Jason Trost, the monocular madman behind The FP and All Superheroes Must Die, is set to release his third feature length-film, Wet and Reckless this Friday, August 9th via Vimeo’s On Demand service. The film (see our full review here!) is a savage satire of reality TV blended with elements of classic adventure and espionage film. Trost handled writing, directing, editing, and acting duties to bring Wet and Reckless to life, and shot on a micro-budget utilizing friends and family members as cast and crew. The film is a brilliant slice of guerilla-filmmaking, and I was happy to have the opportunity to talk with him about his experience creating Wet and Reckless, and to be tantalized with a few hints as to the possibility of sequels to The FP and All Superheroes Must Die.
Adam Barraclough: I watched the film last night, and I fucking loved it! How much shitty reality TV did you have to subject yourself to in order to prepare for this?
Jason Trost: Thanks! Glad you got it. Man, I watched so much shitty reality TV before making this movie. Long story short- I was living with a buddy who just sat on his couch and watched this shit 24 hours a day. It was disgusting. Then after watching every season of Jersey Shore I just couldn't take it anymore. I had to make my own. These shows are so cheap, I can make one of those!
CB: The first ten minutes are jam-packed with horribly awesome ideas for reality TV shows. Are there specific shows that you wanted to take a swipe at, or was the goal to just mercilessly skewer the genre as a whole?
Trost: There were so many ideas we had for the opening shows. The problem was choosing which ones to use. The one I'm really sad didn't make it into the movie was Phoneless where a bunch of people get thrown in the woods without their cell phones and they have to find their way back to civilization. Within the first day, the contestants resort to cannibalism. Maybe in the sequel, ha! But the shows we were making fun of for the first ten minutes are definitely modeled after Cheaters, The Real World, all those bullshit as-seen-on-TV workout infomercials, etc.
CB: Aside from reality TV, there are lots of other influences at work here. A definite Indiana Jones vibe, some buddy-cop banter- what other films or media were important to you in making this happen?
Trost: I'd say Indiana Jones and the Mission Impossible series (especially Ghost Protocol) were HEAVY influences. Basically we were like, "What would happen if Jersey Shore guys were secret agents going after treasure?" So basically we just throw around terms like "disavowed" and "mission compromised" a lot… while not really knowing what it means.
CB: Your character, The Lobo, nails so many of the prevailing alpha-male/douche-bro stereotypes and takes them to new extremes. Do you encounter those types of guys often? Where did The Lobo come from, in terms of influence and inspiration?
Trost: I grew up with these guys. I played football in high school. I grew up in The FP (Frazier Park). Everyone up there thinks they're an MMA fighter, they wear the Tapout gear, but they have guts. It's great. I think the biggest influence for me being The Lobo was my dad. Not because he was a douche, but he was super aggro, no bullshit. And well, as I mentioned earlier, I watched six seasons of Jersey Shore in a very short period of time which definitely didn't hurt.
CB: You seem to have gotten super buff for this role, and I feel compelled to let our readers know that your chiseled glutes make an appearance in Wet and Reckless. Do you credit your physical transformation solely to the high-intensity workout craze currently sweeping the nation known as "The Broom", or were there other forces at work?
Trost: It was all The Broom! Obviously! (Laughs) No, basically I wanted to be one of those guys that looks strong but wasn't super cut. So basically I just pumped a lot of iron and drank beer. I was definitely in "better" shape before we started filming, but it turns out you don't have much time to workout when you're directing, acting, editing and drinking all day. Maybe next time I'll just join Crossfit with all the other bros.
CB: Dollars and The Lobo offer some brilliant and cutting commentary on the culture of misogyny rampant in narcissistic self-obsessed reality TV. Were you ever worried about taking this too far, or worried about how the audience may react?
Trost: Yeah we were definitely concerned. But we knew the only way to show what big pieces of shit these types of people are we really had to ride the line and push it as much as possible. There are definitely some things that didn't make it into the movie because they were "too much". But in the end I definitely think the inclusion of Scout (Turbo) definitely helped balance it out.
CB: Lucas and Scout's characters are just as exaggerated The Lobo, albeit in different ways. How much of this was pre-planned and how much came to life as you all began to work together? How much were they responsible for the personalities of Toby and Sonya as we encounter them on-screen?
Trost: We pre-planned a lot. More than most people will ever believe. All of us were emulating not just reality TV characters but specific outlandish people we know in our everyday life. I find, when doing characters, it's always easier to impersonate someone you already know as opposed to starting from scratch. Things definitely escalated when we got booze in our system and as we started shooting though…
CB: It feels like you three really just cranked those characters up to "11" and let loose when the camera rolled. I'm guessing a lot of the dialogue is ad-lib and improvised; there is a real freshness and spontaneity to your interactions, particularly between you and Lucas. How important was scripting vs. a kind of method-ownership of the role?
Trost: This is the thing I'm most surprised about. At least 90% of this movie is exactly as it reads in the script. There really wasn't much improv at all. But everyone seems to think there is so, we'll take it! I kind of hate improv. Sometimes it can be done well, but it almost always just turns into pop culture references and dick jokes. And I don't think those jokes stand the test of time at all. Lucas and I have been best friends for years so we naturally have a ridiculous chemistry and we know exactly which people are being emulated and it's really a blast watching them argue.
CB: How often did all three of you just crack each other up to the point of needing to re-take?
Trost: There were a couple of incidents where that would happen for sure. But the whole Thailand portion of the shoot is a blur of pain. I remember I got food poisoning right in the middle of a take in the jungle, I'm pretty sure that take is in the movie, too. Right after, I went and puked on the side of a building and we just kept shooting. Thaila
CB: Editing is just as critical to the successful flow of Wet and Reckless as it is to any reality show. The graphic overlays, the green-screen confessionals, all of this contributes considerably to the effectiveness of the film. How much experience had you had with editing prior to this?
Trost: I've been editing since I was ten with my GI JOE films. Back when I had to do it on two VCR's. Editing is second nature to me now. My brother and I edited The FP. I edited All Superheroes Must Die. It just cuts out the middle-man when I can jump right in and edit.
CB: The soundtrack is just as integral and brilliant. The use of overdubbed sound effects; the sad foghorn, the record scratch, the police sirens, all of this highlights how reality TV overuses this clichéd technique to punch up the dialogue in post. Was this all your work?
Trost: Yeah. I made all the music in the movie except for two tracks where a guy sings. I think my "skills" as a composer only lend themselves to a project like this where the shittier your music is, the funnier it is.
CB: There is a song that plays about two-thirds of the way through, I'm assuming credited to Hugo Hans. It's a beautiful track, and though I realize you were consciously manipulating me with a heartfelt song and a sentimental montage, I found myself actually giving a shit and feeling some emotion towards these characters. What can you tell me about the track and how it came to be included?
Trost: It's a rad indie song that Hugo Hans (Zak Kimball) made. He also did the song that finishes the movie. He is a rad up-and-comer. Definitely made those scenes feel more "real". He’s a buddy I met through our mutual friend Patrick. I've been a fan of Hugo's for years. Finally I had a chance to use some of his music. Hopefully he can score all of my movies in the future. The guy is a genius and (works) super fast. He will be scoring All Superheroes Must Die 2 if that happens.
CB: Your sister, Sarah Trost, handled wardrobe and costuming, and once again she knocks it out of the goddamn park. From the uber-swagged tank-tops to the "Same Same" tees and your blinding white suit combo, I found myself laughing at how perfect everything was for those characters. But I have to know: whose idea was the golden eyepatch?
Trost: Yeah, she really is the best. Her costumes always bring a smile to my face. She actually gives a shit about color coordination and character and theme, unlike most costume designers. She also operated 75% of the camera for the movie, so she's a power house. The gold eyepatch was all her. She custom makes all my eyepatches. I even have a camouflage one which I love.
CB: Why Thailand?
Trost: It's super cheap and it ups your production value ten-fold. They also don't give a shit at all when you're running around with a camera without permission. It's like Disneyland for big kids. I've been going there for years, ever since I was a kid. I love it and it's super familiar to me.
CB: Good lord, it's fucking beautiful. Some of the footage in the film is just stunning. Were you able to take a moment to appreciate any of that or did the shooting schedule keep your focus elsewhere?
Trost: Thanks. Again, that is why you shoot in Thailand. We never really got a chance to truly kick back and enjoy it. We had too much work to do. I think we got a couple days to screw off at the end, but by that point we were just super exhausted. Eventually you just get to the point of "Great, another fucking waterfall? Let's go home."
CB: Partying is a big part of the PPD/Wet and Reckless lifestyle. You all look like you are legitimately enjoying the hell out of yourselves in those scenes! Did that ever get too out of control?
Trost: We usually kept our shit straight, but the one that scared me was the Full Moon Party. It's where about 10,000 travelers come from all over the world to this one beach on the island of Koh Phangan and get fucking annihilated. Which was a blast, but when you're trying to direct, drink and make sure the two women that were with us didn't get abducted, it gets pretty intense.
CB: I'm sure everyone you've talked to has asked about the craziest thing you encountered in Thailand. Are you tired of answering that question yet?
Trost: I thinks it's probably a tie between this gnarly king cobra show we saw where some little Thai dude literally shoved a king cobra's head into my crotch and laughed, and when we tried to shoot a scene on the beach and a herd of a hundred monkeys came running out of the jungle like Braveheart and started stealing our beer and medicine. Thailand is fucking ape shit.
CB: I have read a lot of reviews of your previous films, The FP and All Superheroes Must Die, and people seem to fall into two camps: Those who get it and those who don't. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I just don't understand people who say The FP is "…the worst movie of all time." I feel like they didn't even watch the same film I did. It's clearly satire (and brilliant at that). Is this ever frustrating? Did it play into your approach to Wet and Reckless?
Trost: It is definitely frustrating. They just don't get that it was a comedy. Which to me is weird. But oh well. I'd rather have people love or hate my films than just be in the middle of the road. Nothing is worse than spending two years on a movie to have someone go, "Meh, that was okay" and forget about it. At least when someone hates your movie they remember it. Hopefully people don't hate Wet and Reckless as much, but I'm sure they'll find something to hate. But oh well. That's the fun of it all.
CB: I want everybody I know to see this film, I felt the same way about The FP and have given away a few copies of the film to friends and recommended it constantly when it hit Netflix Instant. Outside of the VOD distribution model, do you have plans for a physical release or other ways of getting Wet and Reckless out there?
Trost: That's awesome! Please do. Every sale counts with this movie. And yeah, there are plans swirling around. We're trying this self-distribution model as an experiment to see if there's any life in an FP sequel. Eventually it will also go up on Amazon VOD as well. Then we'll do a limited run of DVDs and Blu-Rays down the road. Then hopefully someday, somewhere, the final frontier will be Netflix Streaming.
CB: Thanks for talking with me. I'm gonna throw on my Bitch Hunter tank-top and aviators, do some shots and go hit a foam party. Any parting comments?
Trost: Ha! That rules. That foam party would just happen every afternoon in the pool area of our hotel by the way. Good luck sleeping off a hangover with that going on. I guess just please checkout the movie at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wetandreckless and if you enjoy it tell all your
friends and family to get it as well. The future of The FP and Wet and Reckless series are in your hands!
Wet and Reckless hits Vimeo On Demand Friday August 9th.
Make sure to check out our full review of the film here now!
You can check out the trailer here:
And watch the first seven minutes of the film here:
At some point in the future he will likely appear on one of those shows that details how a person's addiction to purchasing and consuming media has ruined their life. Until then, his obsessions include sci-fi, horror and cartoons.
He can be found tweeting acerbically at @GentlemanSin.