“I can’t tell you much,” Rob Mello says of his new role, Joseph Tombs, in the upcoming Universal release Happy Death Day. “Universal is being really tight on this. I can tell you I kicked a fucking hospital door off its hinges, though. Nearly killed everyone behind it!”
Happy Death Day, which will see its release in October 2017, revolves around a young woman named Tree who is living her final day on earth over and over again as she attempts to discover who it is that will murder her at the end of the day. Directed by Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) and written by Scott Lobdell, the film has received a lot of excited attention since the trailer debut.
It wasn’t Happy Death Day that brought Rob to my attention, however. The brooding character actor with unconventional good looks and a jawline that could cut steel has another film he wants to make, and calling it a passion project would be putting it mildly.
“It’s called The Shadowbox, and it’s about a day in the life of a veteran with PTSD,” Mello says. “We’re shooting it from the inside out to give the audience a feel of what it’s like. I’m tired of the constant beat of war drums with so few taking into account the true cost which has nothing to do at all with money.”
The real life horrors of soldiers suffering from PTSD would put most genre films to shame. Current statistics put veteran suicide rates at 22 per day. That number is terrifying considering we have soldiers deployed all over the world at the moment and a President who recently gave a speech before the U.N. in which he discussed nuking another country off the map.
How many more soldiers will we see coming home to a place that no longer offers comfort? How many more soldiers will come home unable to attend the festivities on the 4th of July because the sound of fireworks exploding mimic those of a battlefield a little too well?
The actor and filmmaker, who is also a former Marine, hopes that this film will shock its audience enough to be a catalyst for change on every level.
“Everyone at least knows a veteran or is related to one,” he points out. “People should be working for better treatment and substantial resources from the government down for something like this, but no one is doing anything. I hope to change some of that with this film.”
To get the project made, though, he needs your help. Mello has set up an Indiegogo campaign for the film’s funding with a goal of only $10,000.
“That gets the film made and everyone involved on it paid,” Mello explains, “even though most people working on the project really don’t expect payment. They’re doing it because they believe in it.”
If you’d like more information about The Shadowbox, or would like to donate, take a look at the Indiegogo page for all the details.