With his first feature film, Outlaws and Angels, opening this week following its premiere at January’s Sundance Film Festival, writer-director JT Mollner has a burgeoning career as a filmmaker.
But no matter what he’s doing, the Las Vegas native blocks out three months a year to return to his hometown for a very special project: Mollner’s family has run the popular Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terrors haunted houses since 1992.
“I consider the haunted house a project like any other film project,” he says. “I tell my agency that I’m unavailable during that time every year.”
The rest of the year, Mollner is busy in LA, where he’s been based for the past decade. “From 2006 on, my film school, in essence, was directing short films, commercials and music videos,” he says. Now he’s put that knowledge to use with Outlaws and Angels, a dark Western starring Chad Michael Murray, Luke Wilson and Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood and Frances Fisher.
The cast also includes a couple of Vegas-based actors—former Tony & Tina’s Wedding star John Lombardo and Mollner’s father Duke—in small roles, and Mollner is happy to bring the movie (which was shot in New Mexico) to a hometown audience. “I’m really excited for the Vegas crowd that I grew up with to be able to go see the movie on the big screen like it was intended,” he says. As for the future? “I have another film that’s written to take place in Las Vegas, so I definitely plan on coming back.”