Very few sets can say they have a crew member wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirt like they did during the filming of “Terror on the Prairie” last year.
Again, “Terror” is not a Hollywood production.
The Daily Wire feature, available only on conservative platforms, stars a Disney actress who was fired for the most flimsy reasons. The movie is outlawed? He produced a horror documentary government overreach in the aftermath of the January 6 riots.
The famous Gina Carano was fired from “The Mandalorian” for inconvenient messages on social networks. Nick Searcy “reasonably” bounces from mainstream to conservative, fueling his progress Twitter’s official feed.
Together, they are the core of this indie west, a minus that the stage wakes up to so many of today’s developments. Just don’t expect many, if any, public political jokes between the developments. This crew is all business.
Makeup for Jeff Dawn, the guy of the “Brandon” t-shirt, sent “Terror” producer Dallas Sonnier his resume when he first heard about the “Terror” project.
The resume says it includes some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Total Recall,” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”
Comedian Tyler Fischer, who plays the villain Long Hair in the film, got into quite a bit of trouble for being a white male before starring in “Terror”. His agency couldn’t find him a job based on the color of his skin, and they just told him that.
He even developed an informal support group of white actors who share how the industry has always discriminated against them.
“I’m not going into Hollywood,” he said of his thoughts before joining the “Terror” team. “I was canceled first.”
Here he is, however, cultivating a bloody prosthetic arm and adding his presence to the film’s gang of outlaws.
Sonnier, wearing a thick knit hat and an almost permanent grin, has a down-to-earth approach to his production work. At one point, he shows off a complete stunt, recorded on his smartphone, to hook guests. A horse rider is jerked, tearing his steed in the clip.
Sonnier beams as he shows the sequence amusingly with its “interesting” element. This is a man in his element.
The “Bone Tomahawk” producer pointed to Montana earth and joked that the crew covered most, but not all, of the fake blood that splattered from the previous installment.
Sonnier is an actual FX expert on his sets. “Never have CGI blood,” is his mantra.
“Terror on the Prairie” doesn’t condone gun violence, whether it’s Carano’s Hattie McAllister defending her turf or Searcy and co. threatened her parents.
“The cool gun on the set!” chime sounded, a standard commentary on a safe movie environment. The warning took on a whole new meaning a few weeks after a random shooting on the set of “Rust” killed Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins last October.
Sonnier’s team said no live rounds were allowed anywhere near the set.
The setting atmosphere is purposeful, yet light. During Halloween week, some crew members donned a completely un-Western outfit. The jokes were of interest around the set, as did Sonnier and co-producer Amanda Presmyk, adding to their expertise if needed.
Director Michael Polish (“The Astronaut Farmer”) is more reserved, a neat character focused on the tasks at hand.
Screenwriter Josiah Nelson was also on set, describing “Terror” as “iconic” in essence, a story that “could fit into Western mythology.” He’s eager to explore the heroine played by Carano, a city dweller trying to adapt to frontier life. It didn’t help that her husband was away when a group of outlaws arrived.
“She’s not a gunfighter,” he notes, but with Carano’s action sequences, audiences know she’ll be quick on the subject.
Nelson shaped the story, in part, from oral stories he heard growing up. His great-grandmother had to move out of her Kansas home in the 1870s following a conflict between Native Americans and local cowboys.
He cites movies like “Hush” and “Don’t Look Now” as creative inspiration.
“Terror on the Prairie” doesn’t have a budget that beats most Hollywood movies. Much of the action takes place along a modest stretch of Montana. Other scenes were filmed in an existing western town worked by other westerners.
However, the production team did not ignore the position they counted.
Everyone is concerned about gun safety during firing. A brief but important scene involving Native Americans shows Team “Terror” using pre-set authentic costumes to bring both authenticity and respect to the scene.
Carano, who toured parts of the country in an RV before filming “Terror” began, is very focused on the gritty nature of the film.
“It’s always a good day when you can break something,” she says with a laugh.
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