FrightFest Glasgow interview with Mike Hermosa director of The Invisible Raptor

We chat Jurassic larks with this talented director

James Whittington
March 10, 2024

NYX: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the Film industry

MH: I’m from a small town and working in the film industry never seemed like an option but I always enjoyed the arts in school, painting, photography, or guitar class, I loved them all. My favourite class projects were the ones where we could either write a paper on the subject or film a video and I always chose the latter so it was always there.

NYX: How did the Invisible Raptor project come together?

MH: I've always wanted to work with Mike Capes, the creative mind behind IR. So, I had some ideas for scripts that I wanted to see if he wanted to write. I called him in the middle of the night, and before I could pitch my ideas, he mentioned having an idea that came to him the previous night. He started telling me this story about an invisible raptor, and I could tell he had played this movie in his head all night. By the time he finished, I was like “yeah forget what I wanted to pitch” and that became the movie we were going to make together. He mentioned he had a talented writing partner, Johnny Wickham, who would be a great fit, and they knocked out the script in probably three weeks. We faced a lot of rejection initially, with many people telling us no one would fund a movie about an invisible dinosaur. Then Bobby Gilchrist who we casted as Sykes believed in the script so much he decided to hop on as Executive Producer so it negated the red tape and we got to make the film we wanted to make. We casted before we had funding and everyone was just so excited to make this film and we all felt the energy that it was just undeniable.

NYX: Did it take long to cast and did they have much time to rehearse?

MH: The casting process didn’t take too long. Given that we all work in different facets of the entertainment industry, we knew some amazing actors. About 70% of the roles were written with specific actors in mind so we casted right away. For instance, Henrietta McCluckskey was written for Sandy Martin and there was no other actress we could envision playing that role.

NYX: There's a cool cameo from Sean Astin, how did that come about?

MH: We were all big fans of Sean Astin, and when discussing that role, Bobby happened to have worked with his agent before. We reached out, and when we were told that Sean loved the script and agreed to do it, we were ecstatic. We shot with Sean on the first day of filming so it really set the tone.

NYX: Did you have much budget to play with?

MH: Less than Avatar.

NYX: Was it all shot on location?

MH: We shot in and around Los Angeles, Anaheim, Pomona and Solvang.

NYX: There’s a lot of effects here, which one was the hardest to achieve?

MH: We initially thought making a creature feature with no actual creature would be easier, but we learned quickly that wasn’t the case. The sets looked like one large marionette puppet because we were using fishing line to create raptor movement but every effect came with its own difficulty. Thankfully, the expertise of Steve Johnson, renowned for his practical effects on films like Ghostbusters and Big Trouble in Little China, and Dorian Cleavenger, who worked tirelessly on stunning visual effects saved the day many times over. I would say the toughest effect was maybe the stoner slaughter scene in the garage. It was probably 120 degrees in the garage and the practical jaw was melting and not sticking to the actor.

NYX: It could be described as a love letter to the classic sci-fi/creature feature/ monster movies of the 50s, would you agree?

MH: It was mostly a love letter to Steven Spielberg films and all the films we grew up watching during the 80’s and 90’s when they relied more on practical effects over digital but so many talented filmmakers had their hands in making this film that I would say there’s a healthy balance of influences to this film.

NYX: Do you get nervous when your work is shown at festivals?

MH: 100%… but when it comes to The Invisible Raptor all those nerves are instantly replaced with excitement because I know I’m in good company and every time we’ve played this film with an audience there’s always been a great reaction and huge interaction between audience and screen that I honestly look forward to watching with a crowd.

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

MH: The only thing I’m working on is getting The Invisible Raptor out in the world with the rest of my Raptor Pack. It’s such a special movie that we are all so incredibly proud of that we will tour the world with this film until the wheels fall off. We have some incredible merch to include an Invisible Raptor Action Figure that everyone is loving so we are just enjoying this phase of the process. There were so many talented filmmakers involved in making this film and they deserve their work to be seen.

NYX: Mike Hermosa, thank you very much.