“Jake’s Road” is a suspense thriller movie filmed in southern Louisiana. In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, director Mike Mayhall talked about his experience while the movie and some of the challenges he faced on the set.
The main plot of the movie revolves around an injured man waking up at a hospital and slowly recalling the events that brought him there. He remembers spending time at a camp with some of his friends over the weekend, where a vicious killer attacks the campers.
Mayhall said that the plot of the movie was based on a campfire story that was born at his stepfather’s hunting cabin out in the backwoods of Folsom, L.A. The campfire story was about a hired help named Jake, who goes crazy one night and takes revenge on the former owners of the camp.
“So, I guess you could say 'Jake’s Road' is one half my twisted imagination and one half stories and events from my youth,” Mayhall said. The director, however, added that the movie was much more than the campfire story, which is just the backdrop in the plot. “It’s got some great acting, some fun action and twists that are just soul crushing,” he said.
Talking about the filming of the movie, the director said that Louisiana is a “great location” and he pointed out that this can be seen in the movie, especially the scenes of the rural areas.
“When those cicadas start up it adds another layer to the world. Something you can feel. Those deep woods, where there is nowhere to [go] for safety,” the director explained.
“Night in Louisiana is my favorite. It’s warm with a breeze and teeming with life. You are surrounded by an orchestra. Actually, at times the cicadas and crickets got so loud we couldn’t film. They drowned out the actors,” Mayhall said.
Filming in such a location in Louisiana did come with its own set of challenges. “One time a copperhead snake, which is highly poisonous, was in the middle of where we were filming. I said to film around it; knowing that if we left it alone it would leave us alone. But, the cast and crew were nervous and wanted it gone. So, I went over and grabbed it with my bare hands and moved it deeper into woods away from everyone,” Mayhall explained.
The director wished he had a picture of everyone’s faces when he moved the snake, showing the cast and crew’s jaws wide open and eyes popped out.
“No one moved. No one could believe I just did that,” the director said.
The director said that the cast and crew continued filming immediately after this incident, but Mayhall became the “official snake wrangler” on the set after this incident. The director said that little moments like this brought the cast and crew closer together and they became “a little family.”
“We all still talk and hang out together and support each other the best we can,” the director said.
After “Jake’s Road,” Mayhall’s next project is “Running Forever," a film with a totally different tone.
"It’s a family movie about what it takes for a father and daughter to move beyond some tragic events. I was trying to create a slight art piece with the natural beauty of Southern Florida to help tell the story. I think we did a good job,” the director said about his new movie.