June 05, 2012
The art of acting has taken Jason Vail to a number of places during the last 20 years.
His passion led him to the Carolinas for school and to the ritzy, glamorous cities of New York and Los Angeles for professional work.
He has been seen nationwide on popular television shows, including “Drop Dead Diva,” “Celebrity Ghost Stories,” “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” “Guiding Light” and “Unsolved Mysteries,” and he’s even made impressions as far away as Japan.
Although Vail has called many areas a base, currently, just one is his home — Statesboro. And this week, acting will finally bring him here.
The Averitt Center for the Arts will be the site of the first public premier of The Asylum film studios’ newest production “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies,” which features the Statesboro resident Vail.
Vail will join other castmates for a free screening Friday, June 8, of the new horror/action flick at 7:30 p.m. in the Emmy Kelly Theater.
The movie premier will provide an opportunity for Vail and others to enjoy their work — which was filmed in Savannah and released last week — with some of their closest friends and family.
“There is no experience like having an audience watch the film you are a part of. There is a certain kind of energy that is brought to it,” Vail said, looking ahead to the screening. “There is absolutely no replacement for it.
“There were many people in the movie, and on the crew, from Statesboro. So there is definitely a Statesboro contingent in this film,” he said.
According to Tim Chapman, executive director for the Averitt Center, the venue will host the premiere, with sponsorship from Statesboro’s Quality Inn and Suites, to feature the local artists.
Approximately 358 tickets will be available to people on a first-come basis by calling and reserving a seat, he said.
Manny’s Neighborhood Grill, on South Main Street, will host an after-party for cast members and the public to meet and dine immediately following the screening. Prizes also will be awarded to ticket holders there.
The movie will show for one night only, Chapman said.
Vail said movie-lovers making it to the event can expect an enjoyable and entertaining couple of hours.
“It is a fun action flick, and it is going to be a good time,” he said. “If you have the night off and want to see something for free, you should definitely come out. It is going to be a fun time. It is a good film.
“So far, a lot of people have been praising this film. A lot of people are saying a lot of good things — which is cool,” Vail said.
As for the movie, expect to see exactly what the title promises.
“The movie is an epic film about Abraham Lincoln learning about an undead army that has risen up and taken over Ft. Pulaski in Savannah, during the Civil War,” Vail said. “Lincoln decides to take a group of secret servicemen down there and take over this group of walking dead so they can’t take over the whole country.
“As he leads this group to Savannah, he realizes that maybe he bit off more than he can chew, as he also begins encountering Confederate soldiers.
“It’s all tongue-in-cheek history,” he said. “I play one of the secret service agents by the name of John Wilkinson. Mr. Wilkinson has a dirty little secret that he is hiding from Mr. Lincoln.”
Vail believes people will love the film, if online statistics provide any insight.
The movie, which was bootlegged and downloaded approximately 20 million times prior to being released, was as high as No. 135 on a list ranking current popular movies on film-catalogue website IMDb, he said — higher even than a movie from which the mockbuster gained its inspiration, 20th Century Fox’s upcoming “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
“We got really lucky with this film. Everyone from the cast and crew really put their blood, sweat and tears into the movie. They really believed in it,” Vail said. “The script was actually pretty decent, the story concept was pretty decent, the actors are all pretty darn good and the director, under incredible pressure, churned out a very good product.
“The majority of the reviews have been good, and we are all very proud of this,” he said. “It is what it is — a funny, goofy, knock-off film. But I think people are going to have a great time watching it.”
To reserve your ticket (limit two per person), call the Averitt Center for the Arts at 912.212.2787.