Slamdance opens festival with macabre | ParkRecord.com

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Slamdance opens festival with macabre

Dominic Monaghan plays Charlie Pace on the television show "Lost."

The low budget, high concept Slamdance film "I Sell the Dead" is a departure for the actor, who was born in Germany but moved to Manchester in early childhood.

The 32-year-old actor played the hobbit Merry in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and, now, he stars as a 19th century grave robber in "I Sell the Dead," the film opening the Slamdance Film Festival Friday, Jan. 16, at 9 p.m. at Treasure Mountain Inn.

Facing death, Monaghan’s character, Arthur Blake, confesses to 15 years of grave robbing to a priest, played by Ron Perlman. Glenn McQuaid wrote and directed the film, and helped pen the film’s mysterious tagline: Never trust a corpse.

Monaghan was attracted to the unique voice in the script. "It had a macabre tone, Dickensian, with lots of different stuff mixed in."

Monaghan describes the film as a genre-bender. "It’s really everything," he said. "It’s a caper, a horror film, a dark comedy, a mystery, an adventure film and a Celtic love story," he said in a telephone interview last week.

The independent film was shot for under $1 million last winter in New Jersey. Since most of the filming was relegated to nighttime, and Monaghan wore period costume, he said the most difficult part of the shoot was staying warm, and staying awake.

Shoots typically began at 4 p.m. and lasted through dawn, he said.

"It was very cold in New Jersey in December," he said. "We were all huddled around one heater. Most of the time we were desperately cold."

Monaghan added that acting has taught him to be adaptable, if not always amenable, to different countries and cultures.

"When you work on a film like ‘I Sell the Dead’ that has a pretty small cast, it feels like a family," he said.

As for Monaghan’s Park City plans, the actor wants to snowboard and "get drunk with some Mormons."