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An Interview with Michael Coulombe, Director of The Wrong Profile

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2015

Films directed by Michael Coulombe on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Wrong Profile - in a few words, what is it about?


The Wrong Profile is a good film because it explores the psyche of both a serial killer and the men who hunt them. Here we have two FBI agents, John Parker and Vincent Gant on a stakeout outside of serial killer Zachary Scott's house. Vincent has to take a piss break and leaves John alone in the car for several minutes. But when John hears a voice he doesn't recognize over his 2 way radio, he soon finds out what it's like to be the hunted when Zachary uses Vincent as a way to lure him out of the car.


How did the project fall together in the first place?


Kenny Kurtkan and I had met on the set of another film. We hit it off and got in touch. Kenny is young but he is smart and very driven. I like that. I find very few people who are as passionate and driven as I am. I had showed him my first film Ax and he loved it. The style, the pacing, the look. He wanted me to direct his film The Wrong Profile and hoped that I would use the same team (most of which I did). He sent me the script and then it just moved forward from there.


With The Wrong Profile having been written and produced by Kenny Kurtkan, what was your collaboration with him like before, during and after the shoot, and how hands-on or hands-off was he as writer/producer?


Well I should mention that literally when Kenny sent me the script he went to Europe for 2 months with his wife and family. Our entire pre-production consisted with midnight Skype calls and email chains. This was his first experience producing so I sort of laid the ground work and did what I could from here. It's not very conventional but it worked. And then when he returned we had a few face-to-face meetings and then did casting and location scouting.

I only mention all of this because I get asked all the time as a filmmaker the best to make movies... and I always like to give examples because every project I have done has been so different... for instance, my writing partner Victor Miller (Friday the 13th) lives up near San Francisco and we always manage to write because we use Skype, the phone, and email... it worked much the same way with Kenny and I, especially since I live in Los Angeles and he is an hour away in Orange Country. Determination and perseverance always shine through!


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


Well I have been told I am a good director. I would like to believe it's because I have been on the set of over 150 projects mostly as a script supervisor. I suppose that that is true. I have learned from the best both at what TO do and what NOT TO do. I always plan my shoots. I don't think enough people do that. I sit with my creative team and come up with a "look" of the film. I give my team my ideas and then have the confidence in them to deliver. I hire people I know and have worked with, if possible. But if they know what I am trying to achieve then they have the creative license to work. I am a HUGE collaborator. I don't have all the answers. I may have the final decision but I know that I have a team around me that will help me deliver the best possible project. Anyone who doesn't believe that, in my opinion, is an amateur filmmaker. I have been on way too many sets to understand that. I truly believe that the moment you forget it's a collaboration is the moment your movie has failed.

I also love and value the opinion from the actors. Where I have the big picture in mind as the director (or writer or both) they have the challenge of bringing one person to live and making that person relevant. They have to understand the motivation of a character's actions and reactions. That may sound easy but it's extremely challenging, especially if you are filming in extreme heat or extreme cold. There have been several times where an actor makes suggestions that I know will make the scene better because they can see - as the character - that sometimes it makes a transition more normal or fluid.


With The Wrong Profile being reduced to a small handful of locations (primarily the inside of a car), what kind of a challenge was it to keep things interesting?


I get told a lot when I am called to script supervise that the film will be easy because it's in one location or that the characters never change clothes. Truthfully that is so much more difficult than people realize. It would take too long to explain here why that is. Just understand that if a character has to wear the same outfit for 80 scenes rather than 4 scenes there are more chances of making a continuity error... same with locations. I knew we would face that here... but only because we had two lengthy dialogue scenes within the same location. So the first scene was very still and fluid as we introduced our characters. Once Vincent leaves and John is by himself we are handheld and more frenetic and we split it up with cutaways to Vincent being held hostage and Zachary (who we decided to never really show out right). We also made the decision in post to have a few more cutaways of crime scenes to enhance the drama and suspense.


What can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?


As with all of my films I love my cast. I have been very lucky to work with amazing crew people... in fact, I will always try and work with the same people. That also holds true with my cast. I have used Todd James Jackson (who played Zachary) in all of my films... even for one line! He was the first actor I ever directed and he has always had faith in me. Plus he is so damn amazing. When we were looking for our serial killer I didn't consider him at first. I used him in Ax and thought that by using him I would filming the same movie. We did audition several people, which one I liked a lot! An actor I had who auditioned  for Ax and who I had worked with on set prior. But when we asked Todd to just do a quick V.O. recording and he sent it over, it literally gave me chills listening to it.

I knew I wanted Paul Stroili for Vincent. In fact, both Kenny and I knew it. Paul is larger than life. He is very tall and has such a presence about it. I knew he would be a character we would want to root for and who we, as the audience, would believe John Parker would feel compassion for, so really casting him just made perfect sense.

As for Kyler Porche, who played John... I knew the moment he came in to the audition that he was John Parker. I had an instinct about him. I still do. You will see more of him in the future, I have no doubt. He is extremely good looking and has an amazing body. He works hard at it. But more than that... he is very kind and very professional. He knew all of his lines for both scenes on the day we started filming. He was flexible and willing to push himself as an actor to make each scene better. In fact, all of the actors pushed themselves... because I like to challenge them.

Sidebar: a few years ago when my play was produced the lead actor came to me and said "this character is very challenging for me. We watch him grow up and die tragically every night." To which I replied "that seems fair, it wasn't easy for me to write him I don't expect it to be easy for you to act him."

I love my actors. I love actors who understand their body and its movement. There are times we can remove a line or two because the actor can do more with a look or a gesture. That is why film is such a different medium than theater... and both I love dearly and present their own challenges.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


The shoot was amazing. Truly. We filmed in one long evening. 14 hours, which is a true testament to my cast and crew... plus we shoot in Orange County near the beach in November so it go really foggy that night. It was also tough because I was in the middle of 2 back-to-back features so I had not had any days off. The crew though kept laughing and having so much fun. I mean, there is such a camaraderie to film making.


Anything you can tell us about critical and audience reception of your movie yet?


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People love the film. I am happy about that. It's the first film I directed, which I didn't write. I expect there to be critical reviews. That is the nature of the beast when it comes to creating any sort of artwork. Not everyone sees the world the same way. I am ok with that... usually. The story has a lot of religious undertone. I use religion a lot in my stories. So does Kenny. I think people in general are governed by their faith and religion even on a small scale. Fear and faith are motivating factors and I exploit that to help create drama!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I have a few things on the horizon. I am directing a feature called Rock Paper Dead written by Kerry Fleming and Victor Miller (Friday the 13th). I also wrote an all-Latino drama called You Can Call Me Eve which I am looking to direct. Also, I was hired to write a script entitled Malo Facto for Roldan Entertainment.


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


Everything about me or my projects can be found on my website

We are also on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and PInterest.


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


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
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) Träume ...


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


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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