Join 1428 Elm as we continue the celebration of Women in Horror Month. We were fortunate enough to sit down and chat with Nicole Jones-Dion, the talented writer/director of the upcoming YA Sci-Fi thriller ‘Stasis’ and the Sean S. Cunningham executive produced, ‘The Elevator Game’.
Photo property of Nicole Jones-Dion
Horror is one of the few genres where strong women are prevalent. Joining the ranks of other impressive female writers and directors is Nicole Jones-Dion. A veteran screenwriter with stunning writing credentials, she came to 1428 Elm to discuss her upcoming projects, as well as her views about what it takes to succeed in the world of filmmaking.
1428 Elm: When did you become interested in the horror genre?
Nicole Jones-Dion: The house that I grew up in Wilmington, NC was haunted. Everyone in the house had experiences, even the cat! I did not. So, it was kind of frustrating. It actually talked to my brothers. They saw things, they heard things. I felt left out! Growing up in the ’80s, it was the time of “Satanic Panic” and everyone was freaking out about “Dungeons and Dragons” and how it will rot your brain. Being in the “Bible Belt”, this was everywhere. So instead of scaring me away, I wanted to know what it was all about. It piqued my interest and I started doing research about it. That is how I found horror.
1428 Elm: Do you know what was haunting your home?
Nicole Jones-Dion: I think the house was cursed. It seemed like every other family who lived there had a death in the house. All the deaths were sudden and unexplained.
1428 Elm: I could see where this experience would draw you to the supernatural and the paranormal.
Nicole Jones-Dion: Even the types of horror that I am interested in seem to be the supernatural or paranormal instead of slashers. I find the concept of “hidden realities” fascinating.
1428 Elm: You were involved in the development of the graphic novel, “The Scribbler” by Dan Schaffer, that became a 2014 movie with Katie Cassidy of Arrow fame. Do you feel that was your calling card into getting offered more writing assignments?
Nicole Jones-Dion: I had been hired to do an adaptation of the graphic novel in 2008. Then the production company that hired me let their option expire but I had this wonderful script. So, that script actually got me a ton of work. Then I introduced it to New Artists Alliance who ended up producing the movie.
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They loved it and wanted to know what the status was of the source material. I told them I didn’t have the rights to it and that they would need to reach out to Dan. In the interim, Dan had written his own version of the script. Ultimately, that was the adaptation that made it to the screen.
Since I brought them the project and helped to facilitate the whole thing, they gave me an associate producer credit. I use my version of the script as a writing sample to this day. It’s a good script!
Another script that I use is called ‘Z Block.’ It won a bunch of awards back in the day. It is another script that has been optioned numerous times. Right now, it is set up with Bonafide Pictures in Australia. Fingers crossed that this one will finally get made.
1428 Elm: What is the status of Z Block? Is it in development or production?
Nicole Jones-Dion: They are trying to package it now. It has the talent and they are in the process of trying to raise the money for it. It is actively moving forward. A really good director has been attached, his name is Serhat Caradee (his feature film, ‘Cedar Boys’ won the Audience Award at the 56th Sydney International Film Festival).
1428 Elm: Can you tell us what the film is about?
Nicole Jones-Dion: It is based on a dream that my brother had. He was in a prison with zombies and he couldn’t get out because if he did the police would shoot him for breaking out of jail. It is an action/horror in the realm of ‘Resident Evil.’
1428 Elm: Turning back toward more conventional horror films, you wrote Dracula: The Dark Prince which starred Jon Voight and was directed by Pearry Reginald Teo. Teo was also one of the producers on Cloud Atlas. How did you become associated with him?
Jon Voight as Van Helsing in Dracula: Prince of Darkness Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Nicole Jones-Dion: We met at the San Diego Comic Con because I published comics back then so we talked and hit it off. He loved The Scribbler and after that we worked together and developed half a dozen other projects. When he was hired to do ‘Dracula’, he brought me on with the script. We also worked together on ‘Tekken: Kazuya’s Revenge.’ He also produced the film I just directed, ‘Stasis.’