I recently had the pleasure of (virtually) sitting down with three very talented actors, Jeanette Samano, Jordan Diambrini, and Kade Wise, to speak about the new horror film they star in, Murder in the Woods.
The film, which is directed by Luis Iga and written by Yelyna De Leon, follows a group of friends celebrating a birthday at a cabin in the woods. The weekend takes a turn for the worst when the friends find themselves being terrorized by an unknown killer.
What I find inspiring and unprecedented about this film is its comprisal of a mainly Latinx cast and crew, which is practically unheard of, especially in the horror genre.
Watch the virtual interview:
Gabrielle Bisaccia: What drew you to this role?
Jeanette Samano: For me, I got the audition from my manager and I read the script and I was like you know what, I have to play this role. And I didn’t know who was attached to it at the time and then I found out my friend Jose was attached to it and he was like oh my God that would be so cool if you played this character, he was the lead also and I booked the role and then magic just happened and everybody came together and made this horror film come to life!
Jordan Diambrini: When I got the audition at first it was just labeled ‘jock boyfriend’, so I thought maybe it was just another typical role that I would usually audition for, but when I actually got the call back it was explained what this movie was about and what it represented and it amazed me that it was more about sending a message of diversity as well as being a fun and awesome horror movie. But it was cool, and the message really captured me to be a part of it.
Kade Wise: Multiple reasons drew me to the project. I auditioned like any other ordinary audition I would have in the life of an actor and there was one friend I already knew was already cast in the film but that was about it. I had never done a horror movie before ‘Murder in the Woods’. This is my first ‘horrific’ experience and let me say I can’t wait for the next one! Because there is such a thrill about being there day to day on set and it’s a lot more than just analytically living a character’s circumstances, there is a lot more physicality that goes along with that as well. It was like a fun sport, a fun extra-curricular activity everyday for a month straight. That’s another reason it was fun to be a part of. But also, and mostly I would dare to say is the diversity aspect, the fact that every single character was portrayed by a person of color. It had this message that yes, people can look like this and play the leads in a movie, but still have a normal American slasher backdrop, so it was really nice to have that balance of all these kinds of worlds and elements. Very fun movie to be part of!
GB: What was it like working with a mainly Latinx cast and crew?
JS: Before jumping into it, I didn’t know it was going to be such a diverse group, so once I was a part the project, and I knew what I was getting involved in, I was so excited because that’s what I’m all about; that’s my message as well. We need to make sure that us Latinos are being put in a good light and I think now is the time for us to really shine and bring that to life.
JD: I just think it was fantastic to just to be a part of this group and this film, this piece of art that delivers such a beautiful message to the younger and older viewer of color that the non-stereotypical role is able to be played by them and it doesn’t just have to be the typical gangster, the jock or the cholo, you can actually be the lead role or the co-star and you don’t have to be the damsel in distress. This message of diversity is really clear in this film and I think it was just fantastic to be a part of and to help deliver it.
KW: I’m an immigrant, I was raised in the United States, I am an immigrant, nonetheless. To be part of a cast that was 110% diverse even in the crew, we had a very diverse crew as well, just to have that experience it felt like one of the few times in my life where I didn’t have to think about my own ethnicity, I got to just be and I got to just play, so that was very fun. I’m very humbled by that experience and proud to be part of it.
GB: What’s your favorite horror film?
JD: Yes, I can say that the recent film that came out two years ago starring Nicholas Cage called, ‘Mandy’, best Nicholas Cage performance, you guys should check it out!
JS: I mean for me, I cannot watch scary movies, I’ve never been a fan to be honest, but I love being in them!
KW: I like Halloween, the Halloween Series is great. I like scary movies. I like supernatural stuff, don’t get me wrong, but I like stuff where it’s just like humans that are just absolutely demented. Maybe a little spiritual backstory, some curse that happens, but I just love when it’s played by people who are just completely insane. It just makes it more realistic because I like more realistic horror films, but supernatural stuff works too!
GB: What was it like working with Danny Trejo?
KW: He’s amazing, he’s amazing, enough said!
JS: Yeah, he’s really down to earth, so humble and he’s all about his business. He’s all about getting to work and working with him was great! I definitely learned a lot from him for sure.
JD: It’s like working with one of my uncles!
Thank you so much to the cast for taking the time to speak with me about this new film!
Check out the trailer:
Check out Murder in the Woods, available on VOD later this month!