Entertainment Magazine: Film: California: Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Film Festival: 2011

Interviewing Filmmakers/Actors at the 2011 SBIFF, part 1

By Jared Winslow

At this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, I interviewed filmmakers and actors differently than usual.  
Aliens inquiring about us?  I wanted to make up questions that nobody else would ask.  My questions were preplanned, and altogether I ended up talking to ten filmmakers.  I have separated the interviews into two articles.  This is Part I. 
With four of my interviewees, I could only ask them one or two questions. The two questions are:    

1. How would you describe what you do as a filmmaker or actor to an alien from another world?

2. If you could have an animal help you with your job, what animal would it be and why? 

Afterward, I tried to see how their responses differed.  I have narrowed down their answers to the main points.  
Here are the people in this article: 

Will Eubank, writer-director
Angels & Airwaves Presents "Love"

This movie was inspired by the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It is about an astronaut who is in space while an apocalypse happens on Earth.  He learns there is something beyond life as he knew it. 

Gunner Wright, actor

Angels & Airwaves Presents "Love"

Ed Harris, actor

That’s What I Am
This is a feature film about middle school kids learning to stand up for what is right.  Ed Harris plays a teacher who sticks to his principles no matter what.

Christopher Lloyd, actor and festival juror
William Baldwin, actor and festival juror

Christopher Lloyd (left) and William Baldwin

Christopher Lloyd (r), actor and festival juror.

Photo: Christopher Lloyd in Call of the Wild 3D (SBIFF 2009).

1. How would you describe what you do as a filmmaker or actor to an alien from another world? 

Will Eubank: 

"I think I’d show him photos and play him sounds of the most beautiful stuff we have here on Earth, to try to show ourselves in a good way.  That way there’s not too much potential for miscommunication.  If the came here, that would mean they are infinitely more advanced than us.  But if we went there, that might mean we are much more advanced than they are.  We’re so far apart that maybe there are aliens out there that we can’t begin to comprehend they’re watching us.  They’re so much more advanced. "

Photo: Will Eubank filming a Civil War scene for Love.

Gunner Wright:

"God has blessed me with the best job on Earth.  I get to play for a living and get paid for it."

Photo: Where is Gunner’s chimp?  Mr. Wright needs his coffee!

William Baldwin: 

"I would say that I’ve got the whole thing wired.  I would say that I get to work with the most interesting, most talented people around.  It’s a lot of fun and challenging and it’s really fulfilling.  Sometimes I don’t get paid a lot at all, but sometimes I get paid a lot of money to have nothing but fun.  So I’d like to see an alien top that."

Ed Harris: 

"I try to allow the lives of other people to inhabit my being and portray them in dramatic stories."

Christopher Lloyd: 

"It’s a way of bringing to life characters or people in a way that people can relate to.  You can look and say, “Oh, I see a performance and through what that actor is doing I understand who that person is.”  To get people to empathize."

2. If you could have an animal help you with your job, what animal would it be and why?

Ed Harris:  

"I’ve got to say dogs because they’re so honest.  They don’t lie.  And I think the best actors don’t lie. "

Photo: Ed Harris in That’s What I Am with real-life wife and co-star Amy Madigan

Gunner Wright:

"A chimp, because they are very smart and they would be great as my "personal assistant." Coffee anyone?"

Will Eubank:

"I like Newfoundland dogs.  They’re big, fuzzy, docile, cute, lovable.  They’re my favorite animal in the world.  They’re fluffy and so dear and warm.  In the movie, there are a bunch of photographs of my Newfoundland who passed away while I was making the movie.  So I put him in the movie a few times because he was very close to my heart.  Good companion.  A wonderful, wonderful creature to be with."

Those are their answers.  They do differ.  Filmmakers have different thoughts about their jobs, but they all seem to really enjoy it.  They thought my questions were hard and interesting.  In this article, the second question about animals got dogs and chimpanzees as answers.  Dogs are one of my favorite types of animals too.  
Thank you to everyone for the interviews. 

Read Interviewing Filmmakers/Actors at the 2011 SBIFF II

2011 SBFF | Santa Barbara International Film Festival INDEX

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