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Interview: Filmmaker Mark Jones talks ‘Scorned,’ ‘Leprechaun,’ and more

On Feb. 6, the Chico Movie Examiner conducted an over-the-phone interview with filmmaker Mark Jones about his new thriller, “Scorned,” which released to Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday Feb. 4.

'Scorned' poster
Anchor Bay Entertainment

One of the worst things a man can experience is a woman scorned. And Kevin (Billy Zane) finds that out the hard way, when his girlfriend, Sadie (AnnaLyne McCord), discovers that he has been having an affair with her best friend, Jennifer (Viva Bianca). During what is supposed to be a romantic, getaway weekend, Sadie goes from a beautiful, loving girlfriend, to a crazy, vengeful woman.

Jones talks about “Scorned”; his previous projects; and what he has in store next for “Leprechaun” fans. Check out the full interview below.

David Wangberg: I just got done talking to Sadie [Katz], but I forgot to ask her this question. Was this originally a collaboration between you two, or did Sadie approach you about it and then it became a collaboration?

Mark Jones: Sadie and I have been friends for years. And we were talking about relationships and commiserating and talked about people being caught with their texts – if they didn’t erase their texts, they’d get caught doing nefarious things. We just sort of came up and said, “Let’s write a movie on this.” We kind of sat down, had a couple of glasses of wine, and started writing it. And it became more and more fun, and we just kept going, and we ended up with a script very quickly.

DW: I know that she talked about how you two had relationships in the past that were kind of brought into this [script].

MJ: Right.

DW: But none of the ones that you had were as bad as this, correct? Or did you have one that was close to what is experienced here?

MJ: [laughs] Well, I have had a key mark on my car – I’ll go that far. Not quite as bad as this, but I’ve dated an awful lot of women and so I think I pulled a little bit from everybody, but it was mostly imagination. I’m happy to say I haven’t been dealt with that tough of women in my life. It was a lot of creativity.

DW: In the film, there’s a part where Sadie mentions that she doesn’t like driving by the prison every day. It gives her the creeps. Is there something that you drive by every day that gives you the creeps?

MJ: [laughs] Actually, no. We shot in Ohio, and there was a prison that we were driving by [while] going to the location. And that was something that was actually in production. I do rewrites as I’m shooting, and that’s the advantage of being a writer and director. And I said, “You know what? Let’s get a helicopter and take a shot of that prison.” And that was sort of an ad-lib in the production.

DW: I know that, in your filmography, you’ve done more writing than you have directing. What is it that draws you more to be a writer than to be a director?

MJ: Well, I started as a writer, obviously, in animation and in television. And, as a writer, you become a producer – you get boosted up, but you’re still really a writer. To me, that’s true creation, and that’s the hardest work. Directing is the most fun, but [with] writing, you really feel like you’ve accomplished it. If you’ve written a script, that’s the hard work. I’ve been successful as a writer. I write what I direct, and I think there are certain things that are fun to direct, but writing [is something] I always fall back to, because it’s something I can do. And a lot of times, I’ll get an assignment to write something, and I’m not involved as the director. To me, really, I’m a writer first. I think that’s the most important thing for writing.

DW: For “Scorned,” this is a different film than what many might know you from. You did “Leprechaun” and “Rumpelstiltskin” and a couple of those other ones. What were the challenges of doing “Scorned” compared to the challenges of doing “Leprechaun” and “Rumpelstiltskin?”

MJ: In some ways, it was easier. Making a picture is never easy. But I didn’t have to deal with three hours of prosthetics and things like that. But “Scorned,” it was more of an actor’s piece. I mean, it’s still a picture [that is] not to be taken seriously. We had a lot of fun with it, but it’s more adult – I guess you could say – more of a thriller than an absolute horror movie. It was all about the script and the dialogue, and it was a little change-up. I’m kind of eclectic. I go from “Scooby Doo” cartoons to “The A-Team” to horror movies. I’m sort of kind of diverse, and I don’t really just like to stick with one thematic thing.

DW: What was it that made you guys want to make [“Scorned”] a little bit more goofy than a straight, serious thriller?

MJ: Well, first of all, I never take myself seriously. I feel always humble that I’m even allowed to make a living in the business, and I love doing it. I tend to have a wicked sense of humor, and Sadie does, too. And I just think you have to have a little fun. Don’t take it so seriously. We’re not doing “Gone with the Wind,” and I’m certainly not dealing with an $80 million budget. So, I want people to know we’re having a little bit of fun, and I like to put the weird, kind of twisted stuff into movies. It’s just fun to do.

DW: Now, you mentioned that you were one of the writers for not just “The A-Team,” but… what was the cartoon you mentioned?

MJ: “Scooby Doo?”

DW: Yeah, “Scooby Doo.” Sorry. You did “Scooby Doo,” and you also did “Wild West C.O.W.-boys of Moo Mesa.” What is it that you like about writing for cartoons?

MJ: Well, I started in cartoons, and it was a great start for me. I loved animation. I actually wanted to be an animator, but I wasn’t a good enough artist. The artist always said, “Don’t be an artist; don’t be an animator. Become a writer – that’s where the power is.” So, I stayed in television. My pet peeve in IMDb is they don’t list… they’re not quite 100 percent accurate. I wrote pilots for a lot of shows, and they just have you listed as a writer [for] one episode. They don’t necessarily have a category for pilot, but I developed and wrote the pilots for about eight Saturday morning shows – the “Mister T” cartoon show; “Turbo Teen”; “The Puppy’s Further Adventures”; and “Rubik, the Amazing Cube.” So, I had a great success in animation, and I just have a fondness for it. I like doing it. The last two I did [were] the pilots for “Sky Surfer Strike Force” and “Mega Man.” Those were the last two I did. I think those were in the late 90s. You get better residual checks in live action.

DW: You mentioned IMDb and its inaccuracy. But, for me, as a reporter, I have to get [the information] from the source itself. The first thing I go to is IMDb, but then, I have to have someone correct it for me.

MJ: Yeah, it’s funny, because I’ve never put anything on [IMDb]. And people say, “Get in there and correct your credits.” I wrote the “Werewolf” series, which was a Fox show in [1987], and they don’t even list it – I did five episodes. I have that little pet peeve, and then I know many people, who put things in IMDb, and they never did them, or they never got made, and they still get the credit. It’s always good to go to the source.

DW: In “Scorned,” there’s a part where Sadie discovers that her boyfriend is having an affair [and] she goes to have a clove. When you had a bad breakup, what is one thing that you do to immediately calm yourself down?

MJ: Me, I’m a cigar smoker. [laughs] So, probably, a little bit of scotch and a good cigar will calm me down. I am also a realist, and I don’t linger, and I try not to let things affect me. I always just sort of move on.

DW: I’ve got one more question for you in regards to “Leprechaun.” I saw they’re coming out with a new one, “Leprechaun: Origins.” Are you not attached to it?

MJ: [laughs] Financially, I am, but outside of that, no. They’re going in a little different direction; they’re not using Warwick Davis. They’re using [Hornswoggle] from WWE, and they’re going in a little different direction. But I can give you a scoop. I’ve come up with a new horror franchise to – not to go against them – but I figured that if they’re doing their picture, I figured I have room for another one. It’s basically a vampire that bites a leprechaun and turns him into a vamprechaun.

DW: [laughs]

MJ: And now you’ve got a little vampire that bites your ankles instead of your neck, because he can’t reach it. But he has beautiful, six-foot-tall women, and it’s a comedy-horror. And I’d love to see if Warwick Davis could be involved with that, and I have had discussions with him. So, we might come up with a new horror franchise, since they’re not using Warwick in the new “Leprechaun.”

DW: That would be awesome. Now, if they did invite you back to do the “Leprechaun” franchise to get your take on it or to do the script, would you go back to it?

MJ: Sure. I love it. I have a fond memory. But studios always do this. The creator does the original and makes it work, and for some reason, they never think I had anything to do with why people like “Leprechaun.” They always think they can get better people, and they can do it better. I had to fight for Jennifer Aniston to be in the original “Leprechaun,” and they didn’t want her; they wanted somebody else. And I had to really fight. There are some stories about that. I kind of tricked the studio into taking her by saying I was going to bleach her hair, and I didn’t. We just started shooting, and by that time, it was too late to do anything. And yet, after “Leprechaun” became a big hit, all the executives at parties and things would say, “Yeah, boy, we really knew – that Jennifer.” And it’s like, “No, you didn’t. You kept forgetting you didn’t want her.” These are the stories all of us have, so I don’t have any resentment. I think the first “Leprechaun” had a charm that I hope they continue, and I hope their new “Leprechaun” is a big hit. But I figure, until they invite me to do the new “Leprechaun,” I’ll do “Vamprechaun,” and it’ll be a bigger hit than their “Leprechaun,” and then they’ll wish they had asked me.

DW: That does it for me, Mark, unless you wanted to add anything about “Scorned,” “Leprechaun,” or anything else you’ve done.

MJ: No, listen, I’m just always amazed the fans will find pictures and then some people will hate the picture and some people will love the picture, and then they fight with each other on the Internet over it. I’m just so happy that people are talking to me about a movie. I’d rather have people say I did a bad movie than someone say I’m a great shoe salesman. So, I have a very good attitude, and I don’t take myself seriously, and I have fun.

This concludes the interview, but the Chico Movie Examiner would like to thank Mark Jones for taking the time to talk about “Scorned,” “Leprechaun,” and his other projects.

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