Movies & TV / Columns

Director Jesse Thomas Cook Discusses His New Zombie Movie Deadsight

June 29, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The 411 Interview: Jesse Thomas Cook


Jesse Thomas Cook is a writer, producer, editor, and director who has been making movies since at least 2006 (that’s what his imdb page shows). He has directed such movies as Scarce, Monster Brawl, Septic Man, and The Hexecutioners. Cook is also one of the owners of the production company Foresight Features. Cook’s latest movie is the low budget zombie flick Deadsight, starring Liv Collins (she co-wrote the Deadsight screenplay with Kevin Revie) and Adam Seybold and set to hit DVD, digital, and Video on Demand on July 2nd, 2019. In this interview, Cook talks with this writer about making Deadsight, his career, and more.



Bryan Kristopowitz: How did you get involved in directing Deadsight? How did you know that you wanted it to be your next movie?
Jesse Thomas Cook: I’ve been an owner of Foresight Features for 9 years, and I was next in line to direct, so I decided I wanted to make a zombie film, which has always been my favorite sub-genre in horror. My wife Liv and our friend Kevin wrote the script together.

BK: Where was Deadsight made? Were those real houses you filmed in? Was it really as cold as it looked onscreen?

JTC: Yes, we filmed in a number of decrepit properties in Owen Sound, Ontario. It was December 2017 in Ontario, so yes, it was incredibly cold! In fact, the shoot had to be shut down due to blizzards, and we picked it up again for a week in late April 2018.

BK: How long did it take to make Deadsight from deciding on a final script to completing post-production?

JTC: It took about a year from conception of the idea to the premiere at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival. It took about 3 weeks to write, 3 weeks to film, and six months of post-production.


BK: How did you assemble the cast for Deadsight?

JTC: My wife Liv was the lead, and we’ve worked on three films together in the past, and Adam Seybold, the other main performer is an old friend of fifteen years, who I have worked with on a number of occasions, on films I’ve produced, but this was the first time I directed Adam. The other actors, Ry Barrett and Jess Vano, are also friends we’ve collaborated with in the past. So it felt a bit like getting the band back together.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Deadsight? What was the easiest?

JTC: The eight hours of daylight in December in Ontario made the shoot challenging to schedule, and certainly the weather was cold and wet and unpredictable. The easiest part was the amazing team we had assembled who made it very enjoyable to participate in a shared struggle.


BK: What was it like working with Liv Collins, who also co-wrote the screenplay? Did she have to re-write anything while on set?

JTC: She’s an absolute nightmare! I’m kidding. Liv and I got married a few months before we filmed Deadsight. In fact, the place we got married was right across the road from the old farmhouse we used in the film. The main writer, Kevin Revie, wasn’t on set as he had a full-time job as a snowplow operator, but Liv was able to work with the other lead actor Adam, anytime we had to make adjustments.

BK: How did you decide on the look of the zombies?

JTC: I left the look up entirely to Shaun Hunter, the SPX Supervisor. He came to us with various designs on what kind of direction we wanted to go with, and he was instrumental in helping to direct the zombie performers in their movements and mannerisms.

BK: How did you decide on the somewhat low key tone of Deadsight? Was it your intention to make a zombie movie that was more about suspense and tone/dread as opposed to kinetic violence?

JTC: Yes, part of that was certainly budgetary concerns, but also because we were dealing with a blind guy and a pregnant woman, we had to make sure they weren’t just gutted in the first ten minutes. In fact, the first draft of the script focused on just one zombie pursuing the blind man the entire film in a strange cat and mouse game. But we also wanted to take the film to a place where there has been a potentially worldwide outbreak, but we’re just focusing on two characters, the stakes are small, and it’s just two vulnerable people who as it turns out, need each other.

BK: What was it like working with composer Adrian Ellis? What sort of instructions did you give him before he started work on the soundtrack?

JTC: Adrian is a total pro and requires very little direction or notes. We’ve done a number of films together now, so typically I just watch the film with him once, we speak for 20 minutes, and then I hand it off to him for a couple of weeks and he inevitably surprises me with how well he grasps the emotional tension and the tone and pacing of the film.

BK: Any moviemaking heroes?

JTC: Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, Thelma Schoonmaker, James Cameron.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

JTC: I just finished editing Liv Collins’ directorial debut, an indie road trip comedy called To Hell With Harvey. And I’m gearing up to direct a rockumentary this summer, while also producing a horror film in the fall.

BK: Will there be a Deadsight 2? Is there more to explore in this particular zombie filled world?

JTC: I’d love to explore that concept a bit more. It’s certainly had a vast appeal and doing well with international sales. We’ve been thinking about it and hopefully it happens soon.

BK: Besides, obviously, Deadsight, what is your favorite zombie movie?

JTC: Day of the Dead.



Check out the official Deadsight Facebook page here and official Instagram page here

Check out the official Foresight Features website here

Purchase Deadsight here or here

Jesse Thomas Cook image courtesy of Jesse Thomas Cook. All other images courtesy of RLJE Films.