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Even though you have already answered this question in your last
interview [click here], could
you bring us up to speed and tell us in a few words what A
Foundling is about?
is about two Chinese sisters in the Old West who find the
crashed wreckage of an alien spaceship in the desert and discover a
wounded baby alien inside.
What I particularly liked
about A Foundling
was the detailed depiction of the relationship between the very dissimilar
sisters Virginia and Mattie. Was this in any way based on personal
No. Not a personal experience. When writing, I
think it’s important to create characters that are opposites of each
other as opposites create the most tension and help make the story more
interesting. I didn’t want it to be a man-woman story because those are
kind of cliché. It would be forced to then be a love story, or a story
about a man saving a woman or a woman saving a man – quite boring. By
making the story about 2 girls, you can explore personality conflicts and
create tension without falling back on boring gender clichés.
Between the bible-thumping Virginia and the
free-spirited Mattie, who do you feel closer to?
think Virginia is a Bible-thumper, she is just religious because she was
raised that way. While I, personally, am an atheist I feel closest to
Virginia because we both have very “puritan” values. On the other
hand, Virginia is quite smart and resourceful. I’m very much a wimp and
would be very grossed out by all the icky alien wounds and gore that are
in the movie. So in that way, we are quite different.
already talked about your Virginia Cindy Chiu in our last interview [click
here], but what can you tell us about Nora Jesse, the woman who
Nora is awesome. She came to an audition for
another project I was doing a few years before A
Foundling. I was
immediately struck by the very natural way she plays a character and all
the nuances she brings to a role. While Nora wasn’t right for that
particular project, I knew I wanted to cast her in a movie someday. So
when I sat down to write the script for A
Foundling, I wrote it with her
in mind. So let that be a lesson to all you actors – don’t be
discouraged if you don’t get the part, the director might call you back
for another movie a few years later.
There is one key scene of the plot that's
not in the film, and that's Virginia helping Mattie escape from the
brothel. Now I don't think the film is lacking anything in the least
without this scene, but was it ever filmed, or would you have filmed it
provided you had a bigger budget?
If I could do it over again, I WOULD film that
scene. You have to understand, that when I wrote and made A
was going through my “minimalist” phase where I was obsessed with
minimalist films and minimalism in filmmaking. Check out my short films Hardwood
Floors and Class on my IMDb page to get an idea of what I’m
talking about. I was obsessed with making scenes where almost nothing was
happening, yet there would be this underlying tension that would freak
people out. Hence, with my minimalist-obsessed aesthetic I was crazed with
the idea of opening this weird, sci-fi/western film with these extremely
tight close ups of the two girls talking to each other and you feel this
tension, but your not entirely sure where we are or what is going on. I
love that kind of thing.
That said, I’m totally over minimalism now. You
can’t expect to sell a film to a distributor where nothing happens in
the first 5 minutes. Some distributors just turned the thing off when they
saw how it opened. So if I were to do it again, I would totally start with
an action-packed rescue scene with lots of suspense, blood and violence. I
know it means I’m “selling out”, but I feel like if going with an
action-packed opening scene gets more people to see the movie, than it’s
worth the “artistic sacrifice”. Plus, shooting action scenes really
shows off your chops as a director.
Anyway, I’m writing a book now and the very
first scene in the book is a beheading and the first chapter ends with
full-blown carnage. I’ve grown as an artist in that way, I suppose.
How big was your
influence on the design of the alien, which is pretty much the driving
force of your movie?
I drew the original character design
of the alien and a great make up artist named Jenn Rose came up with the
tribal make up designs. I also sewed the costume myself. The face was all
thanks to Simpat Beshrian who rocked at getting it on and off everyday.
Most of the design was developed in a way to maintain the cute factor
while also making it easy to take on and off.
Whether you like it or not, and
whether it's appropriate or not (and I don't think it is), A
Foundling will be (and probably already has been) compared to
Steven Spielberg's ET at some point due to its subject matter. A
comparison you are at all happy with?
I don’t think
anyone has compared it to ET, but if they did I think that would be
awesome. Steven Spielberg rocks. But if people go into this movie, they
shouldn’t expect ET. This is a weird film that is more of an exploration
of the 2 female characters, rather than a sci-fi flick.
Foundling was your feature debut as a director. Lessons learned
Lots! Don’t shoot on location! Next movie will
be shot in LA – ideally on sound stages. The weather and the
far-away location almost killed us.
Pack lots of adventure, blood, and gore into the
first 5 minutes. Slow-starting movies just don’t sell.
DO hire great actors (there is where I succeeded)
and hire a great DP and crew (I also got lucky there).
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Based on your experiences with A
Foundling, do you have the desire to ever direct another feature
film, and/or other future projects you'd like to talk about?
now my main focus is writing my novel and we’ll see what I decide to do
after that. My book is a post-apocalyptic epic that has a lot of
excitement, mystery, horror, gore, a love triangle, robots etc… It’s a
blast to write and it will be even more fun to read, I hope.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
will be released soon on DVD, I
PROMISE. Please keep checking our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/A-Foundling/
Also check out our website: www.afoundling.com
(I am currently switching servers, so if it is not presently working, you
can view the website at: www.themojaveexperiment.com).
Anything else you are
dying to mention I have merely forgotten to ask?
for people to check out my art on DeviantArt: http://carlylyn.deviantart.com.
for the interview!