Local actress, Julie Ek (left) with Airen Delamater, and Ice-T, on the set of Bloodrunners, a locally filmed movie.
Blood. Prohibition. Vampires. Speakeasies.
These are the themes that run thicker than blood through the new, locally-filmed movie, Bloodrunners. The film, which features Ice-T, the legendary gangsta hip-hop emcee and Law & Order SVU actor, will be shown this weekend in Philadelphia at a private screening for the actors, cast, and crew.
Bloodrunners, an original script written by Dan Lantz and Michael McFadden of Malvern and Adam Danoff of Norristown, is about a corrupt cop who discovers that the popular speakeasy in his 1930s prohibition-era town has been infiltrated by vampires. Lantz directed the film, Danoff is the producer, and McFadden is the lead actor.
The film is expected to have a public premier at a later date.
Philly Happening caught up with Julie Ek, of Philadelphia, who has a supporting role in the film, to find out the scoop on Bloodrunners, prohibition-era vampires, and what it was like working with Ice-T.
P.H.: Tell us what Bloodrunners is about.
J.E.: It takes place in the captivating, sneaky world of speakeasies. The exciting, underground world of the speakeasies is mixed with the really creepy, secret world of vampires, who are using the speakeasies as the location for their secret sales of blood on the black market, and in the meantime, getting more victims!
I’m not really into vampires, but when I read this script, I said, “This is really cool!” That says something about the film. It’s not just for vampire fans, there’s something for everyone. Some of the scenes are really intense—there’s guns, blood, and stakes and stuff!
P.H.: Tell us about your character in the film.
J.E.: I play Alexandra. She’s a singer in the speakeasy. She’s very risqué, very sneaky, very suave, and very creepy! She can be pretty quirky at times. She’s the type of character that loves telling her ideas to everyone. She’s a very verbal, proud villain. She’s not afraid to be expressive and she’s very sexy.
She stages as a singer in the speakeasy in order to hide her true identify and lure her victims. She’s kind of a vampire queen—she’s one of the leaders of the whole secret vampire operation, along with Ice-T’s character.
P.H.: What is your character’s relationship with Ice-T’s character (Chesterfield)?
J.E.: Alexandra and ice-T’s character (Chesterfield) are kind of a couple. It’s a weird, bizarre relationship!
P.H.: Tell us more about the local filming.
J.E.: We did some filming in West Chester. There was this empty shopping center where they built the speakeasy set. The day that we worked with Ice-T was one of the day’s filming at the West Chester location. A helicopter was rented to fly Ice-T in from the Law & Order SVU set in New York.
The second local filming location was in Marcus Hook at this really cool bar and restaurant called The Star Bar & Hotel [it was actually a real speakeasy back in the 1920s]. The owner, Marie Horn, and everyone there was so great and were so happy to have us there filming! The “dungeon” was located down in the basement– they hardly had to build any set. The producer, Adam Danoff, and the director, Dan Lantz, were so happy with how it already looked down there with all the pipes and darkness. All they did was add in creepy blood machines and such! It was perfect!
P.H.: What was it like working with Ice-T?
J.E.: Ice-T is a very focused actor. He is a hard worker, and likes to get it perfect. If he doesn’t like a take and it didn’t feel right, he says to “hold on”, and that they should do it again. That’s why I loved working with him. Even though he had come over to us by helicopter with Coco (his wife) after a very long Law & Order shoot right before, and was exhausted, he was still very nice and was joking around and having fun. Most of us would have been grumpy by 5 p.m., but we shot pretty late into the evening, and he was amazing– like a machine, and never once seemed tired.
Both Ice-T and Coco had great senses of humor. I love the support she gives him on sets. She hangs out and watches the monitor and is always positive. She brings him pizza in his trailer. She’s so sweet!
P.H.: What did you learn from working with an established actor like Ice-T?
J.E.: Ice-T showed me what it’s really like to work with a professional actor, who cares about the finished product and who only wants to do his best. He rehearsed the script with us for each scene right before the first take. He probably had the script half the amount of time that the rest of us did and he had the lines and blocking perfect, even for rehearsals. I had so much fun working with him, and because our characters get somewhat intimate, and had to work very closely in one of my four scenes of the film, it was great to work with someone so professional.
P.H.: How would you compare your work on Bloodrunners with working in theatre?
J.E.: Coming from a theatre background, it was so strange working on scenes out of order and working on action-packed scenes for hours and hours—and sometimes those scenes only had one or two lines. It was tedious. I have only worked on four other films, three of those were only short films, so I’m still at the beginning of my film career. Most of my on-camera work has been in commercials in the New York and Philly area, which obviously is a whole different ballgame from being on my knees covered in blood!!
P.H.: Are you excited for the private screening on Saturday?
J.E.: I haven’t even seen the film yet, so I’m looking forward to it. I have close family and friends coming to support me. It’s very nerve-racking to see myself on the big screen. I’m used to doing theatre, where I never have to see myself and judge myself!