Chances are, when we look back over 2013 and come up with the films that most caught us by surprise (in a good way), Extraction is going to be near the top of the list.

A low-budget gem, first-time director Nir Paniry delivered a corker of a sci-fi tale, with scientist Sasha Roiz trapped in another man’s mind after cutting-edge technology goes awry.

In fact, we were so impressed by the film that we made a beeline to speak to Sasha himself, and the great news is the star of small-screen fare like Grimm, Warehouse 13 and Caprica was only to happy to answer our questions, having just wrapped up work on the big-screen, big-budget Pompeii, set for cinemas in 2014.

 

MR: Firstly, can we kick things off by asking how you got involved in Extraction (as it is known here in the UK)?

I received a call to meet with the writer/director Nir Paniry and his production team. They were familiar with my work on Caprica and thought I’d be a good fit for the role of Tom.

MR: Extraction marks writer/director Nir Paniry’s first full-length feature film – what were they like to work with? Was there any trepidation working with a debutant?

From our first meeting, Nir and I had a common vision for the film and the character of Tom. It was clear that we had a similar ambition for the film, and that we shared many sensibilities. I recall after our initial meeting, standing in the parking lot and excitedly discussing the various aspects of the film. We got on famously throughout the shoot and in fact we would often meet on weekends just to fix pieces of the script together. Nir is devoid of ego and was always open to change anything that might improve the film.

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MR: With the plot focusing on entering people’s minds via technology, there are inevitable comparisons with the likes of Inception – was that an issue for you at all?

In truth, I saw Inception but apart from the concept of memories, I don’t see the similarities. I really am not bothered by comparisons.  By that measure, should there be no more superhero movies because we’ve already seen Superman? Or space travel films because we’ve seen Star Trek? Not to mention Inception had 1000 times our budget, literally. Extraction was made for $100K. And we are quite proud of that accomplishment. That meant that we had to rely on a strong story and solid performances because that was all we had to play with.

MR: In many ways, while Inception has the huge budget and star names,  Extraction focuses more on the emotional aspects of being trapped in  mental ‘limbo’ and, in my opinion, has a lot more soul by doing so. Do you agree?

I do. Again, when you’re limited in means, you have to get back to basics and that means focusing on a compelling story and truthful performances.

MR: The real strength of the film comes from the dynamic between yourself and Dominic Bogart, who plays the supposed killer’s mind you “invade” –   how quickly did you two hit it off?

In many ways Dominic and I paralleled the characters we portrayed. We possessed a very strong and specific energy and were coming to the film and the roles from different places, and yet there was definitely a symbiosis. I think our interpretations complemented one another and there was a genuine affection and coming together as actors and characters.

MR: Originally Tom’s plan is to use the technology to help trauma victims confront their past, could you see that happening in the future?  Would you like to see it happening?

I can’t speak for people who have experienced trauma and whether they would like to revisit that trauma. Perhaps it could be an effective tool. But then again, perhaps therapy is sufficient. Can’t really say.

MR: Many people may know you more from your work on the likes of TV series such as Grimm and Warehouse 13 and Caprica, how easy is it to switch between small and big screen product?

It’s a very different beast, however it’s harder to distinguish between television and film these days because there are now so many different realities to both. Television has tremendous nuances specifically when you compare network and cable, and film offers many different experiences from blockbusters all the way to a shoestring budget film such as ours. I recently completed work on Paul W Anderson’s “Pompeii” which is a huge epic blockbuster and that  experience was great but could not have been more different from my  experience on Extraction. The unique thing about an independent is that it is a far more collaborative process, at least that was my experience. Everyone is a participant or volunteer because we are all invested in the vision and want to help make it a reality. I was very much a part of the creative process along with Nir and that partnership was a wonderfully unique experience that I very much cherish.

MR: Being a site that specialises in sci-fi, horror and genre material, it would be remiss not to ask you about your appearance in George A Romero’s Land Of The Dead? What are your memories of that film?

That was one of my earliest gigs. George was a wonderful and gentle man. Just loved making movies and we had a great time. It was really a playground with all these zombies milling about. I’ll never forget the poor zombie extras struggling to eat lunch through all their rotted teeth, dislocated jaws, severed fingers and every other grotesque impediment the FX department could think up.

MR: The next project for you seems to be Paul WS Anderson’s Pompeii (which we have previewed on our site)- what can you tell us about that?

If you love abs and swords… I’m just fooling. Paul is another remarkably enthusiastic and excited director. He loves what he does and he does it well. It’s a disaster film, loaded with action, gladiators, remarkable battle scenes, love, loss, and a big angry volcano. I think it will be quite a treat.

 

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.

  • Sexenbiests

    Sasha is a phenomenal actor and I really enjoy his work that I’ve seen so far. Thanks for sharing this!