Call Answered: Megan Freels Johnston: "The Ice Cream Truck"
Megan Freels JohnstonAs an ice cream (cookies-n-cream) & horror film lover myself, I couldn't wait to get a big scoop on the making of Megan Freels Johnston's The Ice Cream Truck, a provocative psychological thriller that stars Deanna Russo (Being Human, Gossip Girl) as "Mary," who moves back to her suburban hometown after her husband gets relocated for work. As her family ties up loose ends back home, she moves into their new house alone. And although the move makes "Mary" nostalgic for her youth, there’s something very sinister about that Ice Cream Truck that patrols her suburb.
The Ice Cream Truck is available on DVD through Amazon!
For more on Megan be sure to follow her on Twitter @number1megan
1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer/director? I was just a producer originally. I think I got fed up with how long it took movies to get made. I got into the film business because I just love movies. So after a few years of things not going forward as a producer I decided to make a movie myself with a small budget. That was my first film Rebound. I am a big fan of retro horror and the suspense films of the 60s and 70s so they serve as my creative inspiration.
2. Your new psychological thriller, The Ice Cream Truck has just been released on DVD. What do you like about writing in the psychological thriller genre? I love playing with things that are scary inside and outside the mind. It’s fun to do both in the same film. People are so complex so the story ideas that revolve around human emotions and anxiety are limitless.
Scene from "The Ice Cream Truck"3. How did you come up with the concept for The Ice Cream Truck? I lived in an area of Los Angeles that happened to have a lot of ice cream trucks. I am also from the Midwest suburbs so I grew up around ice cream trucks. I just felt like there is something so creepy and strange about getting ice cream from a virtual stranger’s car. So I had to write a story about it. But I wanted to do it in a way that wasn’t your typical B horror movie.
4. What was the most complicated part of the film to make? What was the most fun? Making indie films are always a challenge because you have financial constraints. You can’t just do whatever you want. You have to be realistic and work with what you have. So that is always the hardest part. Making this film was a total blast. Everyone loved the project and wanted to be there so it was just a really fun set to be a part of.
Deanna Russo as "Mary" in "The Ice Cream Truck"5. How many gallons of ice cream did you go through to make this film? We used quite a bit of ice cream, but probably more blood, to be honest!
6. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? I am a Rocky Road fan. Simple, yet complex.
7. In the film, "Mary" moves back to her suburban hometown, which makes her very nostalgic for her youth. What is something from your childhood you long for as an adult? I have two kids so it allows me to be a kid in my every day life. But the one thing I have taken with me along the way is my old school Nintendo NES game system. It’s got some kinks and I still know all the tricks when it’s not working correctly but no modern game will ever compare to me. I love the original Nintendo. Kid Icarus is my favourite game.
Emil Johnson as "The Ice Cream Truck Driver" in "The Ice Cream Truck"8. You are the granddaughter of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard. What did you learn from him that influenced your own writing? Elmore was a big proponent of writing for yourself. That is one thing I try to do. Don’t write what you think other people want. Be authentic within your voice and tell the stories you want to hear or see.
9. For a while you worked on adaptations of his work. When did the moment come when you said to yourself, "I need to write & direct my own work"? What did that moment feel like for you? Well initially that came from frustration of not getting enough movies off the ground. Even Elmore Leonard adaptations. It was supposed to be more of an experiment, my becoming a filmmaker. But it was life changing and now that’s where my true passion lies within the film business. I prefer to do my own material because I can just do it however I want which is really creatively freeing. Putting in all the work from writing a script, to being on set to shaping your film in post-production is one of the greatest feelings.
10. After completing The Ice Cream Truck, what is one lesson you learned from this film that you'll carry with you for the remainder of your life? I learned so many things from The Ice Cream Truck. I think the main thing is work with people you like and be appreciative. The rest kind of falls into place.
Megan Freels JohnstonMore on Megan:
Megan Freels Johnston is a producer and writer, known for The Ice Cream Truck (2017), Rebound (2014) and Convention (2018). She is the granddaughter of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard.