Future cult classics come to Portland

Everyone loves to quote films: People may say they hate it, but everyone does it. No one has made more quotable movies than Jason Trost, the current kingpin of cult. Mark my words, his movies will go viral.

Photo courtesy of Jason Trost.
Photo courtesy of Jason Trost.

Everyone loves to quote films: People may say they hate it, but everyone does it. No one has made more quotable movies than Jason Trost, the current kingpin of cult. Mark my words, his movies will go viral.

Modest up-and-coming director, writer, cinematographer and actor—what hasn’t this guy done?—Trost is coming to Portland to shoot a new project. Fans got wind of Trost’s visit and joined forces to screen his newest release, All Superheroes Must Die. Without the grassroots support, the film wouldn’t be playing in town.

Made under a crunching two-month deadline, All Superheroes Must Die pays homage to old-school comic book aesthetics along with some horror-movie gore. Since I’ve only seen the trailer, I can’t say much about the film except that I’m excited to watch it.

I bet you’re wondering what it’s about. Previously defeated super-villain Rickshaw (James Remar, Dexter) diabolically disarms the superpowers of Cutthroat (Lucas Till, X-Men: First Class), The Wall (Lee Valmassy, The FP), Charge (Jason Trost, The FP), and Shadow (Sophie Merkley). If they don’t play by his rules, everyone dies—including the entire city.

Trost will present the Portland premiere of All Superheroes Must Die at Mt. Tabor Theater on Jan. 23, followed by the award-winning film he codirected (with his brother Brandon) and starred in, The FP. A Q-and-A will take place after each film, during which Trost will show exclusive clips from his new film #WetAndReckless.

Awesomely enough, Trost actually interacts with fans, and that’s just one way he inadvertently (or maybe deliberately, I didn’t ask) defies Hollywood. Instead of making assumptions about what people want, he searches for inventive ways to capture what he thinks hasn’t been executed on film yet.

I couldn’t believe Trost was so approachable: All I did was send him a quick instant message and—bam!—interview underway. Artists from all mediums should follow his lead and be, well, nice.

Trost and I did some online chatting, AOL Instant Messenger-style, to discuss his films and his filmmaking philosophy.

Vanguard: Yo, JTRO, sup?

Jason Trost: What’s up—I’m just waking up after an interesting Friday night.

Vanguard: What happened?

Jason Trost: I just had one too many drinks and watched the first half of Les Mis for the fifth time. Russell Crowe is a comedic genius!

Vanguard: Only the first half? And five times? I haven’t seen it yet.

Jason Trost:
Yeah, I have one of those SAG screeners, and I can only make it through the first half because I’m usually too drunk by the time I make it to the second half.

The movie is that funny to me. I finally understand what it’s like when people watch The FP for the first time; it makes no sense, but I’m addicted to its absurdity.

Vanguard: LOL! So All Superheroes Must Die was recently picked up by Image Entertainment, and you changed the name from VS to All Superheroes Must Die. Why VS? And how do you feel by the name change?

Jason Trost:
It happens a lot when you get a distributor. They feel if your title starts with a letter lower in the alphabet, you have better chance of impulse buys on VOD because it’s the first thing people see. That’s what happened to us.

It was originally called VS because that’s just exactly what the movie is—man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. his environment, et cetera.

Vanguard: A lot of backstory is known about The FP. Can you tell fans more about All Superheroes Must Die and #WetAndReckless? Any history behind these films?

Jason Trost: Yeah, I’ve pretty much beat The FP horse to death, especially after the commentary and behind the scenes. Ha.

All Superheroes Must Die was an interesting thing. I was 23, it was 2010 and The FP was still in limbo [as to whether] it was ever going to come out. I found out that I had access to a very small sum of money ($20,000), but I only had two months to use it. So I had to come up with an idea, write the script, plan the movie and shoot the movie all in that time period.

At that point, it started to really look like The FP would never come out, so I had to do it. It was brutal because I definitely could/should have thought of a cheaper idea, but I’m proud of how it came out in the end and really impressed I pulled something off. Especially when considering our budget is literally half the weekly cost of the helicopter that the director of X-Men: First Class demanded have fly him to and from set every day.

#WetAndReckless was a similar scenario (we even raised money on Indiegogo), and we went into production before The FP was released.

So, basically, all these movies are me just cleaning out the shed. Can’t wait to finally start on my first actual post-The FP movie.

Vanguard: You’ve mentioned movies like The Warriors and Mortal Kombat were an influence on The FP, but what about Cool As Ice? Or am I tripping?

Jason Trost: You are definitely tripping. I had never seen that movie before I made The FP. Makes sense in retrospect, though.

Vanguard: When asked to describe your film style I blurted out, “This guy is making the current new wave of cult classics.” Are you deliberately setting out to make cult films?

Jason Trost: Well, thanks! But I never set out to make cult movies. I think that’s impossible. It’s up to fans to decide if it’s a cult movie, not me. I just try and make things that I want to see or things that haven’t been done before—whether they should be or not is another question entirely.

I think when you start trying to make movies for other people, that is when your career falls apart. I know what I want; I can never pretend to know what anyone else wants, that’s impossible.

Vanguard: Yeah, I can see how it’s impossible to purposely achieve cult status.

The FP has two more parts, which means two more films in the making. Where are you at on production for those right now? I think I read somewhere that you started writing a script fairly recently?

Jason Trost: The FP has three more parts, to be technical. I’ve been writing treatments for them on and off since I was 20. But, unfortunately, the first movie bombed, initially, so we’ll have to wait for the movie to make the financiers’ very modest budget back someday, or I’ll have to wait until I accidentally get rich and fund the movies myself and use them as a tax write-off. It’s a shame because part two is such a better, crazier movie than part one. Some day…

Vanguard: Why the eye patch?

Jason Trost: It was a suggestion my brother had when I was in ninth grade because we both loved Escape from New York. I’m blind in one eye, so I went with it. It’s way cooler than the contrary.

Vanguard: So you just happened to schedule a screening here in Portland because you were visiting anyway—what’s initially bringing you here?

Jason Trost presents a screening of his films
All Superheroes Must Die and The FP
Wed. Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Q-and-A and sneak peek of #WetAndReckless to follow each film
This event is free and open to those over the age of 21

Jason Trost: The screening at Mt. Tabor Theater came about randomly, and I’m so happy it did. Some rad people on my fan page heard I was coming up and offered me a chance to show some movies, which I love doing.

I’ll be in town because I’m doing some camera tests for a movie I hope to shoot in Portland this year, which may or may not be the sequel to All Superheroes Must Die. I just love Portland. I have a lot of friends up there. I’d live there in a second if it was a little closer to LA.

Vanguard: Filming in Portland? That’s rad! You’ll have to let us know when you find out more!

Jason Trost: Yeah. I love Portland and have been trying to shoot something up there for a while. Fingers crossed it works out.

Vanguard: Anything else you wanna say?

Jason Trost:
Basically, I just love Portland and I’m psyched I get to share my movies and drinks with people I love and respect.

Vanguard: Thanks again for chatting. See you on the 23rd!

Jason Trost: Can’t wait to hang and see everyone!

You can meet Trost in person and catch a double feature of his films on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Mt. Tabor Theater’s lounge at 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd.