Interview: Megan Freels Johnston – The Ice Cream Truck
Writer-director Megan Freels Johnston’s suburban nightmare The Ice Cream Truck will hit theaters August 18 and be released day-and-date on VOD via Uncork’d Entertainment. A new trailer and poster have been released to coincide with the release.
The provocative psychological thriller stars Deanna Russo (Being Human, Gossip Girl) as Mary, who moves back to her suburban hometown after her husband gets relocated for work. As her family ties up loose ends back home, she moves into their new house alone. And although the move makes Mary nostalgic for her youth, there’s something very sinister about that Ice Cream Truck that patrols her suburb.
The Ice Cream Truck also stars Dana Gaier (Despicable Me 3), John Redlinger (Thirst, Banshee), Emil Johnsen (Isolerad), Hilary Barraford (Go For Sisters), Jeff Daniel Phillips (31), and Lisa Ann Walter (War of the Worlds).
Storytelling is very much in Freels Johnston’s DNA. The granddaughter of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard, The Ice Cream Truck screenplay was a semi-finalist in the Circus Road Screenplay competition.
As a producer developing material for over a decade, Freels Johnston worked on adaptations of her grandfather’s work and produced Sparks, the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. After completing a project for the USA Network, she decided to follow her passion and write and direct her own material. Her first film, 2014’s micro budget thriller Rebound, developed a cult following on VOD, was called, “Almost David Lynchian in its strangeness” by Film Threat and Rue Morgue said, the film “(was) worth watching to the end for the unnervingly realistic twist ending.” You can check out my review of Rebound here.
How long a trek has this been, Megan? A number of years in the making?
I wrote the script in July of 2015 and we shot the film in June of 2016. So this film went really quickly. I think when something is right, there aren’t a lot of road blocks. I brought almost my entire production team from my first film Rebound and I was very excited to work with them again.
Deanna Russo was a friend of mine for a long time but not a super close friend. That’s important to note because I didn’t ask her out right if she wanted to be in this film. I didn’t want to put her on the spot so I sent her the script and asked if she would give me some notes. She loved it and she basically said she would love to do it and then off we went. It was then time to cast the rest of the film and secure funding.
How does it feel approaching the release date? Nervous excitement, I imagine?
It’s been very exciting. I was nervous initially because of reviews. I thought this film would be polarizing because it’s so different. It doesn’t fit in your typical slasher box. I wasn’t sure how people would feel about that. But the response has far exceeded my expectations and I am so glad and proud to know that the horror fans are so open to new stories and ideas.
The film is getting a lot of fantastic press and equally good reviews. Do you consider then you’ve made a successful movie – or is it successful when you make a profit?
Artistically, reviews and fan response is so important. That is what inspires me to keep going as a storyteller. It gives me the motivation to keep trying to challenge the horror genre with female stories that both men and women can hopefully relate to. But I am a businesswoman as well as a filmmaker so obviously I want to make a profit. Also if the film makes a decent profit, then it will help me to make another movie. The investors will be able to bet on me again.
How much have you personally got riding on the film?
I feel like I have already achieved my goals on this one. I have made a film that I already know a lot of people really love. There’s nothing really riding on it because I decided long ago after being a producer for a decade, that I was going to do things my own way. That is what led me to make my first film. When you make indie films there is less pressure. The only people I have to please are myself, my investors and the people involved in the film. We made a really fun film that has a different message. So I think we’re all happy about the result.
Do you have other projects you’d like to set up next?
The next film I would like to make is called Hunting Season. It’s a straight up horror thriller about roommates who have to escape trophy hunters.
Do you envision a sequel to The Ice Cream Truck – if it does well?
I’m not sure how that would be possible, but I mean, you never know right? There are a lot of thoughts about who could potentially be the star of that film. And if you have seen it, you know what I’m talking about.
You can find more about, The Ice Cream Truck at the following links. Thanks to Megan for taking the time!
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/theicecreamtruckmovie
- Twitter: @IceCreamTruck3
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/icecreamtruckmovie
Give the film a like and a follow and tell em ScareTissue sent you!