Bill Sage on leading the Foundation in ‘Wrong Turn’

Bill Sage in 'Wrong Turn' courtesy of Saban Films

Bill Sage stars as the frightening leader of the Foundation in Saban Film’s Wrong Turn.

Synopsis: Backwoods terror and never-jangling suspense meet when Jen (Charlotte Vega) and a group of friends set out to hike the Appalachian Trail. Despite warnings to stick to the trail, the hikers stray off course—and cross into land inhabited by The Foundation, a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life. Suddenly under siege, Jen and her friends seem headed to the point of no return— unless Jen’s father (Matthew Modine) can reach them in time.

This film, directed by Mike P. Nelson and written by Alan B. McElroy, is the seventh in the Wrong Turn series but according to the cast, this film holds its own.

“Oh, I don’t think it’s just completely set apart, I think it’s a whole different thing… This is a whole reimagining. I think that that was Alan’s intention.I think what sets it apart really is, of course, the new cast, but the Foundation itself, which I play John Venable, the head of that Foundation. They’re different from the original antagonist, it’s just a whole different kind of antagonist. I think the antagonists are much more human.”

In this film, Bill plays Venable, the leader of the Foundation, AKA the bad guys.

“Most of the antagonists I play, I don’t look at them as bad guys per se. I look at them as people that have their reasons. Whether I disagree with them or not, I don’t really check that aspect of it. And he was very, very understandable. For me, he seemed no more or less brutal than any other world leader. He’s just pretty straightforward about it and doesn’t waste a whole lot of time quibbling over it. I really liked this character, he’s one of my favorites that I’ve played in this genre.”

To get into character, Bill uses the Wim Hof Method.

“I just go over what I’m supposed to be doing in each scene, not just a line or dialogue, but what I am trying to achieve in this story. I would I would follow this Wim Hof method. He’s known for these cold showers, going ice and things like that. I do that kind of thing. So I would prepare by taking an ice cold shower. It would just prepare myself for that particular kind of individual. I would go back and forth a lot of times to the ice machine in the hotel and fill up the bath and get it as cold as I could. The Wim Hof method, I still practice it today.”

And in playing the big bad of the film, Bill faced a few challenges when taking on this role. One challenge was the Foundation’s language and the other involved knives.

“The language and dialect came from the Faroe Islands. That dialect came pretty easy but the language is, I mean, I’m actually saying particular words. I’m sure to someone from the Faroe Islands, it makes no sense at all. I love the dialect.”

Bill Sage in ‘Wrong Turn’ courtesy of Saban Films

Now toward the end of the film, Bill has an awesome scene with some knives that was all done in one take.

“It’s a little dance that John does around the table and kills people. And the flip of the knife, it’s harder than flipping a knife because it’s you’re just flipping the handle. Because obviously, we’re not using a knife.” 

Even though he’s using a knife handle, Bill says he never wants to hurt anyone.

“I play a lot of volatile characters but I’m very careful to not hurt anybody. I don’t like actors when they go overboard and end up hurting somebody. You know, if you’re working with somebody like [Robert] De Niro, he’s such a pro at kicking somebody’s ass that the people getting their ass kicked don’t feel anything. I’m mean, a little here and there, but it’s called acting for a reason. That’s my only worry really, when I’m doing stuff like that, that I’m not actually hurting anyone.”

Bill says that after a long, intense day of shooting, he likes to decompress by reading, maybe with a glass of wine, and prepare for the next day of filming.

WRONG TURN is available on VOD, Digital, DVD and Blu-ray February 23rd