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GUATEMALAN HIGH-FIVE


Over at Green Cine Jonathan Marlow posts a long interview with Todd Rohal, director of The Guatemalan Handshake. The film is one of my favorite indies so far this year. (I’ve actually been following the film for a while as I selected it to be part of the IFP’s Rough Cut program last year.)

The film opens this week at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and for more on the film, go to its website and, while you’re there, click on the iTunes link and subscribe to its podcasts.

In the interview, Marlow asks Rohal about casting two musicians (Will Oldham and Cory McAbee) in his film:

Marlow: In Will Oldham and Cory McAbee, you have musicians that act, as opposed to actors that also write music. Was that important, knowing you have folks involved that have these other skills that could they could bring to the project rather than casting full on actors?

Rohal: Yeah, I didn’t want to have name-names in the film. One, because it would bring on all kinds of union issues, and two, if I make a film, it’s gonna be completely coming out of nowhere. It has to be completely different and feel very real. If Nick Nolte is standing in the middle of a scene, everyone knows who that is. It’s like shooting in New York City, it’s too familiar. I wanted it to seem like it was taking place in an entirely different country.

So it was kind of a debate, putting them both in there. But Will hasn’t been in a lot of stuff, and if you get him doing something different, that’ll be fine. So having him and Cory there, and them being musicians, too, they understand performance in a different way and aren’t so concerned about how their lines are coming across. They have a different sensibility about how they present themselves in front of people, especially Will, coming up with a new persona every year. So that just seems to work, finding musicians to do quiet smaller parts, or even loud insane things. You just know their performance will be based on how you’ve seen them live, and that’s a good way to go about casting.

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