Exclusive Interview: Actor Jason Dugre Talks Insane New Horror Movie Saint Bernard

Jason Dugre appears alongside Warwick Davis, a decapitated dog’s head, and a wonderous assortment of Gabe Bartalos-created characters in the insane new horror fantasy Saint Bernard that releases on Blu-ray on Tuesday, May 14th from Severin Films.

Alien Bee – Congrats on a big year for Saint Bernard. Do you remember the day you were pitched the film?

Jason Dugre – I do! It was a sunny day in October…or no maybe it was a chilly day in May. Ah, maybe I don’t remember the exact conditions of the day but yes I remember. Gabe pitched me the story, told me about my role and then said I didn’t have to take my clothes off in this one. I said yes without hesitation.

Alien Bee – Are there any other movies you think yours is reminiscent of?

Jason Dugre – I don’t really. I have tried and tried to tell people about this movie using movie analogies and I just can’t come up with a good one. There truly is nothing like it, which I think is to its credit. But if I was held at gun point maybe I would say it’s I Spit On Your Grave meets David Lynch meets Tangerine Dream meets Benji? Or something.

Alien Bee – The film is a good mix of genres – how were you pitched it?

Jason Dugre – I worked with Gabe on Skinned Deep and we got to know each other really well. By the time he pitched me St. Bernard, I already knew his sensibilities to a degree and it made it easier for me to get what he was going for. He pitched me the whole story and he gave me an idea of what he needed from me and what the biggest set pieces were. I know that going to France was definitely a pretty good selling point so he dropped that info early on. And you’re right about the mix of genres but we never discussed that. He never said, this is the “sad” part or the “funny” part. He would just say, “and this is where your head explodes so explore what that might be like.” And I would.

Alien Bee – How alike are you to your character?

Jason Dugre – In some ways, not at all. For instance: I don’t do drugs. I’m a terrible drug doer. I’m a hypochondriac and hypochondria and drugs do not mix well. I once got high at a party and spent the next 4 hours on the porch afraid that I was having an aneurysm. But in other ways, pretty similar. I often find myself observing odd scenes and trying to find meaning in them. I mean, I don’t carry a severed, bloody dog head around with me in a bag but I sometimes feel like I’m stumbling around from bizarre scenario to bizarre scenario, trying to make sense of what they mean and where I fit in. I mean, in a way, isn’t that what life is? Is that too deep?

Alien Bee – How hard was it to psyche yourself up to play such a part!?

Jason Dugre – Each scene presented its challenges. Sometimes it would be hard just for the sheer fact that it was 3 am and we were on hour 8 of trying to finish a scene with lots of moving parts. Other times it would be hard because I had to jump in a tank full of 45degree water. But I just treated each shooting day with the same intent: do the job. Go with the flow, hit your mark and be in the moment. I have a very “yes, and” approach to my work which is a big rule of improv but you can apply it to general acting as well. Be present. If Gabe says, “I need you to jump through that window,” I say, “Yes, and which side of my face goes first?”  

Alien Bee – Can you talk about the film’s delay, and give us a bit of inside info on why it’s taken a while to come out?

Jason Dugre – I know that Gabe wanted to get it right. He did some screenings out of competition in 2013 and 2014 to see the movie play with an audience before he started on the real post-production. He then completed the intensive sound design and color grading in 2017, and it quickly had its North American premiere at the Boston Underground Film Festival that same year, which was great! That led to his deal with Severin Films. The freedom Gabe gets from doing his films independently, truly independently, allows for some breathing room for him to work on them until he’s satisfied. And I totally admire that.

Alien Bee – What do you think of the new artwork?

Jason Dugre – It’s fantastic! I think it definitely captures the ferocious quality of the movie. St. Bernard is a barrage of viscera and I think the artwork gets the viewer ready for that.

Alien Bee – What do you think audiences will like best about this movie?

Jason Dugre – I think, if the audience can buckle up and go on this wild ride without worrying about what the film is supposed to mean, and instead just let it wash over them, I think they’ll love the sheer insanity. It’ll tickle a part of their brain that they didn’t even know was there, let alone that is was ticklish. That, and Warwick Davis. Come for the insanity, stay for Warwick.

Alien Bee – Can you tell us what’s next for you?

Jason Dugre – I just got some new representation so I’m looking forward to continue auditioning. I’m finishing a few writing projects, I’ve started to do stand-up comedy and I’m hoping to produce a short film by the end of this year. But I’m always open to offers! I like to stay as busy as possible because I’m just not good at waiting for the phone to ring.

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