FrightFest 2023 - Interview with Johnny Vivash star of Isaac

A chat with an actor who delivers a powerhouse performance in the movie

James Whittington
August 26, 2023

Johnny Vivash is starring in a number of movies at FrightFest 2023 so we chatted to him about one of his movies, Isaac.

NYX: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to become an actor?

JV: Definitely the Arts from an early age. I loved Art and all things inter-connected to that, music, film & theatre. I initially went to Art School, had a studio practice when I left and from that moved into Video performance, eventually going to drama school.

NYX: Did you still get nervous when you walk onto a set for the first time?

JV: I don’t think it’s nervousness, certainly degrees of anticipation, focused energy or elevated butterflies. Playing a character, demands a lot from an actor, research, insight, stamina and intelligence & above all doing the work with the given text where most of the answers can be found.

NYX: How did you come to be part of the movie Isaac?

JV: Initially Tariq put out a casting for the project which started life as a short, we arranged to meet and after a few meetings, I knew I absolutely wanted to be part of it, 100%. The Role was an intriguing challenge to play. Also, the concept, ticked all the boxes for me.

NYX: How would you describe your character, Nicholas?

JV: Great question, he’s a man who invests so heavily in a sense of total duty and commitment that it blinkers and narrows his field of vision and ability to makes the right decision. He’s unable to forgive himself and sidelines his necessity to find closure in pursuit his fatherly obligation.  Hope for Nicolas, turns out to be a cruel double edge sword, governed by a previous heart breaking tragedy, his moral obligation warps and his optimism soon turns to a dark obsession.

NYX: Did you and the rest of the ensemble have time to rehearse as there’s a very natural connection between yourself and especially with Kathryn Louise who plays your wife, Sarah?

JV: With a lot of sets, time constraints mean that you only get rehearsal sometimes when blocking out the scenes and then running lines between set changes and checks. We were lucky in the amount of time between filming blocks were character strengths and flaws could be worked through. With that investment, you bring so much more to a set. I think every actor strives for that naturalism within the given context of a project no matter how fantastical the conceit is. I feel we definitely achieve this with Sarah and Nicolas’s scene. Kathryn does a great job of playing the much maligned & frustrated wife Sarah.

NYX: You have some incredibly tense, moving and challenging scenes, how do you prepare yourself for such emotional moment?

JV: I think we were incredibly fortunate that on this set we had a small crew, with no distractions, people respected the process and for the emotionally challenging scenes Tariq allowed for a lot of room, for those important scenes to breath and for an actor to get to the level the scene needed. Personally, and its different on every set and project, but a calm, quite space, around you allow you to dig a bit deeper to connect with the text and the character, for where they are at that moment.

NYX: The subject, though fantastical, is timely, do you think in the future the plot could become a reality?

JV: I think the degree of intensive research to achieve or edge towards the bioengineering insinuated in the feature is certainly advancing but we are a way off just yet. But certainly, the plot could absolutely open up a myriad of moral dilemmas for that particular future for sure.

NYX: Will you be nervous when the movie gets its World Premiere at FrightFest 2023 and are you a fan of the horror movie genre?

JV: There’s always a sense of excitement and trepidation in equal measure, a curious see-saw really, but one I’m very much looking forward to not only for our screening but what the festival has to offer. I adore Fright Fest and Alan, Ian, Paul and Greg who run it, they have been incredibly supportive of the work that I have screened at the festival before.

NYX: So, what are you working on at the moment?

In post-production on a feature entitle ‘CARA’ (Dir. Hayden Hewitt) and a proof of concept short, that is being developed into a feature script called ‘The Tunnel’ (Dir.Brendan Cleaves) I’m also working with on a new feature project with Scott Lyus of Crossroads Pictures, I’m delighted to say I’m a core member of the company.

NYX: Johnny Vivash, thank you very much.