Slasher’s Adam MacDonald: “Hang in there, because sometimes things just need to blossom in their own time”

Adam MacDonald is a busy guy. When he’s not acting on series like Tribal and Rookie Blue, he can be found behind the camera, writing and directing his own projects, like the horror films Backcountry and Pyewacket.

MacDonald’s latest directing gig has been for TV’s Slasher: Flesh & Blood. Airing Mondays on Hollywood Suite, Flesh & Blood reunited him with series creator Aaron Martin and showrunner Ian Carpenter.

We spoke to MacDonald about directing Flesh & Blood, his career and his next film, Out Come the Wolves.

Director Adam MacDonald with Sabrina Grdevich

You first came onto my radar on Rookie Blue and Being Erica, but it’s been a real blast over the last few years to see you writing and in the director’s chair. I’ve gotten a chance to see Backcountry and Pyewacket, so congratulations on writing and directing those.
Adam MacDonald: Thank you so much. Bruce McDonald gave me the advice, ‘Go write something, because someone’s not going to hand you a feature film to direct.’ It’s just very rare if it’s not impossible. And then attach yourself to that script. That proved to be very sage advice. I gave it my all and then, yeah, it worked out.

Slasher: Flesh & Blood reunites you with Ian Carpenter and Aaron Martin. Take me back to Slasher: Solstice. How did that all come about? Did Aaron have you in mind for directing?
AM: I found out from Enuka Okuma, who’s a good friend of mine who was in Rookie Blue. She was in the first season of Slasher. I knew Aaron Martin from Being Erica. I’ve always liked him, always been a fan of his work. I loved working with him and I love his writing, as an actor. And, so I knew of Slasher, and I went to the premiere with Ian at a theatre when they premiered Season 1 and we were in the audience. I remember Ian and I looked at each other like, ‘We’d love to work on a show like this.’ And we meant it, and Ian’s really close with Aaron. So it wasn’t a jealousy thing, it was more like, ‘This is really good. This is cool, man. It’s just like a perfect fit.’

But going back to Enuka, she told me that Aaron saw Backcountry and was talking really highly of it and he really liked it, and that meant a lot to me. We met after that and he just expressed how much he liked Backcountry. When Season 2 came around, he asked if I was interested and I was blown away. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is amazing,’ but I was shooting Pyewacket at the time. And then Season 3 came around and I got another chance to come in and pitch and all that stuff to be part of the team.

I was so excited, and I drew up some storyboards, got really jazzed, went over, pitched in front of them and it just worked out. Working with the writing, I can see these visuals and it’s just really fortunate.

So, when you’re reading through a script, do those images pop right into your mind?
AM: Oh yeah, right away. I was the kid in class daydreaming constantly. And I’m a very voracious reader, so my imagination is pretty visual anyway. I’d read the script and I could see it in my mind, and I would be like, ‘Oh that’d be great if I could do that.’ And Ian, being very supportive, we’d try some things. I’d say, ‘This is what I want to do here.’ And he’d be like, ‘Yeah, go for it.’

And certain scenes, certain emotions, would be written and some things would be a certain angle. I would go for that to try to accentuate what’s already written there by Ian and Aaron. When it works, it’s just the best feeling.

Adam MacDonald with David Cronenberg

I can’t ask a director question without asking you about working with David Cronenberg. What was it like to work with him and direct him?
AM: Wow. Just hearing that from you almost seems surreal. It was pretty incredible. It was very satisfying because he came on set as an actor and I treated him like an actor. I think he appreciated that, but I was just, of course, this is natural to do that. This is what he’s coming in for. So I’d give him notes and all that stuff. You’re telling them where to go, what to do and all that stuff, you just hope it jives with everybody. And he was great.

And I remember the second day shooting with him, it was a big scene and I was nervous, but it went away within five minutes. I never really get nervous directing, but it was one of the only days I was ever a little nervous because of him. It was definitely a memorable experience.

Last question. What’s the status of Out Come the Wolves?
AM: That’s going to camera next year. It takes a while and certain things have to come into place, but we’re finally at that finish line and we are scheduled to go to camera in 2022, finally, after nine years of development. We’ve got Missy [Peregrym to star] and Enuka wrote the script.

If someone reading this is an aspiring director or just wrote a script and things are taking longer than they think they should, just hang in there, man. Hang in there, because sometimes things just need to blossom in their own time. And when they do you’ve just got to be ready. Sometimes it takes a year. Sometimes it takes 10 years. It’s about perseverance.

Slasher: Flesh & Blood airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Hollywood Suite.

Images courtesy of Cole Burston.

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