On Friday, June 9th, Aaron B. Koontz’s Camera Obscura hits theaters before making its way onto VOD platforms everywhere just a few days later on the 13th. The psychological horror film stars Christopher Denham (Money Monster, The Bay), Nadja Bobyleva (Bridge of Spies), Noah Segan (Looper, Starry Eyes, Brick), and also features some other stellar supporting talent that should be familiar to genre fans, including Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End, Beyond the Gates), Andrew Sensenig (We Are Still Here), and Gretchen Lodge (Lovely Molly).

Daily Dead recently spoke to Segan about working on Camera Obscura with both Koontz and Denham, with whom he shares most of his scenes with. Segan also chatted about the privilege of being able to make movies with your friends, getting to be the “good guy,” and more.

Congrats on your impending fatherhood and getting married. Seems like you’ve got a lot of things to be excited about these days, including the release of this film. Because you had collaborated with Aaron back on Starry Eyes, was that how you then became involved with Camera Obscura?

Noah Segan: Yes—that's the one-word answer, but I won't just give you that [laughs]. We met on Starry Eyes, but Aaron has been a huge supporter in the genre and in the realm of indie horror movies especially, for quite a while now. He’s been part of the Fantastic Fest family for a long time, just like I am, and a longtime attendee, so we had known each other through that. So, when Starry Eyes happened, that was a lot of the Fantastic Fest crew coming together to make a movie, which was great.

I’m sure being able to work is always great, but is it more fun for you when you get to come into a project like this one, where you get to collaborate with folks that you have a repertoire with, as opposed to just coming in blindly and meeting everybody for the first time and finding that comfort zone?

Noah Segan: Oh, yeah, but it is a little bit like six of one, half dozen of the other, because getting to work is always a privilege. But, of course, you always want to work with your friends because you want to work with people you like. If you can spend twelve hours just being with people you do like, that's the best-case scenario.

For Camera Obscura, I really appreciated the fact that it was a very different twist on some pretty familiar tropes and it kind of blends them all in a way I wasn't expecting. What was the appeal for you in terms of coming in and taking on the role of Walt? I really liked him, too, and I wish we had had a little more between him and Jack, because I thought you and Christopher had a really nice back and forth.

Noah Segan: Well, I really, really loved working with Chris. I hope he loved working with me as much as I loved working with him. He said he did, so I hope he was telling the truth [laughs]. And he turned out to be a cool friend. I remember when Aaron was on the podcast talking to people about that role, and when he mentioned Chris, I couldn't imagine anyone else doing it. And thankfully, Chris agreed to do it.

But, you know, I play a lot of bad guys, and I don't think I'm nearly as bad as most of the guys I play, honestly [laughs]. I think I'm not that kind of guy, so I’m happy to play guys with a bit more class now, and so I'm glad we could sort of have a little bit of that in my job. It was nice to tap into the side of myself that actually doesn't just murder people for once [laughs].

I would love to hear about when you are working with someone like Aaron, who is such a huge fan of the genre, how was it to see him transition to his role as director on this project? And because you have been such a huge part of the independent horror scene for a while, did you offer up any sort of wisdom to him while you guys were in production?

Noah Segan: You know, Aaron didn't really need any help, just because he’s been preparing for this for a long time now. For this, it was like evangelical filmmaking, where if it isn't on the page, it's not on the stage, and so the script is the most important thing that we have to draw from.

I was lucky enough to have some insight into this project from the very early stages with Aaron, because we're friends. I read the script very early on, and I gave him some notes, and we talked about what worked and what needed to be adjusted, but just minimally, really. I think that helped him hone his vision. So, by the time we got on set, it's kind of like, "Well all right. I've actually been reading it before, so I feel pretty comfortable acting, and he’s comfortable as the director, too. So then it became, to me, whether or not there was anything extra that he needed on the day in order to make the best movie.

And in the case of this, luckily they had people like Chris [Denham], and also Chris Heinrich, who's a very old friend of mine, who was our cameraman. And there was also Alex Euting, who's a terrific producer, and also a guy I've known for years. He was there to help support Aaron.

Aaron had a lot of folks around making sure that he had what he needed. And then his own experience having been a producer was his biggest asset, so he could take off the director hat, the filmmaker hat, and put on the producer hat, and handle that stuff after work, too. So I think all of us working together as a unit took a lot of pressure off of us as individuals.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.