American Pie veteran Seann William Scott first explored the violent side in the Goon hockey comedies, and later this year he’ll be seen as a full-blown psycho killer in Bloodline. Emma Tammi, whose narrative directorial debut The Wind just hit theaters and VOD, was an executive producer on Bloodline, the first fiction feature by her longtime filmmaking partner Henry Jacobson.
“We came up doing documentaries together,” Tammi explains. “So we shot our first features back to back, which was really fun, because we were able to be on each other’s sets, and we used a handful of the same crew and producers. There was this real tight-knit circle for a couple of months of people working on both of these movies. Bloodline has a totally different tone than The Wind, though; that’s more of a psychological horror film, it’s a slower burn at times, and Bloodline is just a balls-to-the-wall slasher. Sean’s performance is so strong in it; it’s everything that Stifler isn’t, you know [laughs]?”
In Bloodline, scripted by Will Honley, Jacobson and Avra Fox-Lerner, Scott plays Evan Cole, a happily married high-school guidance counselor with a murderous sideline. “The real trigger for his killing spree, at the time when we meet the character,” Tammi says, “is having his first baby, and feeling he needs to play the role of protector in a world that has gone wrong. So there’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek vigilante element to his killing spree. Obviously there’s no justification for what he does, but he’s going after people who are seemingly not doing right by his students or people he’s connected to.
“Seann was already attached to the project when Henry came on,” she adds, “and that was a big draw for him—not only to do the film but to work with Seann. He has an amazing theater background and is a very versatile actor, and I don’t think most of the world has seen that yet. He was excited to approach this character in a way that would surprise people, and he really nails it. All the supporting performances are terrific as well. Dale Dickey plays his mom, and she’s just a tour de force, and I think there are some breakout performances among the kids who play his students.”
The gruesomeness is extreme, and the movie highly stylized: “Our cinematographer Isaac Bauman created this moody, fabulous world that feels very De Palma-influenced, and our buddy Trevor Gureckis did the score, which is synth-heavy and kind of evokes the Drive soundtrack.” Yet Tammi reveals that Jacobson found a personal connection to the material. “This was a particularly interesting film for Henry to take on at that time, because he had just had his first kid, and he was able to tap into some of the insanity you feel right after having a newborn. There’s that irrational sense of the world being so chaotic, because for the first time, you’re trying to protect something that you love more than you ever realized you could love something, and is the most vulnerable thing in the world.”
The Wind, which deals in part with traumatic childbirth on the lone prairie, taps into similar themes, and Tammi adds, “We ended up having a couple of months where we were like, ‘Wow, there’s been a lot of birth scenes lately!’ It was a total coincidence, but very interesting.”
Bloodline, whose release details should be announced soon, was produced by Divide/Conquer, Meridian Entertainment and Blumhouse Productions; Tammi and Jacobson previously made the Epix documentary Election Day: Lens Across America with the latter. “We’ve had a relationship with Jason Blum and their whole team for several years now, and it’s fantastic to work with them,” says Tammi, who notes that Blumhouse looked at The Wind at one point. “Jason gave some good feedback throughout the process, but that film wasn’t really on brand for them. It’s not a Blumhouse movie in the sense of how it approaches the horror. One of the things they’ve done so brilliantly is being able to brand what a film is going to deliver if it’s a Blumhouse project. And to not disappoint the fans, they stick to that, which is a very smart thing to do. And I don’t think The Wind falls into that category.”