September 3, 2012

Straight From the Zombie's Mouth: Interview with Kristopher Turner (A LITTLE BIT ZOMBIE)


Interview with Kristopher Turner
(star of A Little Bit Zombie)

The last time I saw Kristopher Turner on the big screen in the Canadian zombie comedy A Little Bit Zombie, he was pale, drooling for brains, and losing a lot of his body parts to decomposition. I'm happy to report that when I met up with him in the flesh at Fan Expo 2012 he was looking decidedly healthier.

Kristopher Turner at Fan Expo 2012
In A Little Bit Zombie (now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay), Kristopher Turner plays Steve, a mild-mannered conflict resolution specialist with a big heart. Before marrying his lovely bridezilla-to-be, he goes on a trip to the cabin with his fiancée and friends. Along the way, he's bitten by a mosquito carrying a zombie virus. For whatever reason, Steve doesn't turn full zombie -- just a little bit zombie. Burdened with an insatiable hunger for brains but all the guilt that goes with it, Steve tries to come to turns with his zombie nature while being hunted by a deranged zombie hunter.

I met up with Turner at the Anchor Bay booth at Fan Expo 2012 in Toronto. Like his character Steve, Kristopher Turner was warm and gracious and agreed to chat with us about his role in one of the best zombie comedies of the year.

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ZED WORD: Your character is incredibly charming, but he’s also a tightwad. How did you make him so charming and relatable yet so closed off? 

KRISTOPHER TURNER: I really wanted to make him that innocent, good-hearted, good intentions kind of guy. He believes the happiest monkey gets the most bananas, you now? As long as he puts out positive things into the world and tries to make people happy, then good things will happen to him. Of course that’s not the way life goes all the time, and he learns that the hard way. You kind of look at your own personality and try to identify with somebody that way.

ZW: Do you think that helps the audience buy, later on, the horrible things he does like eating rabbits and drooling over brains.

KT: Yeah. It was important for me to make him the nicest, biggest-hearted guy, right off the top, so that people knew when he starts going after the rabbit and doing the zombie thing – those instincts start to kick in – the audience knows that it’s not Steve’s choice to do that. There’s things beyond his control.

Kristopher Turner on set with director Casey Walker
ZW: What did you do to prepare for the zombie transition?

KT: The greatest thing about this script was that they really captured the human elements of zombies. They are a bit human, you know what I mean? To be hungry for something is a human instinct. I have to relate it to things that work for me that are zombie things. I’m not particularly attracted to brains, but I know what I’m hungry for. [Casey Walker, the director of A Little Bit Zombie] showed me a lot of the zombie movies we were making fun of and saw what other people did with it and what I wanted to bring to it that was new.

ZW:  What do you feel you brought that was new?

KT: It is the human element. That’s what attracted me to this script. They made the typical enemy of the movie into the heart of the movie.

Yet another reason to avoid mosquitoes!
ZW: There's a lot of heart in it – in the story and in the production, and the fact that you seemed to be a close-knit group working in an independent way.

KT: For me to play a character to eat someone’s brains, to kill somebody, but have the guilt that goes along with it was really fun to explore.

ZW: Speaking of brains, A Little Bit Zombie has a very gory element to it. Do you have any gross stories from the set about the stuff you had to go through?

KT: Every day! The drool that we had was a type of glycerin to give it that thick look.
The simple pleasures of being a little bit zombie
 ZW: I was wondering if you were being called upon to make that drool yourself on set.

KT: Oh no. It’s a concentrated form of melted sugar, in a way, so it just made me very hyper active when it started to seep into my mouth. And the fake blood we sprayed stains your skin after a while too. And the amount of eatings of brains and things like that – it was a lot of concoctions made by our prop master.

ZW: Casey Walker, the director, told me that in the scene where you’re eating a lot of brain samplers that the brains were all fondant. So, you were just getting a sugar infusion.

KT: Sugar infusion every time! Icing sugar moulds, little dried strawberries, jellos, and all sorts of little candies.

ZW: That must have really helped because that scene is a very frenetic scene, and you seem to go more and more off the rails. There was a sugar high behind it.

KT: Yes, exactly.

ZW: Now, if we could meet up with Steve today, how do you think he’d be doing with his “condition?”

KT: I think he’s somebody who’s always looking on the bright side of life and trying to make the most of it, so he’s going to make it work. As long as he’s got the support of his friends and this family, which is the most important thing, he’s going to make it work whether things are falling off his body. I think he would be quite deteriorated at this point but always looking on the positive side.

ZW: Would he go back into conflict resolution as a career?

KT: Absolutely! I sort of see him as someone who could start doing talks about overcoming obstacles and how people in wheelchairs could still climb Mount Everest or something.

ZW:  “You’re not dead, you’re living-impaired!”

KT: That’s right. I don’t have all my bodily parts attached to me anymore but I can still achieve things!

ZW: Like the Tony Robbins of the zombie world.

KT: Exactly.


 You can currently see Kristopher Turner as Dr. Gavin Murphy on Saving Hope (CTV in Canada, NBC in the United States) as well as on The L.A. Complex, which just wrapped its second season.

Follow Turner on Twitter @KristopherTurn and keep updated at www.kristopherturner.com

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