Entertainment Magazine: Film: 2011: "Cole Mueller"
Interview with Filmmaker Cole Mueller
By Madelyn Ritrosky
Cole Mueller is a graduate of USC and a dedicated filmmaker who’s looking to strike his own path as a writer-director and producer.
Making his own independent films is what he has set out to do and what he loves doing. It’s not always easy in fact, it’s difficult but determination and the satisfaction of knowing he’s doing it his way make his career path a rewarding one so far.
That career path includes his recently completed first independent, feature-length film. It’s called Green Guys.
Shot in the filmmaker’s home town of Phoenix, it’s a crime caper type film that is as much about the relationships among the four delinquent protagonists as it is about the crimes they perpetrate. Think both versions of Ocean’s Eleven.
Cole recently discussed his new film and other aspects of his filmmaking endeavors.
Tell us about Green Guys.
Green Guys is a crime film that was inspired by the original Frank Sinatra rat pack as well as the Bernie Madoff scandal. I wanted to do something that felt topical yet not take itself too seriously... characters that were criminals but charismatic.
We had a relatively small budget, low six-figures, but the goal was always to create something that felt larger than a small indie, something that could fit into a studio line-up.
Ironically, that approach has hurt us with festivals because they mainly want either star-driven indies or projects that wouldn't be allowed in a studio line-up, like the mumble-core stuff or darker dramas.
How do you create your characters?
My characters are usually small extensions of myself in some way, so when I write, it's simply putting a small amount of myself or my personality into a character. It’s the most honest way to write for me and is the best way to make a film feel more personal.
When will the film be seen on screen?
We have only played a few small festivals, but we are currently in the process of putting together a small college tour of the film and have already screened Green Guys at my alma mater, USC, where we got to screen in the brand new film school facilities donated by George Lucas.
What filmmakers have inspired you?
I have been inspired by a wide range of different filmmakers, and artists and writers in general for that matter. I love the style and confidence and command in direction of an Orson Welles, the design and architecture of films by David Fincher and Martin Scorsese. I love the scope of John Ford and Sergio Leone and Steven Spielberg.
I love the vision and voice of a Spike Lee, the emotional transparency of a Paul Thomas Anderson, in his writing and the way he directs his actors. And I love the genre mashing from Quentin Tarantino and the technique he can bring to dialogue. This goes for Woody Allen as well. As for writers, I would cite Joseph Campbell and Hunter S. Thompson. And then are photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, who can teach you a lot about lighting just by looking at his images.
What are your broader goals as a filmmaker?
I simply want to continue to get my projects green-lit for whatever budget I feel is needed to execute any given picture. I also want to maintain my stance on only directing films I write.
What are your goals for Sunside Films?
It's my production shingle, and we’ve currently only produced Green Guys. However, we will be open to producing other people's movies as well.
What’s your next project?
I have two scripts that my producing partner, Sean Meier, and I are shopping around to different private investors and production companies. My goal is to green-light one of them by the end of the summer and start shooting in the fall of 2011.
Thank you for the interview, Cole, and good luck with the films.