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An Interview with Peilin Kuo, Director of Prescott Place

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2013

Films directed by Peilin Kuo on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your movie Prescott Place - in a few words, what is it about?

 

A film noir that tells the story of a reclusive actress in the midst of a psychological breakdown.

 

Prescott Place very obviously pays hommage to 1940's Hollywood cinema - so what do you find so fascinating about that era, and what convinced you to so openly embrace the filmmaking techniques of yesteryear? And while we're at it, your movie also reminded me of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, in itself, an hommage to 1940's Hollywood - care to comment on that too?

 

Prescott Place is an ode to the best of Hollywood classics like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sunset Boulevard and The Twilight Zone.

When I started to talk about my idea for Prescott Place, I often got feedback like, ďItís like Chucky!Ē I donít dislike Chucky, but in my head, my picture is prettier than Chucky. I didnít intend the tone of the film to be an imitation of classic movies when I wrote the screenplay. I searched for inspiration during the production. Itís a surreal story, sort of a memory, so I felt it's time period must be in the past. Itís also a female driven story, so eventually Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Sunset Boulevard and Rebecca emerged from my research. The acting and film style are irresistible to me. After I finished the film, fans told me it also looked like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Nice!

 

Other sources of inspiration when writing Prescott Place?

 

My childhood memories of playing and talking to babydolls. I think every girl has similar experiences. Or am I weird?

 

How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?

 

Most female driven movies are directed by men and oftentimes are presented from a manís point of view. I want to represent the authentic voice of women.

 

Please do talk about your leads Alexis Iacono [Alexis Iacono interview - click here] and Marc Balfour for a bit, and why exactly them?

 

We couldnít find the right Jane Prescott at the first round of auditions. We set up the second round, and in walks Alexis Iacono. Unlike other actresses who read lines only, Alexis was already in character. Her performance blew every one away. Thatís the moment you got the feeling: thatís it! Alexis made Jane Prescott come to life. She is Jane Prescott - a classic physical beauty!

Doesnít Marc Balfour look like Errol Flynn? His classic gentlemanly charm made for great chemistry with Alexis!

 

You also have to talk about the seamless special effects work on the babydoll for a bit, and how was it achieved?

 

We did a couple of test-shoots. I didnít have a clue how to make it look the way I wanted, but I had a very talented crew, especially the DP Lance Kaplan and the special effects artist Jesse Spiro. If you have super talented people on your team, and you trust each other, oftentimes the results are excellent.

We shot the babydoll without a head, then we shot Alexis playing the babydoll in front of a green screen. In postproduction, we replaced Alexisís babydoll head on top of the doll in the computer to bring the character to life!

 

What can you tell us about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?

 

I love being on set for the creative atmosphere! We shot the film at a gallery so we could only use the space at night. The call time was 5pm, then we shot nonstop to 5am in the morning for 5 straight days. It was overwhelming but I didnít hear any complaints and I think everyone on the team enjoyed the process of creating something special.

 

A few words about audience and critical reception so far?

 

Whether it was an audience at Cannes Short Film Corner or a small independent film crowd, the responses have been so incredibly humbling. The cast and myself have been overwhelmed with the reception we have been receiving. People of all ages have thanked me for bringing back 'Yesteryear Old Hollywood' noir. And that alone, is such a reward.

 

The $64-question of course: Where can the movie be seen?

 

We are proud to be distributed by the SnagFilms!

Watch Prescott Place here:

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/prescott_place

 

As far as I know, for your upcoming movie A Thousand Deaths - The Anna May Wong Story, you will be returning to old Hollywood. So what can you tell us about the movie, and what excites you about its subject matter Anna May Wong?

 

It's a coincidence that my next project is a period piece. I first encountered Anna May Wong in 2005 when I saw her film Dangerous to Know (1938) on the anniversary of her 100th birthday. I thought she was strange but her image on the program handout stuck with me. On the cover, she was scantily clad standing in front of the shadow of a Chinese dragon. In 2008, while searching online for an old doll for Prescott Place, I came across an Anna May Wong doll. It was almost like she was haunting me. I bought the doll and it seemed to stare at me, daring me to get to know it. I began to research her. As an Asian woman myself, I related to her struggle as a person caught between East and West. Even though she was born in a different time, I was so inspired by her strength, her will to fight, her persistence to fulfill her dream. While her story has a bright side, it also has many dark moments. I want to share her story in the medium she loved mostÖ film.

 

Other future projects you'd like to share?

 

I do have tons of ideas but right now Iím focusing on the production of my first feature film A Thousand Deaths - The Anna May Wong Story.

 

What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I didnít go to any film school but I have my masters degree in drama. I started to get involved with filmmaking when I was in graduate school. I basically learned by doing it. I think those excessive film school tuitions are put to better use paying for my short films, right? Iím still in the learning process but Iím mastering it.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Prescott Place?

 

My films were more experimental before Prescott Place. I finally found my love for drama while producing Prescott Place. Almost every short film I made won awards from film festivals. If you are interested, you can visit my website at www.peilinkuo.com.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

A filmmaker with a womanís eyes and heart to observe and present the world.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

David Lynch, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock... hmm, we need more serious female filmmakers. It seems that Hollywood thinks women can only make comedies, doesn't it?

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Peilin Kuo
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

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

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Peilin Kuo here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Peilin Kuo at adultvideouniverse.com

My most recent favorite is the Chinese silent film The Goddess (1934). The lead actress Ruan Lingyu made me cry even without speaking.

http://archive.org/details/thegoddess

 

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

 

Havenít thought of that yet.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

For Prescott Place:

http://www.prescottplacemovie.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prescott-Place/160089877344149

For A Thousand Deaths- The Anna May Wong Story:

https://www.facebook.com/amw1000

Please ďLIKEĒ them on Facebook! Thank you for your support in advance!

 

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

 

No! Thank you for viewing!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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