It was threatened, but Cthulhu finally came out of the murky depths to chime in our our program this year, interviewing Tom Hammock and Jacob Forman, the co-writers of our opening night film, The Well. Read at your own peril.
CTHULHU: I enjoyed the character of Carson in your film, the honorable water provider of the realm. He seemed to inspire great loyalty in his followers. How does one approach crafting such an inspiring role and performance?
HAMMOCK AND FORMAN: You always want to ask yourself: What is this film really about? The answer, of course, is water. Drawing on our love of Ozu's TOKYO STORY and Wong Kar Wai's IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, we employed a similar directing technique: we provided Carson (Jon Gries, a living saint) and his crew with all the cold, tasty water they could ever desire, and we forbade Kendal (Haley Lu Richardson, she loves water!) from drinking any water at all on set. When she begged for a thimble of water, we gave her Saltines and peanut butter. Carson's frequent bathroom breaks may have slowed production a little, but I think it's worth it when you see his performance! The Criterion Collection edition of TOKYO STORY has a great bonus documentary on this technique.
CTHULHU: I enjoy it when films include scenes of people dying and suffering, especially torture of any kind. Can you talk a bit about misery in the world of The Well?
HAMMOCK AND FORMAN: Sure... Shooting this film on the rough & tumble streets of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica helped: we really wanted the cast and crew to feel theat dangerous thrill -- that "walk along the razor's edge" if you will. We rehearsed much of the film at the Grove Shopping Center in West Hollywood -- that's like our Barton Creek Square --, where the holiday music and the spectacular, highly water-consumptive fountain just brought those ideas of suffering right into the foreground. That helped everyone understand that the misery in the world of THE WELL isn't all that different from the misery that each and every one of us might bring to our daily lives on a daily basis. I wish there was a "Misery & Suffering For Dummies" that we could have referred to. Maybe, if we've done our job, this film will help others find their own little tortures, you know? Really, it's a matter of reaching deep inside yourself and yanking out a little something that hurts.
CTHULHU: The fighting in the film looks very realistic. Were any actors harmed on set (I do hope so) and if not, what was the most grueling thing you put them through?
HAMMOCK AND FORMAN: We found it more effective to hurt them off-set, usually while they were sleeping or eating, so that they could draw on that experience for their performances, and to let them harm each other while the camera rolled. We lost several promising leads in the oil pit scene, which we filmed first, but we're thrilled that Haley Lu survived the ordeal and was able to do the rest of the film with us!
CTHULHU: I look forward to a time when mankind is weak and on the verge of extinction like this. How can you all speed that process?
HAMMOCK AND FORMAN: Our hope is that the work speaks for itself. This is a film that says, Open up those faucets! Screw the future generations! And when it comes to essential commodities like water, oxygen, or queso, why leave money on the table?! Someone's gonna profit: might as well be me. We feel that if just a handful of people walk away from our movie looking to get one over on their neighbor, or their neighbors' children, or even their own offspring, we'll have done our small and modest part.
CTHULHU: I won’t ruin the end of the movie because people who do that should have their innards ripped out and fed to wild dogs, but I think its safe to say no one is going to see it coming when Predator-style Aliens show up and battle the transform-tankbots as the virus quickly spreads across the outback. How will you top that in the sequel?
HAMMOCK AND FORMAN: I can't tell you how excited we are for the sequel! Have you seen the six hour director's cut of CHE Part 1 & 2 in Spanish? That's basically what we're going for next. We draw a lot of inspiration as well from Scorsese's AGE OF INNOCENCE and the idea of unspoken longing. What better place for a tender Victorian love story than a waterless, post-apocalyptic future?