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Lie with Me
2012, 83m, drama, family
Carla O'Shannon, along with her fiance, Ian, returns home at the wish of her terminally ill mother Deanna. Greeted by her rival sister, Susan, and abusive father Stan, Carla seeks the answers to all her darkest questions. Unexpectedly, she finds more than just answers, discovering the power of family, honesty, loyalty, and bitter contentment. A story of inner strength and healing. The darkest place of truth and consequence. A dysfunctional family looking for self-acceptance. The ultimate lie. Lie with each other. Lie to yourself. Lie with me.
Produced by: Jason Brandi and Jamison Brandi
Cast: Lisa Younger, Harwood Gordon, Rachel Marie Lewis, Lawrence McEvoy, Karen Strassman, Peter McGowan
10 questions with Lie with Me director, Jamison Brandi at the half-way mark.
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
1What first inspired you to make Lie With Me ? Honesty the idea was brought to our attention when we where filming our suspense thriller "HIDE".
Our lead Lisa Younger at the time said "hey I'm doing this play" you guys should read this.
And 2 years later we were sitting at "kings cafe" In Hollywood asking Lisa if she was comfortable with the content and she was on board. It's a Directors dream when you have the trust of your lead to go above and beyond her comfort zone. The challenge of doing this project in a non perverse way and staying true to the family honesty and pain, and not bailing out to the shock value intrigued us as filmmakers in a big way.
2The film is based on a play. How closely did you follow the text when adapting it for the screen ? The film was based on Keith Bridges play "Lie with Me. It was written as a dark comedy. We felt it would reach more of a universal contemporary audience by adapting it as a dark family drama. A lot of the dialogue was re-written organically, but staying true to the characters developed in the play. Stan, the father, was the biggest character metamorphosis. We felt having him in a wheel chair would give his character vulnerability in a very tough family issue of incest.
3The film features some excellent performances, how did you approach casting ? We cast Lisa Younger as the lead Carla first and built the rest around her. In our process, we were very open to switching roles as we built this family. And we sure did . We knew we wanted an authentic patriarch in Stan's Character. He was the only Irish born actor in the film, when he read for us and delivered the line "Don't walk away from me, I'm your father!" , we knew we had magic. Heavy rehearsals allowed these characters to believe they were them and it showed naturally in their performances. We didn't want them to seem like they were acting. Many times the script was tossed to the side. Just to be real.
4The film contains some very emotionally heavy scenes, how did you prepare with the cast ? First off when you are dealing with full nudity in a film our producer and director clearly outlined expectations with both lead characters. Note: make sure your nudity rider is as detailed as possible . It will protect you in the long run. The emotional scenes came organically. I think having the cast living in the house and truly living and breathing as this family. Sharing household chores, eating all meals together etc. brought a realism and the tension was authentic. Ironically the best raw emotion came on most first takes. Their natural first instinct and reactions rung true . But as a Director, I gave trust to the actors and they gave me trust back . We listened to their input and needs on certain uncomfortable scenes which made them actual super comfortable for all.
5The film centres on an Irish family, how do you feel their nationality affected the story ? We wanted to give the film a foreign indie feel to it. The Irish family seemed like a good fit with the soundtrack from Indie Foker. His original songs were completed first, so we felt the Irish heritage meshed well with his folk style music. And obviously having Irish Catholic characters added another layer to the uneasy story line . Although the film wasn't intended to have religious undertone.
6The house where all the action takes place is a fantastic location. How did you find that and what was it like shooting there ? We wanted to soften the story of harsh taboo topic against a beautiful picturesque landscape back drop. Kind of like what "Broke Back Mountain" did. We felt the farm gave a quiet isolation feel to a very heavy dramatic family issue. Our producer went through VRBO and found this as a vacation rental. This was in a town of about 500 people. 2 hrs north of San Fran, The owners where very receptive avid filmmakers and were on board. The mom and two sisters characters literally lived in the house for the entire shoot. We wanted to have them feel like it was their real home. Sharing one bathroom etc. One of the best parts of shooting this film was how this town embraced this film for 2 weeks. We literally felt like the Cohen Brothers on location. The bar, mini market, trucks where all give by locals. If the Director needed a shot gun for a scene , with in minutes one appeared. It was authentic as it gets.
7How long did the film take to shoot ? It looks like you had a lot of set ups to get through ! We shot the film and 12 days. We only had eight days initially at the location and only got through half the script. We went back to LA with half a film. It was expensive to fly all the actors back so ended up renting a car and went back the next weekend. On the second pick up shoots we left the script at home and just put the characters in organic moments which really went to fill two more natural feel. 75% which is in the final cut happened in the last four days of shooting I guess that was the benefit of
four weeks of rehearsal. Our DP said "what ever we missed we can come back and do pick up shots" .
Simultaneously our Director and 2nd unit director echoed " whats in the can after tomorrow is what we have!" The budget was done.
8What was your camera and sound set up ? What equipment did you use and how did it impact the shoot ? We actually used the Canon EOS 7D. We were inspired by a film called "like crazy" which premiered in Sundance. They were the first to use a still camera DSLR. We built it up with follow focus, Matt boxes, even put on a steady cam. We wanted something with full frame and crop sensor which gave us more latitude shooting outside. We shot mostly natural light and very little lighting set ups.
9What was the biggest challenge making this film ? The biggest challenge was splitting production with a 10 day lay off in between due do to budget constraints and property location availability . We essentially had a team of Director, 2nd unit Director, DP/Camera Operator. and Sound guy. We wanted to keep momentum going from the first 5 days of shooting. But it was actually a blessing in disguise. The week off gave us time to look at footage and shift the story into a more honest direction. Most of the footage from the first half of shooting never made final picture lock. Part 2 of the shoot we were running 18 hrs days. Labor of love for sure.
10What's next? Our goal with "Lie with me" was to be cinematic. We didn't want to do the typical indie "talking heads" film. And I believe we achieved that in our own way.
What's next? To be better filmmakers and tell stories led with emotion and passion, rather than plot.
We are currently working on our next film in hopes of shooting it next spring...Abroad in Europe.
About the Interviewer: Ian Ruby
Ian Ruby is a filmmaker from Co. Cork, Ireland. His debut feature Dead Dogs won Best Drama Feature at the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase 2015, Best National Feature at the Dare Media Underground Film Festival 2015, and Best Feature at the Sky Road Film + TV Festival 2015. The film is currently available to view here:
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