Your new film Counter
Clockwise - in a few words, what is it about?
It's about a scientist that invents a teleporter, that
accidentally turns into a time machine. He attempts to teleport himself
and ends up 6 months in the future only to find out that his wife and
sister have both been brutally murdered. He then discovers that he's the
main suspect in the murder.
did the project fall together in the first place, and how did you end up
on the writing and producing side of things as well? And are you
at all a fan of time travel stories in whatever medium?
Moïse (director, co-writer) [George
Moïse interview - click here] and I had been friends for a quite a while and been
dabbling in each other's projects here and there, which eventually led us to writing
together. We had a previous script under our belt and were scribbling on a
few other projects when he asked if I'd take a look at this other script
he'd wrote - Counter
Clockwise. I read it and just got a feeling about it.
The structure that George created was really clever but I felt it needed a
re-write, I got a sorta vision, I actually explained it to George by
saying we need to fuck this script up and for some reason it hit me that I
wanted to produce it, make it. I approached George with my ideas for the
re-write and producing it and it actually thrilled him. So we put
everything aside and went to work, page one and hammered it out. Funny I'm
not a tremendous fan of time travel films though one of my favorite movies
is Time Bandits.
were your sources of inspiration when writing Counter
It was interesting because I entered as
a writer into a script that all ready existed. George already had a great
structure and story. So my desire was to influence the world that it takes
place in, the characters and possibly other random circumstances that
could enhance the plot. So my influences weren't really time travel
movies. Though I watched a shit ton of them to catch up.
you the reality of the movie takes place technically in a sorta 'day in
the life of this guy', a really screwed up day in the life, but nonetheless
so, I drew from movies like After Hours, Pulp Fiction, the Twin Peaks
series, road trip movies as well as many of my own experiences with people
I've met traveling.
Given the time travel aspect of your
story - how hard was it to not just lose the plot with all the
protagonist's travels back in time?
Luckily I had George
who had already worked that out. He knew that world backwards and
forwards. It took me a while even while writing and even through the
filming to really know where we were in the story sometimes. Many times I
had to stop and have George explain it again and again - Ok which
Ethan is this? Where are we now? ...
What can you tell us
about your co-writer, production partner and director George Moïse [George
Moïse interview - click here], and
what was your collaboration like before, during and after the shoot? And
how did the two of you first meet, even?
Well we met a long time ago, I was his boss at a promotional job for
Camel cigarettes that took place in bars & night clubs. He was
making these crazy short films and hysterical photoshop art. I thought
this guy is hilarious and incredibly talented and we hit it off. Over
time he became my best friend, now he's like a brother to me, family.
Clockwise we were writing together & George would
stick me in one of his short films here and there. We'd hang out drink
shoot the shit a lot.
As far as the process went... I'd
say from the first day of re-writes up until the movie went into its
final post, George and I worked or talked or had some kind of need to
arrange or figure something out every single day. It was grueling
at times and pushed our relationship to extremes. Looking back in
comparison to what I've heard other filmmakers have gone through, it
was never that bad for us. There was always a great deal of respect we
held for one another during the entire process. As far as George and I
after, we're even closer. We have so much more of a richer understanding
and respect of one another and still just get together to drink and
shoot the shit.
You also play
the lead in Counter
Clockwise - so what did you draw upon to bring your
character to life, and how much or Michael Kopelow can we find in Ethan?
And have you written him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
Originally the lead scientist was written as a female. I was gonna play
the part of the assistant. So no, playing Ethan was the last thing on my
mind when we were writing it. It came down to a production decision
moving forward as far as potential risk of losing the lead over time to
another project as well as could our budget handle it. So Walter, the
other producer, suggested I play the lead. We then went back into
re-writes but fundamentally most of the dialogue didn't change too much.
Playing Ethan was an incredible challenge because I wasn't able to focus
on just acting, I was fulfilling multiple jobs on and off set. On top of
this, the emotional core of who and what Ethan is and going through
is/was very far removed from anything I could access inside of me at the
I had to find him, create him, fast, I honestly couldn't relate nor
could draw very much personally from myself. Thankfully George and
Walter were there to push me and help me find it. Funny as far as
acting, I eventually found that I could draw from the actual experiences
of making the movie and would use that as motivation in finding some of
the the emotions in certain scenes.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
the actual audition process... It's funny, George has this laugh when
something is or someone is really good. I would wait to hear that laugh,
then I'd know they were the right one for the part. I think everyone,
really everyone is great. I'm not a big fan of watching myself but I don't
get tired of watching everyone's performances in this.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
it was a long one! Including the re-shoots. I think we had close to 100
different locations. My goal as a producer was to set an ease on set.
Basically we're all there to create. I didn't want a rushed rigid vibe. I
tried to create an atmosphere where George could take the time he needed
to get the shots he wanted, as well as the actors as well as everyone so
we all can do our best. Not sure if that was the case but at least that's
what I was shooting for.
future projects you'd like to share?
Yea, I've acted in a
few projects since, a pilot I can't really talk about but I play a pirate,
a movie called Phonebook where I play this lost soul of a dude. I've been
working on a possible children's book about the imaginary world me and my
sister created as kids and there's a scrip that George and I wrote before Counter Clockwise
called Problems with Girls, a comedy that I'd like to
see be made.
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
I was in high school. Eleventh grade. I needed
fine arts credits to graduate and I didn't want to take baking or be on
the yearbook committee, I just quit the soccer team and wood and metal
shop were all full. So drama class it was and my friend Jason was
taking it so at least I knew one dude. I loved it right away, I felt this
feeling of - I do this, there's actually a class for this?! Hell yea! I
think it was my first A. I studied like crazy. I stayed with drama class
till I graduated and continued taking classes at night at different
workshops. Eventually doing plays and musicals in LA, Then I got into Cal
Arts. I'm still studying & training through workshops online.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Counter Clockwise?
My first movie was Don't Tell Mom the Babysitters Dead. Then Point
Break & eventually The Stoned Age.
I had an on and off again thing with acting. I'd do it for a while
professionally then get interested in something else or get frustrated
with the lifestyle and financial balancing act of it all. Making Counter Clockwise
has solidified what I enjoy doing the most. I plan on not
taking anymore 7 year breaks between projects or roles.
would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
Thats a tuff one. It's
different every time. There's no one way. But I can say this... for me, it
starts with a lot of thinking, then a lot of listening to yourself. I
sometimes see and hear who and what the character is right away. I just
have no idea how to get myself to be that. To get there, so to speak. To
sum it up, I'm a whatever-it-takes kinda actor, meaning whatever it takes
to allow myself to be that, to believe that, until I just am.
Actors (and indeed
actresses) who inspire you?
There are so many... I turn on the screen and am blown away all the
time by so many actors and actresses.
I'm more inspired by movies as a whole and not so much particular actors
but as kid it was Gene Wilder & Peter Sellers, Richard Pryor
& Robin Williams.
Your favourite movies?
Again too many ...
But... The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Animal
House, Caddy Shack,
Fight Club, Gladiator, Young Frankenstein, Rocky,
Princess Bride, Barbarella,
Scissorhands, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jaws,
ET, Goonies, Time Bandits, The Big
Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, Elephant Man, Excalibur,
Willow, Conan the
Barbarian, The Jerk, Team
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
and of course, films you really deplore?
of classics - all of them.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
- thanks, I enjoyed your questions..
movie gets released on Dec 13, 2016.
hope ya'll dig it!
for the interview!