Dec. 6, local filmmaker and former journalist Stuart Wahlin announced acclaimed actor Bill Oberst Jr. is attached to Slay Utterly. The film, to be shot in 2014, is a modern thriller inspired by the Villisca (Iowa) ax murders of 1912, which were also the subject of Wahlin’s 2013 documentary, The Ax Man Enigma. Slay Utterly will be the writer-director’s second feature film. Wahlin’s first feature, Hand of Glory (2012), earned the filmmaker “Best Director” at the Prairie State Film Festival in Chicago last year.
Variety, a leading film industry trade publication, describes Oberst’s performance in Children of Sorrow (2013) as “chilling.” Oberst also recently received the “Best Actor” award at the Pollygrind Underground Film Festival in Las Vegas for his portrayal of an insomniac writer in Coyote, which also won “Best Picture.” Oberst’s performance in Take This Lollipop, a groundbreaking Facebook experience that puts users in the middle of a short film, earned the project a Daytime Emmy in 2012.
Though best known for his work in horror films, Oberst also regularly appears in mainstream films and television, in addition to a long history on the stage. With more than 100 roles under his belt in five years, Oberst is often regarded as the hardest-working actor in independent film.
But Oberst considers Slay Utterly a passion project, believing in the film enough to also sign on as a producer.
“Bill is much more than just a horror actor,” Wahlin said of his film’s star. “He’s a tremendously talented artist who’s going to win an Oscar someday.”
From the Dec. 18-24, 2013, issue