EXCLUSIVE:Rim of The World Writer Zack Stentz talks about the film, Marvel, Summer Camp and Aliens

Get ready to return to summer camp because that is exactly what will happen this Friday when Rim of the World will premiere on Netflix. On this movie, four teenagers that are on a summer camp vacation must save the world from an alien invasion. They all must band together to give the aliens a much deserved defeat so they can live to tell the tale when they go back to school in the fall. The movie stars Jack Gore, Benjamin Flores Jr., Andrew Bachelor, Miya Ceth, and Alessio Scalzotto and is directed by Mcg. The film is written by Zack Stentz who is known for his work on Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor, X-Men: First Class, and The Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles. I got a chance to speak with him for a few minutes about the film along with his previous work as well in this great interview below.

You have many movies under your name such as X-Men: First Class, Marvel’s Thor, and Agent Cody Banks along with The Flash television show. How does it feel to see your work on those series with those larger than life characters play on screen and was there any high pressure on you and Ashley Edward Miller at all to write those characters that we have seen over the years? 

Zack: There is nothing like the rush of something that once existed only in your imagination or as pixels on a screen appear 30 feet tall in a darkened theater. And there was HUGE pressure on me and Ash on the Marvel films. Thor was considered a huge gamble at the time (a space viking with a magic hammer??) and with X-Men First Class we only had 10 days to write a script that could get a greenlight from a director. But sometimes insane pressure like that results in your best work!

Oh my! 10 days for that script for X-Men? I can imagine how stressful it is. But the finished product turned out great as I did actually liked that film. Going back to the early stages of the development of Thor, Do you have any funny stories of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston during your time writing Thor? And also, it was recently announced that Chris Hemsworth will star in the upcoming Hulk Hogan biopic. What was your reaction to that news when it broke? 

Zack: Honestly, I didn’t interact a lot with Hemsworth or Hiddleston during filming, though whenever I see either of them they’re lovely and being embraced by Hemsworth is like being hugged by a friendly oak tree. I think he’s a terrific actor though I’m not keen to see him play Hulk Hogan, especially given the sleaziness and racism that are now attached to Hogan because of that leaked tape. 

So that means that the upcoming Hulk Hogan film will not do it for you. I do believe that there will be backlash about the film one way or another. But that is absolutely great that both of them interacted with you! Now on to Rim Of The World. How did this film started and how many ideas went through your head before the casting of the actors even begun?

Zack: I wrote the original script back in 2016 and it was completed in a form pretty close to what you’ll see onscreen long before the young actors were cast. We were really delighted with all four of the kids, who are very close to what I envisioned. Zhenzhen is a little younger than I first imagined and Dariush was originally written as Iranian-American but Benji Flores came in and gave such an incredible audition that we rewrote the character to be half-black and half-Persian to more closely reflect his ethnicity. 

How long did it take for the kids to get in character if you have seen them act their scenes on set? and based on what I seen on the trailer, summer camp with an alien invasion is a nice twist. Was summer camp always the setting you had in mind when you were going through the script in your head? And have you ever went to summer camp when you were younger?

Zack: The kids did a lot of rehearsals and lived together at a hotel resort up near Mammoth Lakes for the first week of shooting, where they got a chance to really bond and get into character for the film. And yes, the premise of the film was summer camp + alien invasion from the start, because the camp environment seemed like a natural place to get kids away from adult supervision so they could have their own adventure. And the alien invasion took away their smart phones and other technology so they were even more knocked out of their comfort zones!

That is great that they all got along during the production of the film. Now since this will be up on Netflix in a few days, were there any scenes that you had in your script that were filmed that got cut from the final version of the film? And If those were your kids on a summer camp trip that turned into an alien invasion, would you believe them if they told you that it happened the same way as the film?

Zack: A few scenes were cut from the original script before filming and we filmed a lot of improvisational comedy especially during the summer camp sense where we let the actors go on anon but only used a little bit of it. Especially when the humor got a little too raunchy for a family movie. And if my kids were caught at summer camp in the middle of an alien invasion I would be happy if they were a quarter is smart and resourceful as our heroes of the movie!

Rim of the World will premiere worldwide on May 24th, 2019 on Netflix! Be sure to check it out.

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Fear The Walking Dead comes to the IFC Center for the Split Screen Festival

New York, May 22, 2019 – IFC Center, home to DOC NYC — the largest documentary festival in the US — unveiled its final lineup for the third annual Split Screens TV Festival taking place Wednesday, May 29 through Monday, June 3, 2019, at NYC’s IFC Center. The 2019 program, celebrating the art and craft of storytelling, puts a spotlight on wide-ranging themes including identity, the mystery of existence itself, dystopian realities and alternate timelines, and invites fans to enjoy screenings and events that transport us into any number of time periods and places, be it a late-1800s South Dakota town or the tensions of New York City at the end of the 1980s.

Tickets to the public are on sale (www.splitscreensfestival.com) for exclusive screenings and compelling panel conversations featuring the biggest and boldest names in scripted content, both in front of and behind the camera. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @SplitScreensTV.

For the third edition of the event, notable Salon TV critic Melanie McFarland was named Co-Creative Director, joining founding Co-Creative Director Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine’s TV critic and best-selling author. The festival will once again be anchored by four signature pillars: PREMIERES, an opportunity for audiences to be among the first to screen anticipated season premieres and finales; CLOSE-UP, conversations with celebrated actors and creatives; TV TALK, an exploration of content’s cultural impact through the lens of superfans, pop culture writers and experts; and REWIND, a closer look at an iconic episode of TV; plus a number of SPECIAL EVENTS.

Festival highlights include: close-up conversations with Pamela Adlon, executive producer, writer, director and star of FX’s Better Things; William Jackson Harper, star of the philosophy-themed NBC comedy The Good PlaceChristopher Abbott, star of Hulu’s critically acclaimed Catch-22; a deep dive into the art of the paranoid thriller with Sam Esmail, creator of USA’s Mr. Robot and director of Amazon’s Homecoming, with a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut; and Leslye Headland, co-creator and co-executive producer of Netflix’s hit series Russian Doll, who will anchor a panel of creative professionals  who helped bring the world of Russian Doll to life. 

Festival attendees will also enjoy Deadwood: The Movie, a chance to experience the epic conclusion of HBO’s legendary Western series on the big screen along with a half-hour Deadwood companion doc written by Matt Zoller Seitz, followed by a discussion with stars Robin Weigert (on stage) and Ian McShane (live via satellite); a closer look into a breakout episode from season one of The Twilight Zone, CBS All Access’ re-imagining of the classic anthology series (followed by a conversation with actress Sanaa Lathan and screenwriter Selwyn Seyfu Hinds); an advance screening of the season 3 premiere of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale; a sneak preview of When They See Us, Ava DuVernay’s highly anticipated Central Park 5 Netflix miniseries;  the season 1 finale of Cinemax’s Warrior; a live-watch of the fifth season premiere of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and panel featuring actors Jenna Elfman, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia and Austin Amelio, along with Exec Producer Scott M. Gimple, and Chief Content Officer of the Walking Dead Universe; an advance screening of the season 2 premiere of CBS’s Instinct with co-stars Alan Cumming & Bojana Novakovic; a conversation with key cast and creative talent of OWN’sQueen Sugar, following an advance screening of the season 4 premiere;  (S)heroes: Women of Action!, a fan appreciation panel of influential female characters; and a conversation with noted TV critics about how the age of streaming has transformed the craft of storytelling.

Split Screens Festival is produced and presented by IFC Center, one of New York’s leading independent cinemas, and is organized by the core team of its successful DOC NYC documentary film festival, including Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen, Director of Development Deborah Rudolph and Operations Director Dana Krieger. Collaborating with broadcasters, cable networks and streaming services, the festival will highlight great content from a range of platforms to bring together the creative talent behind TV’s most acclaimed shows and sophisticated New York audiences.

Split Screens Festival is made possible by Event Sponsors FX and National Geographic; Friends of the Festival include Essentia, PTEX and Wheelhouse Creative.

Venue and Ticket information:

·         All festival events take place at IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. (at West 3rd St), with the exception ofDeadwood: The Movie on May 31, which screens at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St.

·         Tickets for all events are available online at splitscreensfestival.com or at the IFC Center box office, open daily 10:30am-10:00pm. Same-day tickets for Deadwood: The Movie will also be available at the SVA Theatre box office starting at 6:30pm on May 31.

·         Tickets for the TV Talk events on June 1 are $12 general admission / $9 IFC Center members

·         Tickets for all other festival events are $17 general admission / $14 IFC Center members

·         A discounted 3-ticket pack is available for $40/$35 IFC Center members.

8:15 PM – Fear the Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere (AMC) – SPECIAL EVENT

In attendance: Actors Jenna Elfman, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia and Austin Amelio, and Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer of Fear the Walking Dead and Chief Content Officer of the Walking Dead Universe

Join us for a live screening of the season 5 premiere, followed by a conversation with the cast and executive producer.

As AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead enters Season 5, with a powerful ensemble including Lennie James, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia, Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace, Jenna Elfman, Alexa Nisenson, Austin Amelio, Ruben Blades and Karen David, its core characters’ mission is clear: locate survivors and help make what’s left of the world a slightly better place. With dogged determination, Morgan Jones (James) leads the group with a philosophy rooted in benevolence, community and hope. Each character believes that helping others will allow them to make up for the wrongs of their pasts. But their mission of helping others will be put to the ultimate test when the group finds themselves in uncharted territory, one which will force them to face their fears and perhaps discover an entirely new way to live.

Fear the Walking Dead is produced by AMC Studios.