I was able to sit down for a couple of years and pump out a book. It’s got little to do with movies. Download and read “Thank You, Goodnight” right HERE for free.
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ADVENTURES OF POWER - EXCLUSIVE
Those who march to the beat a different drummer never met Power, air drummer savant.
I reviewed this film months ago and have been interested with the film’s goings on since then. I have an interview with Ari Gold that will be going up in the coming weeks and I’ve got lots more to share about this film. In the mean time, though, I am debuting a new comic strip that will be appearing on ADVENTURES OF POWER’s website next week but I’ve got the sneak peek. Thanks to the film’s writer/director Ari Gold for the chance to bring you a little extra somethin’ somethin’ while you wait for the movie to land near you soon.
You will be able to come back here every Friday as the weeks roll on until the film finds its way into theaters everywhere come this fall to see another comic, by artist Trenton Duerksen, in the series. Be sure to visit the ADVENTURES IN POWER website and it’s companion blog to watch for more updates.
DAVE BOYLE, DIRECTOR OF WHITE ON RICE - INTERVIEW
WHITE ON RICE, the sophomore effort from Dave Boyle, deals with the kind of individual who is oblivious to the world around him and lives within their own mind. The film’s protagonist, Jimmy (Hiroshi Wantanabe), is a Japanese import who isn’t struggling with his new homeland as much as he is being a burden on his more than understanding sister Aiko (Nae) and being amused at his smart little nephew Bob (Justin Kwong) the film takes a fresh look at what happens when direction-less men children meet the realities of what life’s really about. Overlooking the idea that this is a movie with Asian Americans, and is just a story about a man looking for his way, the movie bursts with genuine emotion and laughs that feel thought out, not employed haphazardly.
Too often the film is being compared to NAPOLEON DYNAMITE but the movie
sustains itself not on a funky visual style and quirky characters, it succeeds on its own merits as a story that has a definite voice of its own.Dave Boyle took some time to talk to me about the movie, explains what it took to get made, his writing and about Mormon filmmakers.
DAVE BOYLE: Hi Chris. How are you?
CHRISTOPHER STIPP: Hey Dave. I’m doing alright. How are you?
BOYLE: Good, thanks.
CS: Excellent film. I loved this thing. It was so refreshing coming from an independent slant. One of the things I wanted to lead off with was the summer’s been full of comedies that, if it’s popular it has to really push the boundaries of taste and PC. You obviously want to make the humor…genuine humor. Do you see that in the marketplace of studios wanting comedies that are “edgy” in the worst sense of the word?
BOYLE: Yeah, that seems to be the trend right now. I’m not going to lie. I enjoy a good dirty joke as much as the next guy but I get tired of it pretty fast. I also think it’s funnier if it’s a bit more subtle and not so in your face raunchy. It wasn’t really a conscious thing I was thinking. I guess it’s just naturally the way I am that it ended up that way.
CS: Explain to me – I know the movie came about from a kind of overlapping. BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO, which I have yet to see, but everything I’ve read about it makes me want to revisit that. How was it for you to come up with this idea while you’re working on the last one and actually start this while in the production process to get this one underway almost just as fast?
BOYLE: In terms of writing I actually wrote the story long before I worked on BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO. What ended up happening was when BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO started off at a film festival it got a lot of positive attention and buzz and I felt I had to capitalize on that as fast as I could and make another movie. So I really worked hard to get this one underway. BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO was finished but hadn’t been distributed yet. So within six months of completing BIG DREAMS I was in production of WHITE ON RICE.
CS: Usually people take some time off but you just jumped right into it with your second feature.
BOYLE: Yeah. I don’t know if that’s always the best thing to do. I think if I didn’t make it that fast it probably wouldn’t have happened. The actors that I wanted, their schedules were open. Just the timing was right so decided to jump in.
CS: And to that point…James Lee [HEROES] is a household name in nerd circles for those who know. Did you really luck out in that sense that if you hadn’t made it when you did that James wouldn’t have been available? But maybe in the summer they get time off I would assume.
BOYLE: He’s a pretty busy guy year-round. He likes to keep his schedule really full, independent films and stuff when he’s not working on the show. In this case there was just this window where everyone could get together. In another month, it never would have happened.
CS: I read that coming up with this idea was wholly because where you were at the time when you got the idea down in Australia doing Mormon missionary work. I’m fascinated by how all that came up for you, that here was an idea in your head and you were going to use it with people who were Japanese.
BOYLE: After I got back from Australia I crashed at my sister’s place for a little while and she was waiting for us like the sister in the movie and it just got me thinking that 13 years has passed and I’m still in the same space. But the Japanese theme came when I met Hiroshi on the set of BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO. He’s such a charming, funny and interesting guy and such a larger than life talent. He gave me the idea of a guy living in his sister’s house. Hiroshi really was the key to making this thing happen.
CS: Coming up with enough money, or at least enough capital for one film is daunting enough….did you run into any issues….I mean just going into a second feature thinking “I’ve got enough scratch to get this done” or was there a whole process there with trying to get this thing financed?
BOYLE: There’s always a lot of drama with that stuff. It’s just something you have to expect and maintain a strong stomach and try not to get ulcers. But it was touch and go for a while but eventually we were able to find enough people that believed in the movie enough to invest in it. This time around, on the first film I collaborated with my producer, Duane Anderson, in doing the fund raising. And on this film there were 3 of us who were working on the fund raising. Production companies on their own might be able to make a small movie shot in one location and cast our friends in it but we wanted to make something on a larger scale.
CS: It looks wonderful on the camera. Gorgeous.
BOYLE: Hey, thanks.
CS: The beginning of it, and this is a question that most people would probably lead off with and it has to be said, in the beginning of the movie you have sort of a samurai sequence and everything leads up to the idea that this person that made this film is somehow working through their ideas of being a Japanese-American and lo and behold you are a gangly white guy.
I’m fascinated why – and you responded to it very well in the festival circuit – but was there any conscious choice as to why you decided to make it a wholly Japanese-American cast?
BOYLE: It really wasn’t a conscious choice it just kind of evolved that way. To be honest I never really thought about it that way. It’s just a comedy that happens to star all Asian-American actors and I think it’s an underused talent pool. There are so many talented actors here who are Asian American. You could have made this movie with an all Caucasian cast .
CS: Were you just sort of colorblind and said “I’m just going to make the movie I want to make and everyone just form around it and forge ahead” or were you sensitive to that fact?
BOYLE: I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t made by somebody who…didn’t want it to be something that the Asian-American community wouldn’t be able to enjoy but at the same time I also just, yeah, wanted to cast who I wanted to cast and Hiroshi was the guy and everybody else turned out to be a great match up with him.
CS: Moving forward with that, getting the cast together and creating it and you’re still an independent film director, what things did you pick up from BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO that helped you create this film?
BOYLE: In BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO I was pretty stylish with the camera but for this time around I decided to trust the actors a little bit more and take a back seat with the style aspect of it. I did a storyboard of the movie. I blocked the actors, rehearsed the scene and my cinematographer decided where to put the camera from there. I really enjoyed working that way. It was a different way of working than Big Dreams. It was a big lesson and every movie has it’s own working style that works best to accomplish the goal that you are trying to reach.
CS: How long of a schedule was it for this one?
BOYLE: It was pretty long but pretty short by any other standards.
CS: Did you find any issues with filming in Salt Lake? Luckily you are only shooting in one location there, but did everything go off without a hitch? You did the storyboard and all but were you flying by the seat of your pants?
BOYLE: We kind of had a location’s department location disaster on the movie. I was seeing the locations were shooting at the very morning we were shooting the scene and we had to make some creative decisions because things just fell through…so out of necessity I had to go with what was available. That’s the kind of stuff that you have to say it’s not the end of the world, you can still make it work no matter what is thrown at you.
CS: In order to get prepared I read a previous interview and was fascinated with the idea of Mormon film making. Richard Dutcher in particular. It’s a sub-set of film I am not familiar with and I’m curious if you could help me understand if it was this kind of film making that inspired you to create your own films?
BOYLE: The Mormon filmmaking thing is an interesting phenomenon. Most people outside of Utah and Idaho never heard of any of those movies, yet, in Utah and Idaho and parts of Arizona and a few other places, those movies are heavily advertised, actually at multiplexes. I’m sorry to say that most of those movies are not my cup of tea even though I am a Mormon. A lot of them are over-dramatic and just sort of silly. I think it’s great that they have resurfaced for that community. The Mormon community likes to claim NAPOLEON DYNAMITE as their own but it’s not overtly Mormon. It’s really an inside joke. I think there are things in WHITE ON RICE that the Mormon community will pick up on and appreciate.
CS: The last question I wanted to ask is now that you have two films under your belt, what do you see for yourself as you go into your third feature?
BOYLE: I just hope that every time I just keep getting better. A lot of distribution is more filmmaker driven that it was before which is totally fine by me. I really enjoy the process of getting a movie out there and finding an audience and I hope I continue to find them.
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