[pullquote-right]”Furthermore, it explores the idea that we, as a society, have the ability to turn a person with exceptional talent into a God among men.”[/pullquote-right]MICKEY: ‘Mickey Reece’s Alien’ is an important film in that it would be difficult to place within cinematic trends and traditions. It’s an analytically elusive piece that focuses on duality, loneliness, insanity, personal identity and the theme of representation. Furthermore, it explores the idea that we, as a society, have the ability to turn a person with exceptional talent into a God among men.

JACOB: It’s pure cinematic enthusiasm. If you appreciate movies, this film will inspire a real and new reaction.

CATE: Because there may be nothing like it, and they will probably never forget it. How often can you say that nowadays?

MICHAELENE: You’ll notice if you start following Mickey’s filmography that he has a unique and identifiable style, along with using a lot of the same actors in diverse roles. MR’s Alien is the best film to jump on the Mickey Reece train. I knew it would be one of his bests, but it exceeded my high expectations.

What was the most challenging aspect you had in the production?
MICKEY: Getting a movie like this funded in Oklahoma.

JACOB: For me as a physical actor, it was hanging on to the subtleties of Elvis’s movements and voice. As I studied Elvis, I started to mimic those small movements until it became pure muscle memory. But he was always so squirmy, that I literally began to walk and move around like Elvis so much so that normal days in my office were exhausting – let alone the sometimes 14 hour days of shooting.

JACOB: Oklahoma is limitless. Everyone wants to help. We had local boutiques donating vintage clothes, real estate people finding us locations, and a car club that drove across town together to let us drive away from the house in their 60’s era cars. No one says no when you ask for help here, and everyone is genuinely interested in your project. They really want to see you succeed. We even got sponsored by Prairie Ales, which really just means they provided drinks for the end of the day – but it was much needed and appreciated!

CATE: Raising the money, and then once that was done, trying to keep a straight face when time constraints left us with only 1-2 takes.

MICHAELENE: It took me a while to find my accent and attitude for my character but Mickey coached me up and John Selvidge worked accents with me and it all came together like movie magic always does.

What was the best part about filming in Oklahoma?
MICKEY: I’ve always lived here so I have more resources; access to things like locations and actors than I would anywhere else.

JACOB: Honestly, it was all very exhausting. I loved every second of creating this film, don’t get me wrong, but in creating an art piece like this, it’s very hard to sit back and “have fun,” even in some of the more hilarious scenes. The best parts of production were sitting around with cast and crew after a long day of shooting, watching what we’d just created, and relaxing for a moment.

CATE: It was easy, cheap, and everyone here is eager to give/help.

MICHAELENE: People are so friendly and excited to help, lend and give to us so that we can make the films.

Mickey Reece's Alien promo photo
What were some particular scenes that were enjoyable to film?
MICKEY: Elvis talking to himself. We couldn’t stop laughing.

JACOB: I can’t wait to get one of our films to the larger film community that comes in for deadCenter. We’ve never had to wait this long to premiere a film so we are boiling over with excitement. Our crowds are typically large, but they are also the usual followers of our films. This time we get to reach wider and hopefully let more people know about our kind of filmmaking.

CATE: The deleted ones.

[pullquote-right]”The funniest part is between takes or on little breaks when we would have “normal” conversations while staying in our characters or accents.”[/pullquote-right]MICHAELENE: The dinner table scene took hours to shoot. The funniest part is between takes or on little breaks when we would have “normal” conversations while staying in our characters or accents. Mr. and Mrs. Esposito were especially a riot staying in character outside of filming.

What are your thoughts on the deadCenter Film Festival?
MICKEY: It’s the most exciting festival in Oklahoma by a significant margin.

JACOB: I can’t wait to get one of our films to the larger film community that comes in for deadCenter. We’ve never had to wait this long to premiere a film so we are boiling over with excitement. Our crowds are typically large, but they are also the usual followers of our films. This time we get to reach wider and hopefully let more people know about our kind of filmmaking.

CATE: It’s one of my favorite film festivals to go to. It’s well organized, the parties are great, there’s a lot of people, what more could you want in a film fest? Besides Robert Redford.

MICHAELENE: I love deadCenter. This is my 4th year going and my 4th role in a film to be accepted. Kim and Lance put together the funniest film festival I’ve been to. I really enjoy that you can see big shorts blocks but they still have many feature lengths.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
MICKEY: Anything that does not involve making or talking about movies.

JACOB: I have a real job with a real office where I have to do stuff. There’s some creativity to it, but that’s mostly because I put it there. It allows me to exercise my analytical side. So when I leave my office, I’m recharged for whatever is about to come next. Spending time with my kids, coaching basketball and baseball also keeps my mind off thinking I HAVE to be creating something new. Teaching kids team sports is a great way to practice for the technical side of film making.

CATE: Watch movies from the 60s & 70s. Find new music to listen to. Read.

MICHAELENE: I like to spend time alone doodling or just sorting out my ideas on a notepad. When I’m putting a lot of hours into a film project I like to have a lot of time alone to keep my character in the back of my mind and break it up when there’s a few days off by spending time with friends laughing our heads off.

Anything else you wish to add?
CATE: Come watch it.

MICHAELENE: Cate Jones is amazing to watch. Jacob Snovel is an improvisational genius. Tennille McCallister has an amazing indomitable spirit that can make you laugh and smile forever. Alex Sanchez is a total goofball. Joe Cappa is a man of many talents and his effects in the film are what make it so visually stunning.


Read more Question and Answer sessions with other deadCenter filmmakers, past and present, here.

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at DennisSpielman.com

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