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INTERVIEW: Christian Camargo can’t stand horror films, but he loves “witch hunts”

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Photo: Witch Hunting Stars, from left, Christian Camargo and Elizabeth Mitchell. Photo courtesy of Momentum Pictures / Courtesy of KWPR.

Christian Camargo, star from stage, television and film, has built an impressive career in a wide variety of projects. He has appeared in everything from Dexter to House of Cards to the Twilight films, and he currently appears on the Apple TV + series See with Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard.

His latest film project is Witch Hunt, a politically conscious horror film by writer and director Elle Callahan. The film takes a look at the modern United States where witches are persecuted by the authorities for their beliefs and practices. Your only way to escape is to cross the border into Mexico. Claire (Gideon Adlon) runs an underground network with her family that helps witches cross the border without incident. Camargo plays one of the witch hunters who tries to thwart Claire’s plans.

“Well, I really liked Elle and her vision was to use the horror and suspense genre … as a way to comment on America and the world and the cultural situation that was going on,” Camargo said in a recent telephone interview. “So that was a super cool and unique approach.”

Even though Camargo was convinced of the ideas behind the film, he didn’t know how everything was going to be put together on set. Then, as filming began and he got used to Callahan as a director, he realized he was in safe hands.

“It was more like a conversation with Elle about what she wanted to do with it and how she imagined it,” he said. “I saw how it came together, saw the performances, and understood how she actually put it together visually. … She really gave me a bit of fun with the character, which I always enjoy doing, especially when I have to play bad guys. I really enjoy it a little. She was kind of gone a lot. As soon as we understand where the tone of the piece is coming from and how she imagines it and we are all on the same page, she pulls back and lets you play. That was fun. She knew the work I had done in the past and she trusted it and let me go. “

Now in theaters and on-demand, Witch Hunt was filmed before the pandemic, which Camargo is grateful for because he doesn’t know if it would have become a reality during the COVID-19 attack. Many indie productions had to close and never opened again.

“It was before, so luckily we could do it,” said the actor. “It’s really hard to be honest for smaller films these days with all the COVID mandates on set. So yes, we were lucky. “

Camargo took this comment on the US-Mexico border from a personal point of view. He has Latino heritage through his grandfather, who came to the United States from Mexico via southern California, so stories of the strained relations between the two countries were on his radar.

“I didn’t have to do too much research or delve into their history, I didn’t want to politicize them,” he said. “I wanted to work with the story as it was. I kind of made a fictional backstory about the Bureau of Witch Hunting and all that stuff. I left it as part of the project and let her do the metaphor that she wanted to do. “

Witch Hunt is a genre film with some horror and creepy settings. However, Camargo hates horror films. He values ​​storytelling, but he can’t stand the fear – and that comes from a person who played a prominent role on Showtime’s Dexter.

“I can’t stand her because I’m so scared,” he said with a laugh. “I’m a real wimp when it comes to horror. My makeup artist, who is with me right now, is a huge horror fan and rolls his eyes. … I think I saw Jaws way too early. I think it started with Jaws and then turned into A Nightmare on Elm Street. And then it went on Friday the 13th and it was just, why are people doing this to themselves? Why not be nicer? What is it all But guess what, it’s a lot of fun to play. I love doing them. “

Camargo added, “If you play that you want to scare someone, you won’t scare them. Just create a scary character. Let the fantasy happen with the audience because horror is everything on the audience’s minds. … The audience goes along because if you really hold back and watch it, it’s kind of ridiculous. Freddy Krueger and his mask, sometimes you look at it and think it’s crazy. Now my makeup artist wants to hit me, so I’ll stop talking now. “

By John Soltes / Editor / [email protected]

Witch Hunt, written and directed by Elle Callahan and starring Christian Camargo, now plays in theaters and on demand. Click here for more information.

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