LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT
with Arielle Brachfeld,
and the Jacksons,
Camilla & Guy (no relation)
WRITTEN BY DAN SINCLAIR
From time to time, I get asked, "Dan, do you ever interview anybody on this site or are you the only one who gets to talk?" To which I always reply, "Please shut up." But the real answer to that question is YES, I do let artists speak for themselves from time to time and that's exactly what this post is-- an interview.
I recently watched the indie film noir gem LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT and had the privilege of chatting with the film's star Arielle Brachfeld, director Michael Chrisoulakis, writer Guy Jackson and producer Camilla Jackson. This is that chat...
The BMM Interview is broken into three parts. I'm willing to bet that the pictures will help you decipher what the subject matter in each section will be. If they don't, perhaps the fucking name of the Web site will. The writer's questions are in italics and the artists' responses are in BOLD. But why don't you start by watching the trailer for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?
First off, thank you, Arielle, Michael, Guy and Camilla so much for taking the time to sit down and talk to us here at lil' ol' BeerMoviesMusic!
ARIELLE: Fuck you, Dan! Just kidding. Thanks for having us!
MICHAEL: Cheers, Dan! Happy to be talking to a fellow movie/beer/music lover.
CAMILLA: Party time. Excellent.
GUY: (sits stoically)
So, let's start with the important stuff-- beer. Tell me about your relationship with God's most beautiful creation...
MICHAEL: Love a cold beer at the end of a long day; especially after being on set. While I was in L.A., I discovered a lager called Third Shift, which I could only find at my local grocery store. Back in Australia, I do like to try some new craft beers from local breweries. I'm mainly a lager drinker, but don't mind an IPA now and again.
ARIELLE: I actually no longer drink, but when I did, I enjoyed Allagash White, and wheat beers in general. Also was a big fan of ciders, if we're being inclusive like that. I will say I am partial to micro-brewed root beer. Anytime my husband and I are road tripping, we'll have a local brewery's root beer. It's amazing.
GUY: Honestly, I like Pabst Blue Ribbon. That's the only one of the beers that seems like "1970s beers" that I like. Very strange.
CAMILLA: If you're gonna spew, spew into this.
Did beer-- or any other recreational substances-- influence any parts of LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?
MICHAEL: I do believe there was quite a lot of beer consumed during pre-production, and perhaps a few after shooting in the peak of the L.A. summer. Guy, Camilla and I had to crack open a beer after shooting the Oil Fields scene out in the desert. That felt well deserved.
GUY: Sure, I was a cigarette smoker once long ago and smoking is kind of key in LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT.
ARIELLE: I feel like Priscilla would have avoided beer and alcohol because of the empty calories. But, personally, I do recall indulging in some herbal recreation after some long shooting days.
CAMILLA: Sometimes I wish I could boldly go where no man's gone before, but I'll probably stay in Aurora.
What would be the perfect beer for watching LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT?
MICHAEL: Probably something from Angel City.
GUY: Probably something like a Grapefruit Sculpin. Or cider.
ARIELLE: A dark, mesmerizing stout, probably with a hint of caramel.
CAMILLA: Stop torturing yourself, man. You'll never afford it. Live in the now.
Okay, so this one's for whoever speaks up first-- where did the idea for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT come from? And how did it go from idea to "Hey, we're gonna make this!"
GUY: Michael and I took a walk around his neighborhood, when he lived by Raleigh Studios, which is a cool studio to walk around, and Michael's like, "Please write a script about an actress who steals to fund her career and overhears something she shouldn't and everyone in the movie has to have a dream and palm trees. We'll make it in a couple weekends for five grand." And then it ran away with us.
ARIELLE: I can speak to the amazing (and painless) casting process. I was invited to an informal table read, and much to my surprise and delight, was offered the part right after. I'd seriously love all auditions to be as non-anxiety-inducing. From there, it was just about lining up schedules to shoot over the next year or so.
CAMILLA: It's like a new pair of underwear. At first, they're restrictive, but then after a while, they become a part of you.
Michael, when I watched this film, I saw some David Lynch in there-- am I wrong? Was Lynch and influence on you as a filmmaker?
MICHAEL: Not wrong at all. There's definitely some Lynchian vibes in this film. As much as I love Lynch and his films, I think those vibes actually came more from Guy's script and the off-kilter world and characters he created.
What other films/filmmakers have inspired you?
Other influences for me are the Coen Brothers. I love the line they walk between the humor and tragedy and the way they have such a sure hand in guiding their storytelling. Hitchcock is another influence, as well as Cassavettes-- I love the raw energy he captures in his films.
Arielle, you're the lead in LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT, and you're acting against the greats like Peter Bogdonavich, Lin Shaye, and of course, the Jacksons known as Camilla and Guy-- how did you prepare for this role?
ARIELLE: It's a funny thing acting with amazing, talented actors you look up to. Once I got over the initial nerves of going toe to toe with the likes of Peter, Lin and Sally Kirkland, it was wonderful just playing pretend and getting lost in moments just like with any other actor. Michael didn't tell me we had them on board until the day before I shot with them! It was probably a good thing because I think I would have gotten into my head way more if I'd had more notice.
I remember specifically letting go and letting Lin just take me on a journey playing off of her, finding little moments with the give and take. Being able to get lost in the scene with her. With these great, iconic actors, the main thing is they were very generous. They were present and gave a full performance even if it wasn't their coverage. They were right there in the moment with you, and so very, very kind. I admired their artistry before working with them, but admiring their kindness and humanity is what I came away with.
Camilla is so naturally charming and funny, where it made it so easy to develop that friendship and chemistry. Guy was really interesting, just because he's such a 180 in real life from his character, Smalls. He surprised me with his darkness and the danger behind his eyes. They're both stupidly talented. I can't wait to work with them in the future.
Did you draw from real life-- either as a waitress or a thief/murderer?
On top of my normal character work, I really embraced the feeling of desperation I've known as an actor in this hard town. I took it as an opportunity to show what it's like, how heartbreaking it is to want something so badly, you'll compromise yourself to get it. The murdering part we'll save for another day...
Camilla, you produced this film and played an important supporting role in it-- what was it like tackling both tasks? Which was harder-- telling people what to do behind the camera or hiding your Australian accent while in front of it (since clearly you made both look easy)?
CAMILLA: I'd have to say ass sphincter says what?
A sphincter says what?
Guy, you wrote this film and also had a pretty big role in it. What was it like playing a character you wrote? Did you know you were going to play the role while you were writing?
GUY: Yeah, and I'd done all these one-man shows in years gone by, and writing stories and performing them at open mics and stuff, and ll that was so many years of boring-ass memorization, the worst chore of acting, so I gave myself no lines.
Everybody, what was it like working with each other on this film? Do any of you hate each other? Is there anything else you would like to say about Los Angeles Overnight before I stop typing and hit the word "Publish" on the Web site?
GUY: Great! I feel like Michael and Camilla are my brother and sister about now. But to be clear, Camilla cannot bear to be pegged as being related or married to me, for obvious reasons. We're not related FYI! And yeah, Michael is great to watch as a director 'cause he's so calm, and Camilla came swinging into he picture like a hero, nabbing us Peter Bogdanovich and Sally Kirkland, and becoming the lead producer as well as turning in this adroit performance. It was amazing to watch both of them create. And everyone else who worked on the film, for that matter. Sheesh, you should've seen Arielle keep a proper bookmark in her performance over nine months of filming-- that was so cool. It was amazing who came along to help and that began with all the generosity inherent in a Kickstarter. Behind the scenes, stuff happened like Gypsy Taylor designed Peter Bogdanovich's costume and the waitress costumes, but then all of a sudden just this year Gypsy's been back and doing these series of brilliant lobby cards, and designed our new poster, and done our logo, and made us a font. Our own font?! That's the magical thing about moviemaking: all of a sudden someone who can design a font comes along and designs the movie a font.
ARIELLE: I just adored working with everyone on this project. I went through a major post-project depression when it wrapped because I knew that was the last time I'd get to play pretend with Michael, Guy and Camilla with this story and these characters. Working with people over such a span of time with such an incredible role like Priscilla, you develop some great friendships.
I would say this is a very honest look at L.A.; at the idea of "Hollywood." That's what spoke the most to me about the film. Minus the brutal murdering part.
MICHAEL: Ha ha! No hate here. It's pretty much a little love fest between us. Guy, Camilla and I have worked very closely on the release of the film with Camilla taking the producing reigns towards a release that we had never thought we'd get. I was/am in awe of Arielle's dedication to the film, especially as it was such a long time to get it out into the world. Guy is just a workhorse and on the lows of the rollercoaster ride would always send through a positive spin pep talk to get the wheels moving again. Lucky to have a team filled with decent human beings.
CAMILLA: A gun rack? I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do with a gun rack?
Obviously, LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT should eventually become a favorite movie of just about anyone who watches it, right? What movie do you think viewers should immediately stop liking so that they can now make room for it in their favorite movie database? For example, I was watching DANCES WITH WOLVES the other night on TV, and was all, "Hmm, I thought I liked this movie, but right now it feels boring. I wish this movie was LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT, but it's not. DANCES WITH WOLVES out of the database and LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT in!"
MICHAEL: Man, I don't want to rag on anyone else's movie, because if they experienced just half the energy and stress we did, then full respect to them! But I did think the remake of POINT BREAK was unnecessary.
GUY: Well, people should just decide to watch LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT as the next movie they watch, and then it won't be nudging out anything.
ARIELLE: (laughing) Oh, man. I don't know how to answer that one! I guess Mulholland Drive because I like this one waaaaay more than that movie and they're kind of similar.
CAMILLA: She makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.
AND FINALLY, ACT 3...
According to my quick search on IMDb, a man named Michael Lira did the music for LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT. Anything you'd like to say about his work on the film? I mean, I was gonna say, "It was good. I liked it," but I feel like someone else could probably do better than that.
GUY: Michael worked with and hired Michael Lira, so ask him.
Okay, I will. Michael?
MICHAEL: Yes, Michael Lira composed the music, and I think he did an incredible job. He's a very versatile musician, in that he can pick up any style and just run with it. I personally love movie scores and wanted something that was quite bold and unique. I remember that by chance, Camilla and I happened to be listening to M83 quite a bit at the time and felt the synth vibe would match well with the images we were getting from the shoot.
Other soundtracks I was listening to at the time-- Animal Kingdom and lots of Trent Reznor from various Fincher films.
ARIELLE: The music added this amazing element to the film. When I was filming, I had songs to help me get into character, etc., but seeing the movie with that score brought out these awesome poignancies that just took the story to another level.
GUY: I think the music is super cool and so unique.
CAMILLA: I see a little silhouetto of a man. Scaramouch, scaramouch, will do the fandango? Thunderbolt and lightning very, very frightening me.
If you had an unlimited budget, what songs might you have added to the soundtrack that would have really captured LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT's soul?
GUY: "California Dreamin'."
MICHAEL: Good one-- knocks off two elements of the film in one song!
ARIELLE: I listened to the Naked and Famous' "Hearts Like Ours" a lot. And I had a miztape with Kavinsky's "Nightcall" and LP's "Into the Wild" that I played on repeat driving to shoots. Finally, Bleachers' "I Want to Get Better" was a constant audio loop for me. I will associate those songs with certain scenes for the rest of my life.
CAMILLA: Gallileo! Gallileo!
What's everyone listening to right now? Anything new I should check out or are you all just like me and keep listening to the same four indie bands from the '90s over and over again?
MICHAEL: I'm listening to the melancholy tunes of Ray LaMontagne quite a bit as well as the scores from Arrival, Sicario, and other tracks from the late, great composer Johann Johannsson.
GUY: I only just discovered Wilco, weirdly. Also back into Sinead O'Connor as a kind of duty because things are so sad for her with her mental illness.
CAMILLA: Jolly Green Giants, The Shitty Beatles...
ARIELLE: I rediscovered Paul Simon's Graceland as well as Jim Croce's repertoire, and have been on a 1960s Motown deep dive recently. '90s alt and pop rock are awesome, though! I have a not-so-secret affinity for Eve 6. I'll sit in embarrassed silence now.
Okay, well, that's it. We covered all three-- Beer, Movies and whatever the third one was. Thank you all so much for talking with me, and also for adding LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT to the wonderful world of cinema!
MICHAEL: Thank you!
CAMILLA: Catch you later, Bill and Ted...
Wait, this whole time, I thought you had been quoting WAYNE'S WORLD.
Oh. Okay. Yeah.
Please go out and buy or rent LOS ANGELES OVERNIGHT on iTunes or Amazon or wherever you usually buy or rent your movies. Support indie film!
For more information on the film, go here or here.