Noah Segan spoke with Solzy at the Movies about Yiddish vampire horror-comedy Blood Relatives and learning from Rian Johnson.
In Blood Relatives, a115-year-old Yiddish vampire, Francis (Noah Segan) still looks 35. He’s been roaming American backroads solo for decades liking it that way. Things change when a teenager with fangs, Jane (Victoria Moroles), shows up and says that she’s his daughter. From there, the two of them end up going on the road, deciding whether to sink their teeth into family life.
In addition to Blood Relatives launching on Shudder this weekend, Segan also appears in Rian Johnson’s new Netflix comedy, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The newest Detective Benoit Blanc mystery is playing in theaters for a week starting on November 23. After this, the film will start streaming December 23 on Netflix.
Noah, it’s so nice to speak with you again—we met last week at the Glass Onion party.
Noah Segan: We did, we did. Nice to speak with you as well.
I love the use of Yiddish in Blood Relatives. What was the genesis for the script?
Noah Segan: The genesis for the script was becoming a father and learning that I had a bit of a responsibility to pass on my history and my culture to my kids.
With the Yiddish in the film, did you find yourself consulting a dictionary frequently while writing or were the words so familiar just from how much has been injected into the English vernacular in the past century and then some?
Noah Segan: I would say the vast majority of words I grew up—I’m a New York Jew, and I grew up hearing a lot of these words on an all too regular basis. But there were a couple that I wanted to look up that I was unfamiliar with, like tuchasleker is was a new one to me that I had heard (inaudible) should how it was used so I got to do a little bit of research.
How did you decide that it was the right time to direct your first feature film?
Noah Segan: Great question. Yeah, I appreciate it. How did I decide? I come from having worked with a lot of great writers and writers who direct their own material. I think that once I had a script that I felt comfortable with and that I felt as if there was a path to a movie there sort of felt like, well, I might as well direct it and try to take some of the pressure off anybody else willing to work on it.
What was the most challenging aspect of the production?
Noah Segan: As expected, with a movie like this, you never have enough time and enough money to do absolutely everything you would want to do. The interesting thing is—having worked on some movies before—you never have enough time, you never have enough money, the fish will always grow to whatever the size of the fishbowl that you have is. You just kind of roll with the punches. Obviously COVID was a challenge keeping everybody safe and running back and forth between a monitor and a set was a challenge. But nothing too dramatic happened that wasn’t on screen, thankfully.
What was the most challenging aspect of doing post-production during the pandemic?
Noah Segan: Well, I was lucky, both myself (inaudible) safe, Covid safe, heavily vaccinated, boosted, very careful when we went out and so we felt comfortable being together at that point in the pandemic. We were able to set up rules that kind of allowed us to be in the same room often and have a more traditional director-editor relationship. But because of the pandemic, there were not as many guests as I think often can kind of come through an editing room. That became a little bit of a challenge—I like to have guests.
Having appeared in many of Rian Johnson’s movies through the years, what would you say is the most valuable thing that you’ve taken from being on his sets when it came to your approach to directing?
Noah Segan: While on set, Rian is s always concentrating on how comfortable everybody is and how happy people are—keeping people feeling like they are welcome, respected, and valued. That’s something that I felt that’s helped me do my job for many years. The responsibility to sort of feel like I had to now be that guy and luckily, I had a really good example of it through him. And then as far as a technical aspect, he and a lot of other filmmakers, especially people who started off in the low-budget indie movie space, there’s a sort of consistent suggestion and piece of advice to just not write or shoot myself into a corner, always, no matter how much you think you’ve got it all figured out, you know exactly what your shots are and exactly what your tricks are. Give yourself enough compassion and grace to be able to make adjustments on the fly to make sure you can get your scene in the can.
How special is it to be featured in two films that are opening over Thanksgiving weekend?
Noah Segan: Well, I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays so it’s a real pleasure and an honor to be a Thanksgiving guest. (inaudible) I’m really happy about that. It’s really special. The last Knives Out movie—last Benoit Blanc movie—came out on a Thanksgiving holiday and I think it really was a great experience for a lot of families together and I hope this one is, too . I hope that our little fangsgiving with Blood Relatives can also be a bit of a reprise for reprieve for those who are together.
I’m wearing my Eat Shit shirt that I got at the Knives Out premiere.
Noah Segan: Awesome.
What do you hope people take away from watching the film?
Noah Segan: I hope people have a fun genre experience. First and foremost, it is a monster movie. It’s a vampire movie. I love vampire movies. I love monster movies. I hope people find it to be a different or unique take on a genre. And on top of that, I hope that there is a little reflection, maybe, on our family connections, whether it’s with our folks or with our kids or our chosen family. As much as it’s about vampires, it’s also about family. I think if this is something people can share or connect on, I’ll feel like I like I did my job.
Thank you again and have a happy Thanksgiving.
Noah Segan: Danielle, thank you so much—so nice to talk to you again.
Noah Segan: Take care.
Blood Relatives is now streaming on Shudder. Netflix releses Glass Onion in theaters for a week on November 23, 2022 and streaming on December 23, 2022.
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