Interview: Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc of The Victim

Michael Biehn and Jennifer BlancThe 2011 grindhouse-styled thriller The Victim, which Anchor Bay issues on Blu-ray and DVD on Sept. 18, 2012 (DVD $24.98. Blu-ray $29.98) offers the tale of Annie (Jennifer Blanc, Bad Ass), a slinky lovely who finds herself in dire straits when she and a gal-pal (Danielle Harris, Hatchet II)  encounter a pair of nasty Sheriff’s deputies in the woods. The lawmen aren’t much in the mood to let the ladies live following a violent encounter, and Annie finds herself on the run, leading her meet Kyle (Michael Biehn, The Terminator), a reclusive bad-ass living in the middle of the woods. A couple of love scenes and violent encounters later, revenge and retribution become the order of the day.

Disc Dish spoke with writer/director/star Michael Biehn and co-producer/star Jennifer Blanc about the making of the low-budget independent film, which was shot on the Red Camera in a tight 12 days.

Oh, one more thing: Mr. Biehn and Ms. Blanc are married and appear to be very much in love—so much so that they didn’t mind performing a couple of undeniably steamy love scenes for their film!

Disc Dish: One of the most intriguing aspects about The Victim is that it’s a husband-and-wife collaboration, with Michael serving as director and star and Jennifer starring and co-producing. Tell me about what it was like to work together… Is it too much at times? Do tempers flare and does it fuel the process or take away from it? And do you take your business home with you at night?

Michael Biehn: Yes, yes, yes and yes!

DD: All of that? Really?

MB: It can be very frustrating and very exhilarating, but it definitely fuels the process. But I know Jennifer well enough that I would never let her get away with anything less than her very best. I’ll push her as far as I possibly can and even though she looks very pretty, she’s a lioness when you push too hard or when she thinks she’s right about something. There are times we would be screaming at each other and fighting on the set, but it all worked out.

Jennifer Blanc: We’re both very passionate and both very dedicated. But Michael’s more of an alpha male—if something hits him a certain way, he won’t back down from it, but not necessarily in a stubborn way. He’s usually the one to come around and give me a big hug and apologize first, and then I’ll come around. And then everything’s great.

DD: Alright, we’ve got to talk about The Victim‘s love scenes, which are pretty steamy and definitely worthy of the film’s R rating. In such a quick shoot—only 12 days—I guess you two had to get down to it pretty quickly.

MB: Here’s the deal: I basically didn’t quite have the script finished when we began production. One of the good things about my contract was that I had the final word on all artistic decisions and when and where shooting would commence. The very first day of shooting, I didn’t have the script finished, so I figured, ‘Well, I guess will just start with Jen and my naked scene—

JBB: (interrupting) —love scene!

MB: Love scene, right. Well, we knew it was going to be in the movie—when we first were developing The Victim, I looked over to Jennifer and asked her to get naked with me! So, I figured that while I shoot our love scene first, I’ll come up with the rest of the movie. So I announced to the crew to assemble around the bedroom and get ready to shoot. And I dropped by robe and told them how I wanted it shot. It was no big deal to me and everybody kind of went, like, ‘I guess we’re making a movie!’

The Victim movie scene

Michael Biehn means business in The Victim.

DD: For lack of a better cheap joke, you started the movie off with a bang!

JB: One reviewer said in his review, a positive one, that he felt a little voyeuristic watching our love scene because he knew we were together and that it was probably what went on in the house. People get some funny ideas in their head when they watch a real-life couple doing a love scene.

MB: What I shot was what Jennifer and I usually do—I just left out the chicken.

DD: Michael, you’ve been directed by a wide assortment of filmmakers over the years—James Cameron, William Friedkin, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Bay, even Barbara Kopple. What kind of insight into filmmaking did you pick up from them?

MB: I think that all of those filmmakers are very, very confident people and they know what they want and they know what their story is and they know how to tell their story. The difference between me and them is that as an actor all my life, I’ve been on set rehearsing and going over my lines and I’ve never really paid that much attention to camera, lenses and different types of camera movements. I didn’t have any of that ability. I went in their and winged it! I didn’t expect myself to direct again. It was more of a “let’s just go for it” experience.

DD: Were you happy with the result?

MB: I guess I underestimated myself—I had the lowest expectation for this film We shot it in 12 days, which is like asking someone to write a movie review in 5 minutes on a typewriter. I always told the cast and crew not to worry and that it wouldn’t even be seen on the big screen. But by now, it’s been seen on the big screen about 30 times and it’s been reviewed in places like The New York Times and The Huffington Post. It’s still kind of unbelievable to me. I will also say that it’s taken a lot out of me—I’ve been traveling and talking it up for a long time now, but that’s because now that The Victim has graduated, I want to send the baby to college!

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.