Is Wolf Hound one of the most ambitious independent films ever made? It’s a question worth asking. This death-defying thriller from director Michael Chait, alongside the VFX expertise of Turncoat Pictures and a talented Midwest cast and crew, is now available for your viewing pleasure on digital worldwide. Michael stopped by for a thoroughly entertaining round of Five Questions with SCREEN. Let’s get to it!
SCREEN: Thanks for stopping by, Michael! What will viewers enjoy most about WOLF HOUND?
MICHAEL: Two things:
1. The aerial action sequences were filmed for real, using authentic WWII Bombers & Fighters thanks to The Yankee Air Museum, The Military Aviation Museum, & our Aerial Coordinator/Lead Pilot Craig Hosking (he did “Dunkirk” with Christopher Nolan)
2. I’m a humongous fan of 80s/90s action movies, especially from James Cameron, John Woo, Tony & Ridley Scott, John McTiernan, Russell Mulcahy, & Michael Bay (“The Rock” (1996) made me want to Direct Movies when I was 12 years old!) I’ve never seen a WWII movie done in that kind of style; we worked tirelessly to mix that with the “classical war movie” style from the golden age of Hollywood to create something exciting & new.
And now, here is your first look at Wolf Hound…
SCREEN: If you could bring back any canceled TV show in history, what would it be?
MICHAEL: “Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future” from 1987. “Captain Power” was one of the first live action TV Shows I remember seeing as a kid, it was a Saturday morning “Cartoon” show but they shot on 35mm Film & treated everything like a big budget Movie, each episode cost 1M! It takes place in a dystopian future in a high tech, glossy yet emotive world, big budget action, integrating CG which was still in its infancy, telling more adult, harder hitting stories than most parents cared for. Even today, it looks/feels like a larger scale movie, but was canceled after 1 season due to the high budget. I actually wouldn’t mind Directing a Movie version if I was allowed to!
Ok Michael, this trip back to 1987 is for you! Say hello again to Captain Powerrrrrrr!
SCREEN: One meal, one restaurant, and we’re buying. What will it be?
MICHAEL: While I’m tempted to say a Filet Mignon from Wildfire, I’m going with “The Classic” which is mentioned by James Maslow in a Deleted Scene from “Wolf Hound” on the Apple TV, Blu-Ray & DVD versions with the Special Features – Corned Beef Sandwich, extra lean & shaved on rye, fries, a New Dill Pickle on the side, & a Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, from The Eleven City Diner next to the Columbia College Chicago Film Building in the South Loop of Chicago!
SCREEN: Your most prized possession?
MICHAEL: I was going to say my first Sony MiniDV Camcorder I bought in 1997 at 13 years old with my Bar Mitzvah money, but that’s not accurate. Either whatever my current still photo camera & lenses are, as photography is one of my favorite hobbies in between film shoots, or, even though this isn’t a tangible material thing, knowing that this year, at 37 years old my first feature film was released nationwide by Lionsgate. My Family & Friends mean the most to me by far, but that was such a humongous, meaningful goal I’ve worked towards for so long, it’s surreal that it’s actually accomplished!
SCREEN: Your greatest athletic achievement?
MICHAEL: This isn’t sports-related, in 2005 I was Directing a Short Film, action/adventure with hardly any budget but lots of favors. In one scene, a private jet the heroes were trapped in had to dive straight toward the ground, remote controlled by the villain in a James Bond sort of way. I was operating an Arri BL4S with a 25-250 Angenieux zoom lens looking out the cockpit. The Pilot, having some “fun” with me, did a Wingover Aerobatic Maneuver, flipping the jet upside-down then diving straight toward the Earth. I was standing, we pulled 4 – 6 G’s, my vision experienced a greyout so I couldn’t see, but because this was 35mm Film I knew I had to keep my eye on the eyepiece or the shot would be ruined with a light leak, which I successfully did!
SCREEN: Strangest job ever?
MICHAEL: In 2000, I was 16 & a Junior in High School. The movie “Hardball” (2001) starring Keanu Reeves was filming 2 nights in Downtown Detroit (I grew up in the Metro Detroit Suburbs) Brian Robbins, now President/CEO of Paramount, was Directing, & I had come to be one of hundreds of extras. They were looking to cast/upgrade 2 extras to very small parts, 1 with a line of dialogue, so Brian auditioned a dozen guys. Due mostly to luck & chutzpah that my 16 year old self showed, I got the part! I had a one line role talking to Keanu & John Hawkes, while driving Brian Robbins crazy with my “enthusiasm” of being on a real movie set. I got my SAG Card & I’m in the Movie for about 17ish seconds!
Here’s that trailer from Hardball, and you’ll have to buy the DVD (or VHS) to enjoy Michael’s cameo…
SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given in your own career?
MICHAEL: In 2002 when I was a freshman at Columbia College Chicago, I met Sam Raimi on the Chicago shoot of “Spider-Man II” (2004) I’m a huge Raimi fan, & he told me how being in film school must be an amazing, creative & great experience, in a way that seemed like he was almost envious to go back there. I thought, “is he nuts?! He’s Directing a 200M Movie!!!” Sam said use that time wisely, creatively experiment, find my style, make mistakes, & grow/refine myself as a Director before being in the real world. After graduating in 2006 & starting to Direct Commercials, I quickly realized how right he was! Also, I met some of my best friends/closest collaborators in film school: writer/producer Timothy Ritchey, DP Wes Gathright, Composer Michael Kramer, Editor Janina Maria, VFX Supervisor/producer Ryan Urban of Turncoat Pictures in Chicago, I couldn’t have made “Wolf Hound” without them!
Thanks for playing, Michael! Wolf Hound is now available for your viewing pleasure on digital worldwide, click here to enjoy it.
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