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An Interview with Daved Wilkins, Star and Co-Writer of Last Call

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2020

Films starring Daved Wilkins on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Last Call - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?

 

Last Call is a story about two strangers whose lives intersect one night over a phone call that could save a man's life. I play Scott, a depressed and suicidal alcoholic who is giving the universe every chance to tell him he should stick around and decides to call the suicide hotline number he had written down months earlier - only to find out he wrote the number down wrong and calls a local community college where the night janitor answers. What follows is the dance of a man who doesn't feel like he should live to see tomorrow, and a woman who cares enough to try and help a stranger.

 

What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Daved Wilkins can we find in Scott?

 

I spent a good year and half developing the character slowly over the writing process. I spoke with people who had lost someone to suicide and people who had attempted and thankfully failed. Throughout my own life I have suffered from anxiety and depression and I know how quickly the thoughts can spiral and how blind it can make you to hope. The negative thoughts can be hard to overcome and you tend to isolate yourself even more from those who care about you and who could offer help. Almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

As an actor, was it any strain for you to never come face to face with your co-star during the entire movie?

 

We had the advantage of only rehearsing over the phone. My co-star Sarah Booth [Sarah Booth interview - click here] was already in Canada and I was living in Los Angeles so by the time we all descended on Windsor where we were filming, we were both used to these characters not reacting off of each other's body language or facial expressions. It forced me to have to really listen and stay present. It was a challenge but staying present took away all the distractions of the camera and the small space to navigate.

 

You've also co-written the movie together with director Gavin Michael Booth [Gavin Michael Booth interview - click here] - so what were your sources of inspiration when writing, and what can you tell us about your collaboration with Gavin?

 

This was my first collaboration with Gavin. I have always written with another person so for me it was just learning how our styles could complement each other. We are both very fond of dialogue and would go back and forth about the tiniest line to get it just right. Grounded and authentic were the names of the game for us. Making sure these felt like real people in a real situation so that an audience could let themselves get lost in the naturally voyeuristic nature of seeing both characters for the entirety of the film. We felt like if we both felt good about it then it would come across that way, and for the most part that is how every audience has received it.

 

Was it intended from the get-go that Last Call would be shot in one continuous take or did that idea develop only later?

 

Yes. What came first was the story, that was always the most important part. When I pitched to Gavin the idea of a man calling a suicide hotline I knew that in order to keep an audiences attention for 80 minutes we would need to do somehting bold and outside the box, so I told him I wanted to shoot it in one take and show it split screen so you would see both characters at all times. I had worked with Gavin on a single take music video just a month or two prior to bringing him this idea, and I knew he had written another script that would be four continuous shots like Timecode, so it didn't take much convincing to get him 100% on board.

 

I would assume that more rehearsals go into making a single take movie like Last Call than a regular feature - so what was the rehearsing process like?

 

When you eliminate the ability to edit a film, you have to essentially edit while you're writing. We made a lot of changes during the rehearsal process on location to make certain everything flowed smoothly and that the timing worked right. We would run through the script twice at one location and then move to the second location and run it twice again, either Sarah or I off in a room somewhere so we could continue the process without seeing each other. The hardest part for me was accessing all the emotion time and time again. It would take hours after we wrapped each night to get my mind settled.

 

The shoot as such - how psyched and/or nervous have you been through it all, and in your personal opinion, were there parts that didn't come out right? And how many takes did it actually take to nail it?

 

We are always our own worst critics, right? There are definitely moments from other takes that might have been more powerful but the one we chose to be the final film just seemed to hit on every level. We ended with 5 complete takes of the film to choose from and, apart from the first one, they all had some incredible moments that I'd love for the world to see someday.

 

Based on your experience with Last Call, could you ever be persuaded to make another continuous-take movie?

 

Haha. I don't think so. I'd be tempted to shoot long takes or tracking shots, but unless the single take really helped tell the story in the best possible way, I'd much rather be able to take the time with an editor and piece the film together like a beautiful puzzle.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I am finishing a new draft of a faith-based thriller that I'm particularly excited about. It's a story that I've had kicking around my head for 25 years now and to have it out on paper is already thrilling but being able to bring it to life is going to be an amazing experience.

 

What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

My grandmother was a silent film actress (Baby Jeanne Carpenter), so I was always aware of acting as a thing, but it wasn't until I first got on a stage and heard the audience laugh that I fell in love with it. That said, I still spent a lot of time trying to convince myself I didn't want to do that with my life, so I never trained formally. I took classes and workshops once I moved to LA, and I found most of them were helpful because they expanded my network of people in a new city.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Last Call?

 

I have worked on a couple of larger budget films and interesting indies, almost always because a friend was directing or producing. I realized pretty early on being out in LA that I was going to need to write and create my own things if I wanted to stay busy and fulfilled, so I've made a few short films or sketches over the years as I've continued to figure out who I am and what story I have to tell.

 

How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?

 

Oh boy. I always try to find a piece of myself in any character I play. Something that connects me to them. I've been told I'm a little unpredictable on screen, and I like that. When something is unpredictable, you really have to pay attention to it.

 

Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?

 

Robin Williams has been a lifelong inspiration. When he died I took it so hard, like a family member had passed. I'm always attracted to comedians who delve into more dramatic works, or who just have a unique way about them, like Robert Downey jr and Paul Rudd who became superheroes. But I look more like Paul Giamatti, so I guess I'll just have to settle for his incredible career.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

The Princess Bride is my number one always. I think it's perfect. Some other top favorites would be Shaun of the Dead, Jerry Maguire, Meet Joe Black, and Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Those movies I will almost always watch if I come across them.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I don't have the time or bandwidth to hold on to bad movies. There are so many good ones, I'd rather just focus on that. If I'm watching a movie and it's really bad, I just stop watching that movie. Life's too short to watch bad movies.

 

Your website, social media, whatever else?

 

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Find Daved Wilkins
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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
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Thailand  eThaiCD.com
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You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and maybe even TikTok at @yougotdaved or at my website www.yougotdaved.com

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Vote!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank YOU!!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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