Michael Biehn and his wife Jennifer Blanc reappeared at New Beverly Cinema on September 11, 2012 to do another Q&A on his directorial debut of “The Victim.” It was playing at the famed revival movie house since Friday September 7, and Biehn and Blanc were determined to make as many appearances there as they could to promote their fun little grindhouse flick. This particular evening had Biehn talking about its making, another movie he was involved in that didn’t get much of a release, and there was also a big surprise in store for yours truly.
Biehn first made his presence known to the small audience that evening when the end credits for “The Victim” began, and he ended up doing a running commentary as they played on how he got everyone’s picture on screen whether they were acting in the movie or working on it behind the scenes. He once again alluded to the fact he had such a low budget to work with, and he described how most films don’t have end credits like this one does (or as fun to watch).
Among the people in the audience was Brian McQuery who served as the movie’s assistant director, and Biehn pointed out that McQuery worked 4 or 5 days “for nothing.” Biehn said this was the result of a “friend helping out a friend,” and he got the audience to applaud McQuery for his selfless efforts.
During the Q&A, Biehn talked about when he worked with filmmaker William Friedkin on the movie “Rampage” and how the filmmaker kept calling everyone on his set “Moe.” Biehn said he ended up working on two movies with Friedkin and remarked that no other actor has worked with him twice. It turns out that no one saw “Rampage,” Biehn said, because Dino De Laurentis’ company (which produced it) ran out of money and was not able to give it a proper release. Biehn did say that he liked Friedkin;s movie a lot and thought that Ennio Morricone’s score to it was fantastic.
Biehn did however point out that he got some of the best directing advice ever from Friedkin when he asked him where he decides to put the camera when filming a scene. Friedkin ended up telling him:
“I just think of where I would like to see the scene from, and I put the camera there.”
Even after having made “The Victim,” Biehn told the audience he doesn’t consider himself a director as he “never had a feeling for the camera, lenses, angles or close ups.” This was the result of him always being “so focused as an actor” that he never learned “all that stuff.” Although he said that evening that he’s “never gonna be a great director,” his directorial debut showed that he is better and cleverer at this job than he gives himself credit for.
Blanc also went out of her way to say that Biehn is a “phenomenal director” and that she “always looks to him for audition help.”
Biehn went on to talk about how a movie needs to be in escrow before it even gets made, and this led to him discussing how he got the money to make “The Victim.” At the time he said he was recovering from a hernia operation and was on vicodin when he took a meeting at a restaurant with some guys looking to finance a movie. They told Biehn that they wanted to work with him and that had “a small amount of money” to make a film with. Biehn, in his drugged out state, told them he would do the project but only if he had total creative control over it. They ended up agreeing to this, and the next day Blanc told Biehn that the check those two gave him had cleared. Biehn, now off the vicodin, ended up saying out loud:
“What the f—?”
Whatever the case, Biehn did put a lot of effort into making “The Victim” with the limited resources he had. He described how the film was shot from 6 a.m. in the morning to 6 p.m. at night most days, how he had to write the script and do pre-production in just three weeks, and that all the driving scenes were shot on some guy’s driveway which had bushes on both sides. Biehn also said the character he plays is like him but “with a few problems.”
There were also days on set where he got so upset that he became like “William Friedkin, Michael Bay, James Cameron and Val Kilmer all together on their worst day.” To this, Blanc said that his temper tantrums among other behind the scenes fodder can be found on the Blu-ray release of “The Victim” which is coming out on September 18, 2012.
Ok, now I don’t brag about myself too much but this is something I have to talk about: I was sitting in the front row of the New Beverly taking notes down in my journal of what was being said during this screening, and Biehn saw me writing furiously and asked:
“Are you a reporter?”
“No,” I said.
“Oh okay,” Biehn said. “You’re not gonna write a bad review of this, are you?”
I assured him that I had already written my review of “The Victim” and that it was good. Blanc then asked who I was and I told her my name and the websites I submit reviews to. It turns out that she actually read my review of the movie and thought it was awesome, and she ended up coming over and gave me a hug.
Biehn then asked his wife, “was it a good review?”
“It was fantastic,” she said.
Biehn then looked right at me with open arms and said “come here!”
Who would have thought I’d get a hug from the man who played Corporal Dwayne Hicks in “Aliens,” Kyle Reese in “The Terminator” and Navy SEAL Hiram Coffey in “The Abyss?” When things like this happen while you live in Los Angeles, it reminds you of how magical this town can be!
‘The Victim’ – Michael Biehn’s Directorial Debut
Michael Biehn Screens ‘The Victim’ at New Beverly Cinema