Dinner with Leatherface: Michael Kallio’s saga to honor Gunnar Hansen

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Michael Kallio – Dinner with Leatherface – Courtesy of Michael Kallio

Michael Kallio, a talented director/writer/producer is working on a documentary, Dinner with Leatherface which pays homage to his friend, the late horror icon, Gunnar Hansen. At 1428 Elm, we spoke to him about his journey to get the actor the recognition he so richly deserves.

Everybody Has to Start Somewhere, Right?

In 1990, Michael Kallio was a 20-year-old kid living in Michigan with a passion for motion pictures. When he was 6 ½ years old, he started making Super-8 movies after being inspired by Star Wars. His dream was to make a feature film.

The only problem was he didn’t know how to put together financing to turn his vision into reality. On a lark, he sent a letter to actor Bruce Campbell. Who better to give the budding director advice? After all, he and his buddies, Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert were fellow Michiganders who turned their first production into a success.

A few weeks later, en route to a meeting with a prospective investor, he received a telephone call that would change his world. He almost didn’t take it because he was running late.

On the end of the line was none other than Campbell who reached out to Kallio to offer his assistance by helping him learn the ropes of independent filmmaking forging a creative relationship that is still very much alive today.

Dinner with a Legend

That production turned out to be Hatred of a Minute, Michael’s directorial debut. Which was also important for another reason, it starred Gunnar Hansen, the horror legend from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Kallio’s good friend.

After Hansen passed away in 2015, Michael decided that he wanted to celebrate the actor’s life and career so he started working on his documentary, Dinner with Leatherface.

We sat down with Michael to discuss his film work, his relationships with two genre icons and his plans for the future.