Your upcoming movie What Goes Around - in a few words, what's
it going to be about?
It's an independently produced low-budget crime thriller that hinges
primarily on characters as individuals and as a collective. Given the
genre and my wanton disrespect toward censorship, What Goes
Around will be quite violent. It contains bashings, a rape,
castration, etc. Very disturbing. But it also has a sense of macabre
humour, refusing to take everything seriously. Essentially there are three
story arcs within a meta-story. That makes it sound like Sin
City or Pulp Fiction or something. My film is NOT like
that. If you could compare it to any film, it'd have to be
Babel or Syriana. Everything affects
everything else. One thing leads to another leads to another. It's like
What were your inspirations when
writing What Goes Around?
I've been trying to make
an action movie for ages. Since I first started making movies, in fact. I
had various ideas over the years, mainly about plots. But I'm not a
particularly plot-driven writer or director. I don't want to be. I like
writing about characters and their journeys from one type of person to
another. I'm not saying you don't need a plot or that character
pieces are devoid of one. There's always at least a thin thread of where
they're going. A beginning, middle, and end (so to say). But depth draws
me in both as an artist and an audience member. Katelyn Lewis inspired the
character of Clue and everything kind of evolved from there. The seed grew
into a tree with all these interesting branches leading to some very cool
concepts. Once the family tree was established between protagonist, love
interest and their kid, it became easier and more enjoyable to write. Of
course, I have my own blend of pop culture references hidden in there
somewhere. It's hard for any artist not to include their influences in
their work. Joel and Ethan Coen's films, especially the earlier ones like
Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing were a huge
influence. As were Scorsese's movies Mean Streets,
Goodfellas and The Departed. But all of those
movies are set over relatively long periods of time. I wanted to create an
epic crime saga in a very limited timeframe within minimal space. So I set
What Goes Around in a single 24-hour period and mostly within
the houses of one street. I used to joke that it's like Training
Day and Wayne Kramer's grossly under-appreciated Running
Scared. And, in a lot of ways, my film is like both. One could even
say they're a trilogy of unrelated stories. They're linked, not
thematically but emotionally.
What can you tell us
about the intended look and feel of your movie?
everything these days, What Goes Around is a collage of visual
ideas stolen from directors of a younger generation. I'm rather partial to
Oliver Stone's approach, the way he plays with the appearance of footage.
JFK, in particular. It's intense because, even though Stone
took liberties with reality, the film still felt genuine. And that's very
much something I want to dabble in with What Goes Around. But
it's not just going to be that fictional documentary style. I'm also
playing with emotions and interactions. I'm going to great lengths to
insert homoerotic undertones. Neil Jordan's adaptation of Interview
with the Vampire is one of my favourite movies and it is writhe with
bisexuality before it became popular. The relationship between Lestat (Tom
Cruise) and Louis (Brad Pitt) in that movie mirrors the interaction
between two characters in my film. Although, in What Goes Around, these characters are not vampires but vapid college kids who
experiment with drugs. Very Bret Easton Ellis. The number 3 appears
frequently in my film as well. Which brings me to yet another prominent
idea for the overall approach to What Goes Around. I'm
heightening everyday life into a kind of hyper-reality. It's surreal and
gritty. The violence and the sex is dramatically down-played and/or
exaggerated according to the individual character's emotions. In one
scene, Vincent (played by Jayden Caulfield) is running through a city... chased by something. Everything will be shot from a shoulder mount so it
looks like the background is passing behind him. His exhaustion and fear
will be expressed through the interaction between claustrophobic
camerawork and drowned out colouring that will look almost sepia. In
another scene, a character is knocked unconscious so the camera will drop
onto the floor and everything will blur and fade to black. When that
character wakes up, everything will be in black and white. There is no
colour until focus shifts to another character. Again, this is something
Oliver Stone uses to great effect. However, I did not choose to make the
film that way because of Stone. I experimented on one of my own previous
short films, Pale Horse, and this style worked very well for
how I wanted to tell a story. It was highly impactful, and Pale
Horse was met with almost unanimous praise so I decided to try it
again. The fourth and final piece of the puzzle is hauntingly long takes.
Shot/reverse shot is rarely used until the end. I want What Goes Around
shot in a manner comparable, at least in some scenes, to
Terrence Malick's Badlands. The beauty of an environment
inhabited by people with ugly thoughts and questionable motives.
about your projected cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
normally seek out unconventionally attractive guys and girls of various
ages to play my characters. But, this time, I decided to hire a
"beautiful" cast. This feels more like I'm hosting a pageant
than making a film. But everyone I've hired is extremely talented. Plus
they've all done well for themselves working on internationally syndicated
television shows and/or independent films. Beau Yotty, who will play the
film's protagonist, was a featured extra in Burn Notice and a
few other shows alone. His agent contacted me, so I sent him the fully
copyrighted third draft of the script. It was as simple as that. Like that
whispering voice in Field of Dreams says: 'Build it and they
will come!' I just "built" an excellent story that drew a lot of
heat. I don't know if I was lucky or just good at what I do. I've since
signed Rosie Keogh (Rise), Andrew Nicholson
(Ravenscrag-fantasy series), Nicholas Neild (The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader), and Jayden Caulfield
(The Ghost of Victoria Park). Among others. And I'm waiting on
Rachel Forsyth (Daddy's Little Girl) to sign.
far as I know, the film is still in pre-production - so what's the
tentative schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be released
onto the general public (and I do know it's probably way too early to
We've decided on a 2-month shooting schedule, which
will begin in May and end late July 2014. The editing will begin almost as
soon as the shooting does so that a rough cut can be viewed and analysed
by my producers and I no later than September. We want What Goes Around
ready to be entered into Cannes Film Festival in 2015.
Hopefully festival viewing will lead to theatrical exhibition. But, at
this stage, we really just want to make a damn good movie.
Any future projects beyond What Goes Around?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
have several projects in various levels of development. I won't be
directing anything straight away but I am producing a few films under the
ImageScape Films banner. Best Seller is a thriller about a
serial killer who uses a novelist to get his macabre stories out to the
public as wildly popular fiction. Then there's At the Messine
Gate, a haunting World War I drama. Both pictures will be directed
by my friend, cinematographer, and co-founder of ImageScape Films,
Michael Freudenberg. That's as much as I'm able and willing to reveal at
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
My producers and
I are working on creating an entire campaign that will help promote the
film. A lot of things are in the middle of construction at ImageScape
Films (our production company) at the moment because we want to make our
first feature film a memorable one.
Thanks for the