Published on December 24th, 2018 | by gareth0
INTERVIEW : WRITER/DIRECTOR JAMES DYLAN – [CARGO]
Anthony Peterson has 24 hours of air. A cell phone. And no way out.
In the tradition of Saw and Buried, Cargo on VOD and DVD out now from Wild Eye Releasing.
A man wakes trapped inside a cargo container with only a cell phone and is given 24 hours by his kidnappers to raise ten million dollars in ransom or die.
Ron Thompson (American Me), Corbin Timbrook (The Glass Shield), Jose Rosete (”The Walking Dead: Red Machete”) and Danika Fields (”The Doctors”) star in a James Dylan film.
Congrats on the movie! It’s a very unique film – but I assume you were influenced by some other films along the way?
I was influenced by a lot of one man films like Castaway, Locke, The Omega Man, All is Lost, Buried, Evil Dead 2, Brake.
The film is very striking- can you tell us about some of the locations?
We just had one location. A thirty foot cargo container. It was originally supposed to be forty foot yet the forty foot container would not fit in my cinematographer Chris Gosch’s front yard – so we had a delay in filming until we got a thirty foot container. Which was fine. Watching it being delivered was a little like having something the size of a small tank being placed in a front yard. It was a monster. I was worried a thirty foot container wouldn’t be long enough yet it was fine.
How different a project do you think this would have been if it were filmed 20 years ago?
It would have been shot on 35mm or 16mm or 70mm film. And not on a digital Red Epic camera like we shot it on. The digital age of filmmaking has been the biggest change in making movies in the last 20 years. Plus computer editing has streamlined and made the process a lot easier.
Director Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon) slammed editing on a computer on an old Inside the Actor’s Studio episode. As did Tim Robbins. Yet for independent filmmakers not editing on a computer isn’t really an option anymore. Plus a good edit is a good edit – it doesn’t matter what technology is used as long as the story works.
How important is sound to you?
It’s very important. Every shot in a film is important and every sound is important just like every piece of music used is important. Each frame of the film is important right up to choosing the proper font for your end or opening credits. It all matters.
The Coen brothers do incredible sound design. When someone falls after being shot or hit in a Coen brothers film you feel it, it’s incredible, they’re masters at sound design and all other aspects of filmmaking.
I was recently watching a trailer for the latest popcorn action thriller by Dwayne Johnson and was just blown away by the sound design and jealous since it sounded so good. I was envious that I didn’t have millions of dollars to make a film that sounded that amazing. The movie didn’t look to be anything other than a standard Hollywood action film yet it sounded great.
How hard is it to ground a film like this, one that’s so etched in the far-fetched and frightening?
It all comes down to if the story works, if audiences find the screenplay and dialogue engaging, if they connect with the lead actor and enjoy their performance. It’s just a combination of elements.
What’s the message behind the movie? (besides always carry an extra tank of air on you)
First and foremost it’s a thriller. An exciting horror thriller ride I wanted to take the audience on.
The message of the film is whatever the audience decides to take away from it. I leave it up to the viewer.
I wanted to make a thriller about a really bad guy, a corrupt businessman ten times more extreme than the character of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps played by Michael Douglas. Our lead actor Ron Thompson was the actor I had in mind when writing the film. I loved his film American Pop by Ralph Bakshi and wanted to work with him after we met on Facebook. His character’s name, Anthony Peterson, is a combination of his two characters from American Pop, Tony and Pete. The name was thought up by my producer J.C. Macek. J.C. also did a great job on the DVD commentary with our actors including Ron, Eliot who provided the voice of the Kidpapper and Jose Rosete who played Merc.
Some great things happened with this film. I never thought we’d have an official novelization yet my producer J.C. Macek III pulled it off. It was recently published by Bloodhound Books, a UK published, and then re-released with a special movie tie-in cover.
I also did not think we’d have an original soundtrack yet we got one. It was was composed by Thorsten Quaeschning of Tangerine Dream and was recorded with his other band Picture Palace music. The album sounds very much like classic Tangerine Dream.
Thorsten and I met online after I placed a Craigslist ad in Los Angeles while looking for a composer to make me a Tangerine Dream-like score. Someone on Thorsten’s team saw this in Berlin and got in touch with me when he learned a film was seeking Tangerine Dream
Two of the three current band members of Tangerine Dream perform on the soundtrack, Thorsten, who performed many of the instruments himself other than the strings, and violinist Hoshiko Yamane.
Thorsten and Ms. Yamane also performed the full [Cargo] soundtrack like at the Electronic Music Circus in Germany.