Other than your birth date and place of birth,
there is nothing about you on the IMdb. How about
a brief synopsis of The Jerry Murdock Story, your
background, education, how you got into acting,
the usual fun stuff?
I'm from a small town in upstate New York outside
Cooperstown (the home of Baseball). I went to
college to be a history teacher, and bounced
around until I fell into acting one summer when I
was recruited to do a dinner theater production. I
did a lot of theater, then decided to move to the
city to try my hand at film or TV, with mixed
results. I love to act, but I really didn't buy
into the whole "self-promotion" and marketing
aspects required to be successful.
How did you come to
be involved in “I’ll Bury You Tomorrow”?
I was doing the whole auditioning routine, sending
out dozens of headshots and resumes, auditioning
quite a bit with little success. I was about ready
to throw in the towel when I got a call from Alan
Rowe Kelly to audition for his horror film. I'm a
big horror fan, so it intrigued me. Besides, just
by talking with Alan for 5 minutes on the phone, I
felt at ease with him. I was to originally
audition for "Jake Harmon", who would be Alan's
partner in crime. When I walked in, one of the
first things Alan said to me was, "Oh no, no, no.
Why not try reading for the police officer,
Mitch?" I was bummed a bit, because I had read the
whole script and liked the character of Jake, but
once I met Alan and the other guys, Gary and Jack
Malick, and Tom Cadawas, it didn't matter. I would
have played a rock. I had a great time at the
audition, and a few days later, he offered me the
What did you think
of the script the first time you read it?
I liked it quite a bit. First off, Alan had never
written a script before, so the script was more of
a descriptive novel rather than a traditional
script, which is not as vivid. It was much easier
to visualize, and was completely unpredictable. It
was a real page-turner. I thought it was
wonderfully creepy, campy, sick, and demented. It
wasn't a "cookie-cutter" horror story, and I
really wanted to be part of it.
Were Mitch and Jake
Geraldi always going to be played just by you or
was that something decided at the last minute?
Jake and Mitch were not related in the original
script. It was Jake "Harmon". Another guy landed
that part, and Alan shot quite a bit of the scenes
with him until he literally disappeared. Vanished
one Saturday when we had a full slate of scenes to
shoot. No one knew what happened to him. Alan and
the guys were in a jam because they were a few
months into shooting and this central character
was now MIA. Secretly, I was plotting a way to
somehow switch roles. I hadn't shot that much
stuff as Mitch, and I thought maybe I could ask
Alan to scrap the minimal Mitch stuff and switch
me to the part of Jake. He began to audition a few
actors to take over, but I don't think he or the
other guys were too thrilled by some of the fellas
they tested. One day on location Kristen Overdurf,
who played Ellen Gallagher, jokingly suggested to
Alan that I play both parts. The lightbulb went
off over my head and I took this idea and ran with
it, concocting the story of brothers and
approached Alan with it. He thought it over
briefly, and decided that perhaps it wasn't such a
bad idea. By this time, Alan and I had gotten to
know each other, and I think he was more
comfortable with someone he knew as opposed to
someone who could be as unpredictable as the last
guy. The production shut down for several weeks
while Alan fleshed out the story to include this
new storyline. However, I must stress that this
wasn't easy for Alan. He really couldn't afford to
scrap all his footage he had in the can up to that
point. He had to take into account the footage he
had, and had to make it work with this new
storyline. He had to manipulate this new story to
fit the existing piece. Watching it now, knowing
how the pieces fit, I think he did an outstanding
job of making it work. Not only that, but his
expertise in make up made the two different
How on earth did
both you AND the makeup/hair department manage to
make the “two” of you SO different that so many
viewers have been surprised when they see the
final credits role?
Once again, much of the credit goes to Alan. He
and I talked it over quite a bit. What he didn't
want was excessive make up to make the two
characters extremely different. We felt that it
would draw too much attention to making them
different, and make it obvious. We did a few make
up tests on the look, and came up with the whole
wig, contacts, goatee, paper shoved up my nose to
make it thicker, and the lazy eye. I think it
worked well. The mannerisms, and the speech
patterns, they came slowly. Alan guided me what
worked and what didn't, and the end result was fun
to play. Equally gross, menacing, and moronic.
He's funny at times, and vicious the next. I like
that balance. I must say that I take great
pleasure in the fact that this double role
surprises people. Throughout shooting, I was
pessimistic, I thought no one would buy it. Alan
and the guys insisted we would fool people. I
guess they were right.
You mentioned the
story behind “IBYT” is an “interesting one”. We’re
ready to hear it now.
I think the time has come to reveal the "deep dark
secret" of “I'll Bury You Tomorrow”. Alan
didn't want this to get out, and I understand his
reasons why. It may comprise the legitimacy of “IBYT”
being considered a "real film". I disagree. I feel
that the circumstances in which this film was made
make it unique. When I read critical reviews of
the film that cite the cheap production values,
amateurish acting, or other technical
shortcomings, it bothers me because hardly anyone
knows how this film was made. First off, the
budget was literally non-existent. The catering
bill for a single day of a big Hollywood
production probably cost more than the entire
film. What these guys had to work with to make
this movie was bare, bare bones. Ingenuity and
creativity was employed as much as possible to
overcome this shortfall. This was textbook
guerrilla filmmaking. To make it work, they
literally had to beg, borrow and steal. (Locations
that is) This film, perhaps 90-95%, was made by
three people: Alan, Gary Malick and Tom Cadawas.
Three guys doing the work of a whole crew. Rarely
did they have any help. They may have had an extra
lighting or camera guy, audio assistant or make up
person to help once and a while, but the vast
majority was shot by those three. To understand
what it takes to make a film, I think this alone
is an impressive feat. The dedication by all
involved was admirable, considering we were all
working for deferred money. Nobody was getting
paid. Nobody complained, because we became a
family, and we all believed in this production. I
would do it all again in a heartbeat, and I bet
the others would too. Originally, this was
supposed to be shot over a three-month period. It
ended up taking considerably longer.
Contractually, anyone could have left the
production, but they didn't. I think that says a
lot about those involved to see this through.
Alan? This film was simply a testament of his
talent. Alan wrote the story, secured many of the
locations, recruited actors, storyboarded the
film, was essential in the production and costume
design, and coordinated every facet of the
production. Each night he had to prepare the
schedule to shoot, coordinate the shooting
schedules of all the actors. He picked up the
performers and drove them to the set. He was
responsible for the food on the set, he did the
actor's makeup and wardrobe, he also had to
prepare himself on the days he was acting in
scenes and many times, at the end of the day, he
drove the actors home. The gory special effects?
All done by Alan. He is one talented guy.
Remember, he also had to worry about this little
thing called "directing" when he wasn't doing all
these other chores. Mind you, there were days when
he had someone to help, and the contributions of
Gary and Tom are not to be dismissed. Their work
was essential. But Alan, he truly did it all and
did it as best as he could despite these
limitations. Being an independent production, this
type of multi-tasking is common, but I truly
believe Alan went above and beyond, and did a
remarkable job considering these factors. The
input of Jack Malick and Harry Douglas in the
editing was crucial, but once again, with Alan's
help. And the great score by Tom Burns was guided
with input by Alan. So, to the detractors that
look at this so-called "amateurness" and find
fault with it, understand that this was a totally
bare bones production. If anyone thinks they could
tackle such an ambitious production with the
limitations these guys had to deal with, good
luck. I can only wait until the day Alan gets to
do a "real" production where he can hone his focus
on directing alone, and not be distracted with
dozens of things that assistants normally do.
What was it like
both being directed by and co-starring with
Alan Rowe Kelly?
you see, throughout this interview I mention Alan
quite a bit. That kind of sums up what I think of
him. Great guy, and also a great friend. He's
really an actor's director because he accepts
input. He may not agree with it, but he'll try it
out. He definitely gives the actors quite a bit of
latitude to develop their character. In
co-starring with him, I can only say that I think
there are more takes of us cracking each other up
and laughing hysterically than legitimate takes.
Lots of fun to work with, he made it really easy.
Zoe Daelman Chlanda
- she seems like such an interesting actress?
I also loved working with Zoe. Very, very
talented. I used to like to watch her act. She's
truly a professional in how she prepares and how
she would vary her performance take to take. Her
range is incredible. Shy and meek one minute, a
raging lunatic the next. She could turn on a dime.
On top of this, she really wasn't afraid to get
into "the maniac" mode. Playing against that as
Jake helped me, especially when the blood started
to fly. I hope she gets a chance to work more
because of this role. She really holds the whole
film together, and it’s a showpiece of her
Who did you enjoy
playing more - Jake or Mitch?
Hands down, Jake. I think Mitch was the only
"normal" one in the film that had no real baggage.
Straight-laced, a bastion of sanity in a sea of
freaks. I was so envious when I showed up on set
and watched all the other actors get to play these
twisted characters. They were having a blast. When
I got the opportunity to play Jake well into the
production, I enjoyed it immensely.
Did you have to
research anything on the mortuary business prior
to the movie? Learn anything interesting or
disgusting you care to share?
The only things I learned are the disgusting
stories Alan used to tell me about the whole
mortuary business. The most memorable thing about
this was the day we were shooting in a funeral
home or a hospital, and we had to stop as they
rolled a corpse into the cooler. Once the body was
placed inside, the door closed and Alan was
like..."OK, where were we?"…as if nothing
happened. I guess the scenes took on a more somber
tone after that!
How long was the
shooting schedule of the film? What kind of
experience was shooting the film for you?
years! Shooting primarily on weekends. We only
shot a handful of weeknights. It really seemed
like it would never end. Plus, we were shooting
out of sequence, so it was difficult to orient
your character. You may shoot a scene on Saturday,
with the second half of the scene being completed
weeks, or even months later. For me, it was
difficult because I was bartending Friday and
Saturday nights in Manhattan, getting home around
6 or 7 am. I would sleep an hour or so, and go out
to the location to shoot all day with little
sleep. I'd doze off during the scenes I wasn't in,
to be woken up before I was to shoot my scenes.
I'd go back Saturday night, work again, and be
back Sunday morning to do it all again. I was
averaging six hours of sleep per weekend. I watch
the movie now and remember the scenes when I was
barely awake. There's even one scene when I pulled
an all-nighter and shot the bit where Cory and
Jake discover Eddie was missing from his casket.
Looking back at it, I'm surprised I was able to
pull it off.
What sort of fan
reaction have you had since the DVD was released?
People love it or hate it. Those that like it
really like it. I still get a kick out of people
when they are surprised that I played those two
parts. I've even had people talk to me after a
screening or from viewing the DVD and ask me what
it was like working with that scumbag who played
Jake. They don't believe it when I tell them it's
me. Other people think it’s a perverted,
disgusting film. My Mom still can't watch it. I
don't think she made it past the first half of the
Do you have any new
acting projects lined up and can you tell us
anything about them?
The only thing I'm doing now is teaching. I'm
looking to start a family soon, so getting back
into acting regularly may be a while. I'm waiting
for Alan's next project, "Unhallowed Ground".
I've read the script and think it's even better
than "IBYT". He's also writing two other
screenplays. Hopefully, I'll get a crack at a part
in one of those.
What are some of
your favorite horror movies?
I'll skip the obvious ones like "Night of the
Living Dead", "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre",
"Evil Dead" and "Halloween".
I'm a big lover of all horror films, so I love all
the classics. However, the film that truly is one
of my favorites and is one of the only movies that
really gave me the creeps was "The Woman in
Black". Not a horror movie, but a creepy ghost
story. I guess ghosts give me the willies more
than horror. So "The Innocents", "The
Haunting" (original), "The Shining", "The
Changeling", "The Others", "The
Devil's Backbone", as well as the original
versions of "The Ring", "The Grudge",
and "The Eye".
Any favorite horror
authors or horror books?
Once again, the favorites, King, Barker, Laymon.
However, I really enjoy Bentley Little. His books
are very twisted and interesting. I especially
like his earlier stuff. He's in a rut, as of late.
on your upcoming marriage - does your fiancée
support your acting and has she seen “IBYT”? What
does she think of the film? And have you ever
pulled a Jake/Mitch practical joke on her?
Thank you. The acting is definitely taking a back
seat for the time being. We would like to start a
family soon. One of the first things we did when
we started dating was go to the cast screening of
the film. She's a horror nut herself, so it was
smooth sailing after that. She's seen "IBYT"
more times than is humane, with all the screenings
and viewings for friends, God bless her. In fact,
I think she's hidden my copy! Sometimes I'll act
like Jake in public to embarrass her. I guess it
would have been funny to act like that when I met
her parents for the first time, come to think of
Is there anything
you would like to add that I haven’t asked you?
Filmmaking is a hard, hard business. Getting the
funding, the crew and the actors is admirable, and
even completing one and getting it on the shelf is
tough. For all the critics that find fault with
these productions, perhaps they should try it
themselves. Even if the film is lousy, I still
appreciate effort and obvious appreciation for
Is there anything
you would like our readers to know about Jerry
Murdock or “I’ll Bury You Tomorrow”?
Well, I've got a really good idea for “I'll
Bury You Tomorrow 2”. Now, if Alan "Mr. Big
Shot" Kelly will just return my calls.......;-).