Your new movie Beware
of Goat - in a few words, what is it about?
is a comedy set in the rural American South about two
redneck families who get into a dispute because one familyís goat gets
loose in the otherís yard. Itís sort of an absurd (hopefully very
funny!) story, but we also use that framework to explore questions about
poverty and the human capacity for cruelty.
Beware of Goat
being about a neighbourly dispute, is this based on any real life
experiences, and some of the worst neighbours you've ever had?
the film is a combination and exaggeration of two different real life
stories told to me by family members. I canít tell you those stories
exactly without spoiling the film, but just know that all the characters
and events depicted in the movie have a basis in reality, no matter how
absurd it seems.
sources of inspiration for Beware
grew up in Western Tennessee, in a community similar to the one
portrayed in the film. Being from the rural American South is a
complex thing and thereís not many movies that have portrayed my
culture with nuance. Weíre always shown as evil, bigoted rednecks or
as supernaturally noble and wise, and neither of those things reflect my
experience. A lot of people in the rural South are awful because a lot
of people in the world are awful, but thereís also a lot of wonderful
people, and a lot of social and economic factors that arenít typically
contextualized when talking about the negative aspects of our culture.
Most of my work is about trying to portray that experience with as much
nuance and complexity as possible. I want to show the bad stuff, but I
want to do it compassionately and with a dark sense of humor.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
typical directing style is pretty maximalist and Iím not much for
subtlety. I figure if Iím going to make a directorial statement I
might as well do it with a megaphone. But with this project, I thought
the interactions between characters were the most important part of the
film and we had an incredible and funny cast who could carry scenes
without any help from me, so I tried to dial things back. The director
of photography Alex Woodruff and I tried to let the number one rule be
to let the actors carry the film, and make sure that nothing we did with
camera movement or lighting would distract from their performances.
about Beware of Goat's
cast, and why exactly these people?
performances in Beware of Goat are
probably my favorite thing about the movie, because I think everyone in
it is so great and I landed my first choice for every role. Peyton
Pilgrim, who plays Mitchell, is one of my best friends. We met in film
school and spent two summers working together at a salmon fishery in
Alaska while I was saving up money to make this movie, so he knows me
really well and he had a deep understanding of who the character was and
what the film was, which made working with him easy. We barely had to
talk on set at all. Lindsey Roberts, who plays Mitchell's mom Louise,
and Cecelia Wingate, who plays the obnoxious neighbor Mary, are both
living legends in the Memphis, Tennessee film and theater community.
Lindsey was one of the leads in the 2000 film The
Poor and Hungry,
which is one of my favorite Southern movies, and Cecelia played the lead
in He Couldíve Gone Pro,
which was a Memphis-made short film that really blew me away, and Iíd
been pestering her to act in one of my films since I first saw it. I was
drawn to them both because I had seen them play very complicated
southern characters with questionable morals who you couldnít help but
root for anyway. I had seen John Sneed, who plays Maryís husband
Roger, while working as a crewmember on a couple of different short
films and I was so impressed with his work ethic. Iíd only seen him in
very serious, dramatic roles, and I thought it would be interesting to
take his typical intensity and direct that energy toward this absurd
comedic role. All four of those roles were written with the actors who
played them in mind. The final role of Mitchellís older sister Millie
was originally written as an older brother, and I wasnít sure who I
wanted for that. A couple months after I wrote the first draft, I met
Lauren Gunn when I cast her as the lead in my previous short film Roadkill. When
we worked together on that I felt like she was an actor with a lot of
range and charisma, and I decided that I should change the brother
character to a sister, and that was when the final piece fell into
You of course also
have to talk about Beware
of Goat's main location, and what was it like filming there?
the right exterior location was the most stressful part of the
production. Because the script called to be shot in the yards of two
neighboring houses, that meant we had to find not one but two property
owners who were willing to let us invade their homes for a weekend for
not a lot of money. We finally found the perfect spot in Gallaway,
Tennessee, a small town about 30 miles outside Memphis, and the two
families who allowed us to shoot on their property were really wonderful
and accommodating. It was a difficult shoot, because we only had 2 days
at that exterior location to shoot 10 pages with constantly changing
lighting conditions, animal actors, and a small crew.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
though it was, shooting the film was a really great experience. Most of
our cast and crew worked for below their normal rate because they
believed in the movie (for which I am eternally grateful), and the
community in Gallaway was really friendly and welcoming to us, even
though we were running around in the middle of their town at all hours
of the night with a barking dog and an ornery goat. The crew was a mix
of some of my best friends and collaborators going back to film school
and a collection of Memphis-area film professionals who I had never
worked with before, and I learned a lot from watching them work.
$64-question of course, where can Beware
of Goat be seen?
of Goat is on the festival circuit right now throughout the US,
and it will be released online in early 2024. We had our world premiere
at the Tonkawa Film Festival in Oklahoma in mid-April, and weíre
headed to Los Angeles for a screening at the 2023 Pasadena International
Film Festival on May 7th, with more announcements to come. You can keep
up with the film and its upcoming screenings at my website and social
media links below. And if youíre a programmer or distributor who is
interested in showing the film, you can talk to me at
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of Beware
been pleased and surprised by the reception weíve gotten so far. We
won an award at our very first public screening, for Best Comedy at the
Tonkawa Film Festival in Oklahoma, and the audience just really came
alive by the time the credits rolled. Our film is a comedy, but itís
definitely a dark comedy and it deals with unpleasant subject matter in
a comedic way, so I thought there was always a chance of us alienating
the audience, but so far everyone has really met the movie halfway and
it seems like they both understand what weíre saying with the film and
appreciate the comedic element.
Any future projects you'd like to
I donít have any more short films to share at the moment, but Iím
developing two different features that Iím hoping to take to market in
2024 with the potential of one of them becoming my feature film debut.
The first is a Southern Gothic drama/thriller called The
Devilís Workshop and
the other is a dark comedy called Born
which is about a feud between a blue collar father and his 12 year old
sonís baseball coach. I think of it as a spiritual successor to Beware
of Goat. Iím
also developing an hour-long television crime drama called Fugitives
of Dust with my friends J. Aldo Gonzalez and OíShay Foreman,
both of whom worked on Beware
of Goat as production coordinator and producer, respectively. Itís about a smalltown sheriffís deputy in rural Illinois who suspects his boss may be
covering up a hate crime. I also direct music videos and promotional
content for small businesses, so once again, if any of that sounds
interesting to you, you can talk to me at
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
Growing up I always thought I wanted to write novels, but by the time I became a
teenager I realized that I was more drawn to movies. I went to film
school at the University of Memphis which taught me a lot about the
technical aspects of production and helped me find my voice as an
artist. Iíve been living and working in film production in the Memphis
area ever since.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Beware
of Goat was my first non-student film production with a real
budget. Most of my student work was amateur, but Iím still very proud
of my thesis film, called Roadkill, which is available
on YouTube and on my website. Itís a Southern Gothic thriller about an
upper-middle class teenager who tries to cover up a crime sheís
committed to avoid jeopardizing her future.
How would you describe yourself as a
I try to be as prepared as possible before we get on set, so that when
itís time to do it for real, everybody already knows what weíre
trying to accomplish and itís just a matter of executing it properly.
Above all, I try to work hard and take my job really seriously. As a
crewmember, it drives me insane being on set with a director who is
lazy or isnít taking their job seriously. Getting to make movies for a
living is the coolest job in the world and a huge blessing. Most of my
family when I was growing up worked really hard jobs in factories or
doing manual labor, so I want to make sure that I never take a job this
amazing for granted.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Korine, Sam Peckinpah, Paul Schrader, Lynne Ramsay and Michael Mann are
who came to mind first.
Your favourite movies?
Thatís always hard, but Iíll just throw ten out there that live in
my brain: Spring Breakers, First Reformed, The Passion of
Joan of Arc, Ride the High
Country, Manhunter, Boyhood, The
Fountain, Lost Highway, The Wolf of Wall Street and Sling Blade.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Hmm. Thereís not a whole lot of movies I truly hate, but I really disliked
the "live action" remake of The Lion King because
it seemed so pointless. I found Vice very grating
and annoying. Moonrise Kingdom and La
La Land are two skillfully made movies that lots of people love
but that just run completely opposite to my taste.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, social media,
My website: www.justintmalone.com
The filmís page on my website: justintmalone.com/bewareofgoat
Iím on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @justintmalone
Anything else you're dying to mention and I
have merely forgotten to ask?
think Iíve already talked way too much. Thanks for taking an interest
in the film!
Thanks for the