“The German”, the chilling 2011 horror/suspense novel by Lee Thomas, a Bram Stoker and two-time Lambda Literary Award winner, is about to become a feature film. While “The German” was set in post WWII small town America, the film incarnation is about a Syrian and takes place in present day, Trump era U.S.A.
Part “Fargo,” part “Brokeback Mountain,” part “Stranger Things,” part “Mississippi Burning,” “Perpetual”, tells the story of small town tensions erupting into scenes of vicious vigilante vengeance as a sheriff hunts down a brutal killer who leaves Islamist calling cards in the remains of his victims, insinuating a private Holy War against America. As the town searches for answers, all eyes turn toward a reclusive foreigner, living in their midst. In a subtle, supernatural twist, the main character is not only Syrian and gay, but also immortal, blessed/cursed with eternal life.
Out Canadian-British actor Ross Mullan from stage and screen, famous for his role as the White Walker on “Game of Thrones” (seasons 2 – 4) was one of the first to sign on to the project. He will play one of the deputies in the Sheriff’s team.
“When I first heard that Loose Canon Films were adapting the ‘The German’ to the screen I was immediately captivated,” Mullan says. “Their decision to adapt it to our modern world is a stroke of genius. Never has there been a better time to address the core issues of prejudices and homophobia that are rife in its storyline. It is rare to find a thrilling story with such a strong political message. I am very much looking forward to being involved in the project.”
We caught up with Mullan to learn more about his involvement with the film, his thoughts of the current political climate, and with our signature question, what’s his most unconventional experience.
What motivated you to sign on to the film “Perpetual”?
I worked with Andy and Tor on three previous films and love working with them. They directed me towards Lee Thomas’ novel The German on which it is based and thought it was a fantastic piece with great filmic potential. The screenplay is looking equally brilliant so I was very excited to get on board.
What are your thoughts of the current political situation in the U.S. and the world? Are we going to be able to recover from the climate?
I feel we are at a crossroads in the western world. In one sense we have made incredible progress over the years since my grandparents crossed the ocean prior to WWII for a better world. However it feels that some people are afraid of total equality and what that means to them. Change is frightening. It brings with it uncertainty and a challenging of our old belief systems. I think this makes us dangerously nostalgic for a former world which was only good for a select few and not necessarily accurate. I think we can only go forward. We cannot go backwards now. Tough times may be ahead in the form of conflict but I do believe we will come together from it all a much better people.
What has been your experience with small towns in America so far? What is there to like and what are some of the unfavorable aspects of small towns?
I’ve never lived in a small town in America nor have I travelled extensively in them but I have done so in Canada and the UK and I think there are many similarities. Smaller communities are wonderful in so many ways of how they can come together and support one another in times of crisis and hard times. They are often rather private and want to protect their community from the larger world which they often see as trying to breakdown their way of life or infiltrate it. I think overall humans can be very paranoid about outsiders. It’s our nature really even in bigger cities it happens. I certainly don’t think the piece is a message solely directed at small town America or even small towns in general but about the way humanity sometimes feels about the outsider or those who are different from us. Strangers are usually perceived as the enemy in almost all communities.
You’re well known for your White Walker role on “Game of Thrones” and other significant roles where you’re in masks, makeup and costumes. What will your prep work look like for the role of a deputy sheriff in “Perpetual” who won’t be in a mask or prosthetics?
The same as it would be for any role I take on really. I read the script. Listen to what the visions are of the production team. And then I start to build my character. My joy in this process is building the character to a point of play. That process is no different when I’m buried in prosthetics or when I am doing a drama or comedy. Fun stuff it is!
What are you looking forward to most taking on this role and being part of the project?
Working with this team again. Being part of a good thriller which shocks. I’ve just come off working on a comic role so something gritty and a bit political and controversial is warmly welcome. If it gets people talking even better.
And for people who see the film, what do you hope they gain from it?
A better understanding of the necessity to challenge their own prejudices. We all need to be better at that.
We like to close with our signature question. What would you consider to be the most edgy, unconventional, or tight-lipped thing you’ve ever done and how did it impact your life?
I went to a pretty rough high school in the 80s in Montreal. If you were gay you hid that. I certainly did. We were living in a time of horrendous jokes about AIDS victims and the gay community. In my graduating year 1984, when I was just 16 years old, at our high school talent show, I came out of the closet live on stage by singing Sweet Transvestite from the Rocky Horror Picture Show in full makeup and costume with boustier, high heels and fishnet stockings. I managed to conceal my costume under this big cape, not even the teachers would see it until the big reveal. I thought “I’ll either get my ass kicked after this or I’ll be a fucking rock star hero.” I ended up being a hero and it propelled me in my career all my life. I set the bar high for taking performance risk. I’d be a different person had I not done that. No regrets.
Learn more about Ross Mullan | IMDb
“Perpetual” Full Synopsis
Summer 2018. A killer preys on the young men of a quiet western town. The murders are calculated, vicious, and they are just beginning. Sheriff Fran Rabbit and her men are baffled and the community she serves is terrified of the monster lurking their streets.
The only clues the killer leaves behind are painted trinket boxes containing notes written in Arabic, insinuating a private Holy War against America. As the panic builds all eyes turn toward a quiet man with secrets of his own. Ziad Al-Ahmadi fled Iraq in 2014. Once a brute, a soldier, a leader of Saddam’s genocidal Republican Guard, he has renounced aggression and embraces a peaceful obscurity.
But Ziad is haunted by an impossible past. He remembers his own execution after being exposed as a homosexual and the extremes of sex and violence that led to it. He remembers the men he led into battle, the men he seduced, and the men who betrayed him. But are these the memories of a man given a second life, or the delusions of a lunatic?