At Remy Grillo The Resurrection of Charles Manson comes at a time when popular culture’s obsession with cult leader Charles Manson appears to be having another resurgence, with books such as CHAOS by Tom O’Neill giving new insight into the enigma, and by Quentin Tarantino Once upon a time in Hollywood offering a revisionist account of the Manson family.
Although he is a graduate of the New York Film Academy and the son of the leading man, it hasn’t been easy for Remy to navigate.
“Everything that could have gone wrong was thrown at me,” shares Remy. “It took a lot of pivoting and figuring out how to turn things around in the face of obstacles.”
The Resurrection of Charles Manson follows a young couple who book a quaint Airbnb that also serves as the perfect backdrop for a Charles Manson movie audition tape. However, the dark events of the audition material slowly slip into their reality as they become intertwined in the sinister plot of an occult leader.
“I had originally met Josh Plasse (co-writer, producer and actor of the film) about the project about 6 months before becoming a director”, recalls Remy. “When their director dropped out, Josh gave me the opportunity to pitch in front of the producers.”
With the pitch and deliberation taking a month, this was perhaps the easiest part of the whole process.
“COVID was a big deal because you couldn’t do anything,” says Remy. “I mean, me and my cinematographer [Parker Tolifson] had some much needed prep time, but that was definitely the biggest hurdle.
Remy is not new to the executive chair. During his time at the New York Film Academy, he was able to not only direct various short films, but also dip his toes into other areas of the film production machine. Anyway, feature films are a whole other monster.
“I always tell people that my experience helps me a little bit, but feature films are a whole different animal,” he says. “I’m used to working with 2 or 3 days of filming and each taking on several roles. Here I had 2 weeks of shooting and a good amount of money. Which is great, but I didn’t realize how many decisions I was going to have to approve every day. »
The Grillo surname may sound familiar; Remy is the son of The purge actor Frank Grillo, who also plays Robert, a crazed follower of Manson, in the film.
Having your father, an exceptionally experienced actor, to guide you through the process can seem like a godsend. However, it is evident that Grillo Snr. was far from easy with his son.
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Frank Grillo said, “My son screened the rough cut of the film for me and my buddy Gavin O’Connor, who directed Warrior. And it was awful. This is possibly the worst movie I’ve seen in my life. »
This interview is still an important topic of discussion in Remy’s life.
“People often ask me if it was really as bad as he implied in the interview, and I say no, it was much worse,” laughs Remy. “It was the first cut, so I knew there would be problems. I had prepared myself for this to suck and in the end I was like ‘okay, I didn’t think it was okay to be so dumb.”
Despite his father’s initial reaction, Remy found the experience valuable in the long run.
“It was a great moment because I learned a lot and it made the movie so much better, but it was definitely a long night.”
And as for his father, Frank Grillo ended the interview by saying “to his credit he took all the notes and 4 months later he has a really great little movie.”
The Resurrection of Charles Manson is now available on digital platforms and on DVD