As it's very late, or very early, depending on how you look at, I'm going to just jump right into my long awaited interview with noted filmmaker, David Barker, Director of Daylight, which is still currently showing here in NYC at the Red Room, 85 East 4th St. on July 20-21 & IFC Center, July 22-23.
The Fireside Chat with David Barker on his latest film, Daylight
Daylight (Click on the image to see the trailer)
Q: Hi David. Thanks for stopping by. Congrats on all the rave reviews! Hope you're enjoying my cozy fireplace. Anyway, let's start off with some name dropping. Heard that Marisa Tomei went to see Daylight this past Sunday. How was that? What do you think that says of your work?
David Barker: Marisa came because she is working on a project with Ivan and Michael, two of the actors in the film. She is a great actor, one of the best, and so we were all very curious to see what she'd think. She loved it, but she hates scary movies and at the end of the last scene (I won't give anything away) she jumped up and ran out of the theater. It was great talking to her afterwards, and I learned alot about directing actors by talking to her about how she saw the performances.
Q: When and how did you come up with the concept of this film?
David Barker: We wanted to bring "humans" back into genre films. I love this type of film - but generally the characters are boring archtypes. In a sense, this was a return to '70s cinema, with films like Night Moves or Bullitt, where a fully developed character just happened to be involved with a genre-type situation. In the '80's all American films became self-referential and stopped referring to real life.
Q: It's hard for me to believe that Alexandra Meierhans, who plays Irene in the film, had never acted before because she is so luminous on the screen. How long have you been collaborating with her, and how did her state; i.e. being very pregnant, contribute to the story development?
David Barker: As with my previous feature, the film began because I met someone whom I thought would be a fantastic actor in a film, and then tried to develop a film for them to be in. My previous film starred Sarah Adler, who then went on to star in Godard's next film, be nominated for a European Academy Award, and so on. I am sure Alexandra will have the same future. Alexandra and I met and became friends, and started developing a script for her to star in. Because she became pregnant and had to return to Europe, we had to put that script aside and write a new one - one that could star a pregnant Swiss woman. We developed this one in a couple weeks, raised the money in a week, and then shot it in two weeks. I could see how she would be on screen by watching how she was when she spoke to people socially: she was very present.
Q: Wow! Very efficient, I'm sure your producers loved that. Some of the reviews for Daylight had referred to the violence in your film. Honestly, I had gone in expecting more (not to give away too much for those who had not seen it yet). Tell us about your views on bloodshed, given the genre of this film, if you will.
David Barker: For me this film is violent because the way people look at each other is violent. For Leo and Renny to look at Irene as "a bag of money" rather than a human being is more violent than anything else that happens in the film. There is some physical violence in the film, but it is wrenching, and not there as entertainment.
David Barker: This is a great question but not a simple one to answer, because the concept of genre has been so distorted over the last 30 years in American films. We'll have to save it for a post-screening discussion at the Yale Club.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the film that you could share with us?
David Barker: When we were shooting the scenes of Irene and Daniel in the car, Micah Bloomberg, the sound recordist, was in the trunk recording since it was so low budget. Suddenly, during a take, we were surrounded by police cars and policemen with guns drawn. Someone driving by had seen us shutting Micah into the trunk and had reported a kidnapping.
Q: How ironic! What's to come from David Barker? Any romantic comedies in the works?
David Barker: I don't normally make such scary films - I make narrative films rather than say docs because ultimately I am interested in an exploration of intimacy (so in this case intimacy inside a genre context). So we can be sure that will be part of the next film. I am working on a Western as well as a supernatural drama.
Q: Hmm...I agree, the film was intimate - yes, suspenseful - yes, scary - not really... or maybe that was just the effect of the beer. Guess each viewer must decide. In any case, kudos! And cheers! Here's to westerns, supernatural dramas, and Daylight, whatever genre it is.