Hello my little zombie snacks. I’m here again with Christopher Eilenstine Director, Writer and Executive Producer for the movie The Soulless. For the first part of the interview, click here. As we rejoin the interview, he’s telling us all about a new kind of zombie movie and why ‘The rules have changed.’
Marie Gilbert: So, does Soulless refer to the people who are immune or to the Zombes?
Christopher Eilenstine: When David (Jason Propst) and Nicole (Jennifer Teska) arrive at Sanctuary 9, they find a place that has a religious and moral leader named Reverend Troughton (Jeffrey Caplan). Basically Troughton accuses people, who are immune to the zombie attack, of being demons—ones who’ve died and were sent back without a soul. Therefore—‘The Soulless’. It’s supposed to be a derogatory term, but a military group, who has found themselves the protectors of Sanctuary 9, takes the title with pride. They take on the name ‘The Soulless’ as their kind of calling card, it’s a way of nudging Reverend Troughton for his disrespect. “It’s a kick ass name! So, we’ll take it” declares Sgt. Benton, the commander of the team.
Marie Gilbert: “I know we met through Joe Parascand who is an actor on The Soulless.”
Christopher Eilenstine: Yeah, he terrific and he plays Sgt. Benton and he’s actually the one who doesn’t like Troughton at all and who says, “Okay guys, we’re going to take this name ‘Soulless’ and run with it. It’s a kick ass name for a kick ass force; we’re going to use it.”
Marie Gilbert: So the military who are protecting the people, are they good or bad?
Christopher Eilenstine: I don’t have good or bad in this movie as much as people, with different methods, doing what they think are best. There’s a woman who calls herself the president, but in the end we find out that she is more a dictator; she took the role. Somebody says, “I didn’t vote for her.” And the main character, Dr. Ryker, says, “Well, nobody voted for her, she just liked the title; so she took it.”
And the military in this movie, some of them are quite blood thirsty. They’ll kill the Zombes without a second thought about whether it’s right or wrong to do so. The main character, David Peterson is always torn about whether it’s right to kill them or not. Like, do we kill every shark in the ocean because one bites a child? They’re just acting out on animal instincts in order to survive. It’s not a conscious, mindless desire to kill. I personally feel that kind of zombie is played out. If I have any criticism of “The Walking Dead” (which I think is a marvelous show) is that in terms of the zombies, themselves, they’ve really done nothing new and that the strength of “The Walking Dead” is the human drama. In terms of telling a new story, in terms of this genre, I would have to give it a failing grade. It’s just a very good human drama set in things that George Romero has already done.
I wanted to do something fresh, with a twist. Good science fiction, in my mind, will make you look at your moral consciousness in new ways, and I believe, The Soulless is going to do that for people.
Marie Gilbert: So, in The Soulless, your zombies will be portrayed differently?
Christopher Eilenstine: They will be evolving. They will be sympathetic. There are times that they are experimented on; sacrificed and abused. I want you to feel for them as characters. You know, when we went in and took over the United States from the Native American Indians, we did atrocious things, and there are things in our past that we’re not proud of. David Peterson is the moral center of the film. He struggles with these ideas throughout the years and he tries to impart that on his daughter, too.
Marie Gilbert: This is so interesting, and I’m really excited about promoting this movie. I like the whole premise of looking at zombie movies, differently.
Christopher Eilenstine: I want everybody to look at not only the zombie genre differently, but I want them to look at their own beliefs; respecting others and other peoples’ beliefs. One of the most important themes in the show is the science vs. religion aspect, and whether they are in as much conflict as we think. If we think that we understand everything right now; we’re as stupid as thinking that they knew everything when they thought the earth was flat; we have a lot to learn. There are certain things we know can’t happen because of science or certain levels that we are, now; but we don’t know what can happen. That’s part of the tone of the movie, too. There’s a Dr. Ryker, a scientist that wanted to release the cure all, and instead, his demented partner released the genetic reboot. Ryker’s constantly, dealing with this science vs. religious aspect. And he and the Troughton character are always at odds, but in the end, they’re kind of saying the same things—and each wanting what is best for humanity.
Marie Gilbert: I know you’re working on other films. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on?
Christopher Eilenstine: A film I did about a year and a half ago; it got taken out of my hands, towards the end of it, is finally coming out called, Demon Hunters, and I really don’t know what the finished result is like, so I’m waiting to see that. Then, with the current producers of The Soulless, I did a film called MacGuffin, which is an Alfred Hitchcock satire, that is being edited now, and Soulless will occupy me completely through next year (or years hopefully). I’m going to produce and possible direct another film called, Dahkranon Rising, which is now called, Victim 17, which is kind of a Blair Witch Project set in a house during a film competition where fourteen film makers are brought to a house to make a movie and they’re all trapped inside the house by a cult and told to document the coming of their lord, and you’re alive as long as you have film to shoot. Slowly, but surely, they begin to run out of film and begin to kill each other off for their batteries and film. It’s a good view of humanity and it also plays on the aspect that there is something supernatural happening; or not. It’s all set in one evening in this house; all Blair Witch style with a hand held camera. It’s a very intriguing story because I love to play with the idea of whether something is supernatural or not. It’s best not to give too much away.
Marie Gilbert: I want to thank you for your interview. Is there anything else that you would like to tell our Biff Bam Pop! readers?
Christopher Eilenstine: I would like to mention some of the cast and crew of The Soulless: Jason Propst is playing David Peterson; Jennifer Teska is playing Nicole Peterson at age 24, in the last half of the film; Kaylin Iannone is playing Nicole Peterson at age 12 in the first half; Michael Chartier is playing Dr. Ryker; Jeff Caplan is Reverend Troughton; I’ve produced the series with Bob Cleary, Stephen Hirsekorn, and Russ Bucci. Look for it on the Syfy channel—or wherever it may land. I’m crossing my fingers, but I have very high hopes for The Soulless. It has become a marvelous project.
Marie Gilbert: I’ll be crossing my fingers, too. I’ll be looking for this show on the Syfy Channel, and then, I can do the reviews of the shows for Biff Bam Pop!.
Christopher Eilenstine: Sounds good, Marie, I’ll be looking forward to those too and I cannot wait to show Biff Bam Pop’s readers the results of all of our work.
There you have it my little zombie snacks; everything you need to know on the next great zombie series from director, Christopher Eilenstine. I’m on board for The Soulless! It sounds like a terrific show!