Great excitement about actors
"I love working with actors. Though this was my first time directing a film, I spent the better part of the last twenty years directing actors for theatre and/or voiceover. I guess my directorial approach starts with that.
This was my ultimate dream cast. I had the chance to work with both of them before.
I worked with Jeremy on a stage production I directed. He was performing a ten minute monologue, and this was one of the most exciting performances I had ever seen. His presence and talent is out of this world. You can't take your eyes off of him. Every moment he creates is unique, unexpected and charged with this kind of electricity. I loved working with him.
I'm the kind of director who likes to give a lot of freedom to actors to do what they do. I like to offer a little structure and let them figure out the rest, then build on what they bring. Some actors will ask for more direction, but Jeremy seemed to like the latitude, and boy did he run with it. He was incredible. There is no other actor in the world I would have rather worked with on my first short film, but he was especially perfect for Wichita. His performance in the final scene is what is bringing it home. I knew if I cast him, we would have a strong ending, we would have a movie! I did not know exactly what he was going to bring to the table on the day, but I knew it was going to be powerful, and memorable… and it was exactly that!
With that strong ending in mind, now I needed the leading lady with the strength to carry the rest of the film on her shoulders. I had worked with someone with that kind of strength before, Maxim Roy. Max and I worked on French dubs together. If you're not familiar with the world of dubbing, it requires the same level of acting skills, except the difficulty is at level ten. Well, Maxim is like Spinal Tap, she goes to eleven! I once interrupted one of our recording sessions because I exclaimed 'Damn, you’re good!' during one of her takes. I learned a director is not supposed to scream during takes. I could not help it. It just came out.
Maxim also happens to be a friend. I texted her and asked her if she'd like to play Jeremy Sisto's wife in my short film and she said yes! At that point, a big weight lifted off my shoulders. All my insecurities of directing my first film, of working with this brand new medium started to calm down. I knew I would be able to rely on her experience. I knew it would be a breeze working with her, and I knew she would be amazing. (I was right!)
The range that is required for an actress to play Sara is incredible. She has to go from a sexy scene, to a comedic race against the clock, running down some 50 (slippery) stairs, while covering a panic attack, stall for time, break a window and break… even more (let's just say that), all in under six minutes. Maxim did all that, and she did it brilliantly. She deserves all the praises she's been getting on this film. She's a force of nature. And how perfectly special, since I'm a dual citizen, that my cast be half American, half French-Canadian!"