This local mother and son had the chance to work behind the scenes with David Arquette and Greg Nicotero, the director of “The Walking Dead.”
VALPARAISO – Liz and Brian Cain’s departure from the Atlanta, Georgia, film scene was bloody, gory and everything they hoped it would be.
The mother and son from Fort Walton Beach have been doing background work for TV and movies the past few years, but recently returned to Valparaiso to take care of Liz’s mother. In their final gig, they played a preacher’s wife and son in an episode of Greg Nicotero's horror series “Creepshow,” an homage to George Romero's 1982 cult classic film. Nicotero is the executive producer, special make-up effects supervisor, and primary director for the AMC TV series “The Walking Dead.”
►RELATED: Couple weds with dockside ceremony, underwater photos in Florida spring
“We were extremely excited because it was ‘Creepshow,’ the old 1980s ‘Creepshow’ that everybody loved,” Liz said. “They were reviving it and we got to be part of it.”
The new version “Creepshow” first released on Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror fans, in October of 2019, but premiered on the AMC network on May 4. The episode featuring the Cains, “Times is Tough in Musky Holler,” aired May 18 on AMC.
‘The middle kid’
Liz has always had a case of middle child syndrome.
Growing up, she was the typical “middle kid,” loud-mouthed and looking for either trouble or attention. Acting was a natural fit, she said with a laugh.
Much of her experience was through theater with Stage Crafters Community Theatre, Inc., where she even wrote a musical comedy about tourists called “Redneck Riviera,” that wound up being dinner theater at Magnolia Grill in Fort Walton Beach. Brian was in it. It was so popular, they wrote a sequel, “Redneck Rendevouz,” she said.
She’s done it all though – from crew work to craft services. She was a production secretary when the mini-series “War and Remembrance” came to Pensacola.
“I got to work on an NAS flight line with all the stunt pilots,” Liz said. “That was fun.”
When she decided to pursue film work in Georgia, her first background role was as a nurse on Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots.”
►RELATED: OneBlood testing all blood donations for coronavirus antibody
“All of the people up there network,” Liz said. “One things leads to another and all of a sudden you’re busy doing all kinds of projects.”
frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Liz had a house in Fort Walton Beach, so instead of renting a second residence in Georgia to pursue acting, they lived in a tent.
“There was a beautiful RV park in High Falls, Georgia,” Liz said. “We got really good at camping out. All the money we saved made it worth it to go up there.”
After working for a couple of years, she sold her house in 2018. She returned to the RV park – this time in an RV.
“We really moved on up,” Liz said. “It was really nice. It was great living – inexpensive.”
Liz and Brian’s resume are full of titles people will recognize – “Pitch Perfect 3,” “Spiderman: Homecoming,” “Logan Lucky,” “Doctor Sleep” – with plenty of overlap, although Liz admits they keep their distance on set. She is still his mom after all.
“He has his group of friends and I have my little group of friends,” Liz said. “He’s just a good kid … Ironically, we both got the same gig for our last gig.”
‘Our last gig’
Liz scored her background role in “Creepshow,” because they wanted a “Tammy Faye Bakker wannabe,” she said.
“They wanted kind of a heavy lady, so I’m a heavy lady,” Liz said. “They wanted someone they could make fun of – kind of a character role. I love those things. I know what I am.”
The casting agent knew Liz and Brian were reliable.
Liz didn’t know who Nicotero was when they started filming. He was “very nice,” she said.
“After he helped me get up off the floor – he had us kneeling down in a nasty old jail cell in our first scene – I couldn’t get up,” Liz said. “Brian said, ‘Don’t you know who that is?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘That’s Greg Nicotero.’ I said, ‘Well, OK.’ We’re kinda starstruck.”
Brian, a U.S. Army veteran, had worked with Nicotero in 2016 on season 6 of “The Walking Dead.”
“When we got the chance to work with him again on ‘Creepshow’ I jumped at it,” Brian said. “Especially knowing what the scenes entailed and graphic they could be. It’s my favorite. I go to bed watching horror. It’s always been my favorite.”
Both met the actor David Arquette during filming. His 2002 film “Eight Legged Freaks” is one of Brian’s all-time favorites.
“Seeing how wacky and crazy he is – he was that same way in real life,” Brian said. “He was very polite, even though we weren’t main actors. The cast was so small, the main actors had no problem talking to us. That’s one of my favorite sets I’ve ever gotten to work on.”
Liz previously worked with Arquette’s sister, Patricia, in New Mexico on the movie “The Hi-Lo Country” with Woody Harrelson.
“At the time she had a 10-year-old son and my son was 10, so we sat between takes and talked about our sons,” Liz said. “We’re not supposed to really talk to the stars, but she was really friendly.”
It’s fun to be on the same set with someone you admire on screen, Liz said. At her gig prior, she was on set with Shirley MacLaine for the movie “Noelle.” She also has a photo with horror icon Jason from doing craft services for “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.”
In “Creepshow,” they were “the bad guys,” Liz said.
“We were supposedly holier than thou judging everybody in town and in cahoots with the crooked sheriff and crooked mayor,” Liz said.
“You’re punished if you speak out against the local government,” Brian said. “If you speak out against them, they take care of you in a certain way that is very graphic and violent and bloody and so much fun. I was the preacher’s son. Even though we didn’t do anything in particular, because we are his family, we got the punishment as well.”
In the first scene, they wore shackles in a jail cell.
“Man, they were real shackles,” Liz said. “They shot it over and over. They were painful – and I don’t even think it made it into the final cut.”
Brian said each of the background actors were given keys to their handcuffs because they were so restrictive.
Only their heads appeared in the next scene.
“We were taken to a place where we were all seated in chairs that were on a platform and the platform raises us all up through holes in a stadium,” Liz said. “Our heads are poking out through an arena, a football field or a sports field. Then they release from cages, the zombies of people we caused to die and the zombies get to crawl over and eat our brains.”
The last part is bloody and violent, Brian said – just how he likes it.
“You don’t see too much, but there is enough,” Brian said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people have to turn their heads.”
The best part is it’s old school, he said.
“Not a lot of CGI at all, all practical effects, makeup, robots, animatronics,” Brian said. “It’s so much fun.”
The most elaborate part of Liz’s role was her hair. The stylists teased it into a bouffant.
“They asked me if I would please try to save it for three days so they wouldn’t have to rebuild it everyday with all the hairspray,” Liz said. “The first day it was fine. I went home and wrapped it up in toilet paper and all that and saved it. The next day I got blood dripped all over it. I had a bloody hairdo and blood all over my face. I did get to wash my face, but my bloody hairdo I had to sleep with. Creepy.”
The clothing has to be just right, too.
“It can’t be too clean, but it can’t be too dirty or too bloody to look out of place,” Brian said. “That’s what can take awhile.”
Liz and Brian will miss working on TV and movies, but both are glad to have the memories.
“Every now and then I’ll get a text or a message, saying, ‘Hey I didn’t know you were on TV,’” Brian said. “It was a lot of fun. It’s a great experience to be able to share with my children. My daughter’s gotten to see me on TV, in movies. I like seeing her eyes light up.”