his little book is made up of eleven interviews with many of the people involved in making Bryan Poyser’s latest movie, Lovers of Hate. Filmmaking is arguably the most collaborative
form of art out there, and we wanted to explore the collective process with some of the players. As often as possible, the interviewees’ words are presented with minimal editing. However, some surgery was necessary in order to highlight concise moments of expression. Portraits of the interviewees were done by Matt Rebholz, more of an artist than an illustrator, who gamely agreed to be part of this process. His drawings capture the curious contrast between the film’s dark comedy and the vibrancy of the people who helped make it real. www.monofonuspress.com www.mattrebholz.com
10 Megan Gilbride
11 Bryan Poyser
Victoria Lisi, the filmmaker’s mother, illustrator of RIFTWAR book cover Okay, one of the things that I think — and this may sound kind of weird — I actually think that creative projects almost exist in the ether, almost in a complete form, and it’s like you uncover them. And, sometimes, it takes other people to uncover parts of it. I don’t know quite how to say it, but you’re not really in charge. I think one of the biggest things is letting go of control and allowing what’s already there in some mysterious form to emerge through collaboration, and through relaxing into it.
Deborah Green, former owner of the house where the movie was shot, mother of actor Zach Green
You know, that house has a little bit of a provenance. when I was married, my husband, Tom Green, and I bought that house in Deer Valley and built a house in California. And then we split up, very gently. He took the California house, and I took the Utah house. After having that house for a year, I decided that I didn’t want it…Well, my ex-husband panicked and said, “I’ll buy it.” So I sold him my house — our house — but it was sort of the best of both worlds because my ex-husband is generous enough to let me occasionally use it. When Bryan came to me, though, asking for the house, I had to say to him, “It’s really out of my hands now. Even though I use it, I can’t give it away to people. It’s Tom Green’s house now. And I can tell you right now, Bryan, he’s going to tell you no. He doesn’t rent it out, and he doesn’t lend it out. I wish I could help you, but it’s not mine to give.” I could tell he was crushed. I talked to my son who is in film school and we had an idea. I said to Bryan, “I just had this brainstorm. If you involve Zach in this project, give him a job holding lights, running cable, or whatever grips people do on the job, it might make his father think that it’s worthwhile to get Zach that experience.” And Bryan, because he had met Zach a few times, said, “Oh my God, I can do better than that. I can cast him.” I said, “ You’re golden.” I called Tom for him and said, “ We have an opportunity where Zach can not only act in a movie, but then when he’s through with the acting part, he can be on set — if they can use your house.” And he totally bought in.
Zach Green, actor (Dexter), Deborah Green’s son I’ve done some student movies with friends and stuff, but going into it, I was definitely really nervous, really excited. Reading the script and seeing all the nude scenes and stuff, I was totally freaking out. Like, was I going to be the guy holding the shine board? I didn’t know what was going on. I was at the house for Sundance, and then I just stayed and my whole family slowly trickled off back home. Slowly, one by one, the cast and everybody started showing up. I didn’t really talk to them at first. I didn’t want to get too involved, and I didn’t want to annoy them. I didn’t know how professional they were feeling. What I found that was most different, that I didn’t think was going to happen — in comparison to the student sets that I’ve been on — is that they were all able to relax. Like, at all moments, up until the moment that they needed to work. Then they would snap to it, get it done, and get back to relaxing. It was awesome. I was always kind of the odd-man job on each setup. I was the guy holding that one last light, or doing that one shine board that they couldn’t cover, and it was great to be able to be in there and watch them hang out and talk about what they were doing and talk about how they could change it. I couldn’t have asked for a better intro.
Alex Karpovsky, actor (Paul) What directs me to be attracted to a film? To be honest with you, I’m not really making decisions to be an actor, per se. I mean, I guess I am to an extent, but basically if a friend of mine asks me to be in a movie, that’s sort of no decision to make. Of course I’m gonna say yes. You know, he’s a friend of mine, I must respect him, and if he thinks I’m good for this role, who am I to say no? He knows the project much better than I do. I think it would be rude, quite frankly, to say no. But, in this case, I really responded to the script, and I felt this was something that I would have some confidence doing. I felt that I could do a decent job with it, so that added some excitement and enthusiasm to the process as well. I mean, all this being said, I enjoy acting a lot. I generally think that it’s a very fun thing to do, and compared to directing — writing and directing — it’s a relatively easy thing to do. It’s very stress-free, relative to those things. At the end of the day, you’re wrapped and you’re done. You’re not carrying this huge burden of guilt and anxiety and everything else with you. It’s nice to put in a long day of work and be able to physically, spiritually, and psychologically, walk away from it. That’s a very rewarding experience for me.
Chris Doubek, actor (Rudy) I work a lot with what I’m getting from my other actor. And if I’m getting something from him that fuels what I’m doing, I’m not going to question it. You know, working with Alex, it was like, “ You’re giving me a lot of attitude. I don’t like it. Let’s work with that.” It wasn’t attitude. There was something there that was very…useful. In some ways, you confront yourself through your work, eventually, because it kind of has to be an initiation for you in order for it to be cathartic for the audience. You have to go through something, I think, at least in the way that I was trained. Because drama? It’s insane. It’s all ego, and it’s not pretty, but you go through it, and when you come out the other end, you’ve really been somewhere, and you’ve really done something, because your psyche doesn’t know the difference between real life and what you’ve done onstage. I think that’s sort of the beauty of drama. Life is kind of absurd. We have all these weird roles we play in life, but I like my regular life to be kind of calm. I think all drama is psychodrama. It’s all kind of drama therapy. As artists, we don’t know exactly why we’re doing stuff. We don’t really need to know.
Caroline Karlen, production designer That was actually one of the most fun things I did, getting all the stuff for that car. I had an old computer monitor, like one of those big old Dells, the white box monitors. I had a tie rack — I really, really wanted a tie rack in there. I had an old Thermos and a crazy old cassette player that we faked out to be the CD player, ‘cause I decided that Rudy wouldn’t even have a car stereo, he would have to buy batteries to listen. A bunch of ties, and an old briefcase. One of those really sad, folding sun-reflector things. A sleeping bag. Old dishes. An old printer. All of it was the stuff that wasn’t really worth taking, because there was no real monetary value to it. Oh, a Christmas-tree stand. Megan and I got such a kick out of thinking that Rudy was like, “I’m stealing our memories. I’m taking the Christmas-tree stand.” We just imagined Rudy being so bitter about the divorce. You know, breaking something in half and taking his half, so that neither one of them could use it. Oh, an old toaster oven, which was sad. A basketball, an old trophy. Stuff that was bitter, these half-high-school memories and half-things that he thinks are going to get him on his career track. We threw a lot of books in there. We decided that he would have a lot of books about self-help, empowerment, and mysticism. It’s subliminal. If you want somebody to really feel like they have a heavy load, you have to put something in their suitcase. You have to create the environment for them to actually have the experience in. I have to try and make it as natural as possible, because if it’s not, people will sort of notice. You don’t really see that much of it, but I feel like for me, it was still really satisfying.
VICKY BOONE, casting director I believe in barter. I believe in exchange and reciprocity. You know, the worst reason not to work with someone you want to work with is that they can’t pay you, I think. Because, obviously, there are all kinds of different ways that people support each other. Again, this is me coming out of theatre. The only way that theaters can survive is to share. Through reciprocity, and through a willingness to help each other out. Karma banking, that’s what we always called it. I hadn’t known Heather very long, but I knew that she was an artist. I had seen her come in to enough auditions. So often, these really great actors, they come in and they read for a scene that is a supporting role in the journey of the protagonist, or whatever the script is. They have one scene or two scenes, and not a lot to do, not a lot to accomplish for the story. I had seen her just nail these auditions over and over again, and what I felt about her as an artist was that she belonged in the larger story. Like she, as an artist, needed to tell the whole story, to be the protagonist, to go through the whole journey. Some people have creative souls that need to tell stories, or they wilt, you know? I felt that that was the case with Heather.
heather kafka, actor (Diana) Acting is a really fucking weird thing to do, and it doesn’t operate on its own. It has to be entwined with the whole thing in order for it to be really powerful and good. It’s not a technical craft. There are technical aspects to it, for sure, but there’s just so much more based in the reality of your emotions as a person that then feeds into the character organically and naturally. The performance is going to be better if I really trust my director and feel like I can be open and honest, and I can turn myself inside-out in front of him, and he’s not going to judge me. As an actor, you know, emotionally you can hide, because the audience doesn’t really know what you’re crying about. Physically, you can’t. Those are my boobs. There’s nothing that I can do to make them look better, or worse, or anything. That’s me. It was exploring the bizarre, like I’m always doing, the bizarre world of why I do what I do. The fact that, you know, my neighbor, Michael, like he’s going to maybe see me naked? That’s weird. My mailman, who sees me all the time, now all of a sudden, maybe he’s going to see me? That’s weird. And then, of course, there’s my whole family. I don’t know that my dad or my mom were ever supposed to see me doing those things, you know. That’s kind of weird. I think that’s an interesting place to go to as an actor, but I’m glad I got to do it in the way that I did. We talked a lot about the nudity, in the beginning. You know, Bryan wanted to be sure that we weren’t going to get to set and I was going to change my mind and be uncomfortable, taking it off. I was like, you know what, it kind of scares the shit out of me, and that’s why I really want to do it. ‘Cause I just want to do everything that I do as fully as possible. I’m not really into holding back. I don’t know. I’ve always been that way.
david lowery, cinematographer Bryan wrote the movie to be shot in that house, and for a while it didn’t seem like that was going to happen. I’m glad he wrote the script for that house, though, because I can’t imagine a better way to function as a crew. It really gave it that crazy family sort of feel, because we were all living together. Everybody had their own bedroom, and it was so big that you could isolate yourself pretty easily — you know, find a floor that nobody else was on. But it was really nice to be able to get up every morning and get breakfast. Everybody’d be gathering in the kitchen, and it had a commune feel, especially because Bryan favors these actor exercises where he likes to get everybody to sit down in a circle on the kitchen floor every morning after breakfast. He’d get us to do this thing where we all had to pat each other’s legs, synchronized patting. We all would laugh about it. It was kind of silly and kind of embarrassing, but once we got into the swing of it, it became a fun thing to do every morning, and it really did break down everybody’s apprehensions. It gave a definite feeling that we’re in this together.
megan gilbride, producer Poop jokes? I guess I like them. I like them maybe a little less than Bryan likes them. I am a woman who works with a lot of men, a lot of voyeuristic men who grew up awkwardly watching movies and not going out on dates. So poop jokes are not — I am no stranger to poop jokes, or dirty jokes of other kinds. I feel like maybe I’m beginning to age out of them a little bit. But the back end of Chris, with his shirt just hanging over his butt, and he’s staring down into his own poop and can’t flush, is one of the most beautiful and tragic moments in the movie. There’s something about it that I really love. Okay, here’s my last thing. I have a couple of standby rules on indie film. I broke a couple of them just to get the movie made, but I have a definite no-douchebag policy. The film was hard to make, you know? Any film is, but ultimately I feel that everybody really believed in the movie and loved the movie and loved all the people we were working with. In a weird way, I feel like the positive feedback that we’ve gotten on the film is also because that love is on the screen. I think it’s the only way that we got the movie made. As much as I like pain — and that’s why I make movies — I’m not interested in creating more pain for myself, or more pain for the people I work with. I don’t have an interest in people hating each other, and that’s one of the successes of this movie. I feel like there was a lot of love in the Lovers of Hate family.
bryan poyser, writer and director Basically, all the characters exhibit aspects of myself that I am not very happy about, that I am not fond of, and it definitely has a cathartic, therapeutic sort of level to it. I also hope and feel like maybe it’s not only therapeutic, it’s not only about me, that people can recognize themselves in the characters. We’re all humans, we’ve all done shitty things, you know? The people that you’re closest to are usually the ones that you end up hurting the most. And, I don’t know, one of the goals of the movie was to try to make a movie about three characters who do shitty things to each other, but no one is a villain. For one person, Paul is a total asshole and they hate him, for one person Rudy is a total fuck-up and they hate him, for another person, you know, Diana is like an irredeemable character that they can’t ever accept what she’s done. But collectively, no one is clearly the bad guy. In the test screenings that we’ve had so far, one of our questions was which one of the characters do you find most interesting? Pretty much across the board, it’s been a three-way split. I think people are finding themselves in each one of these characters, and it’s almost like a Rorschach test in a way. That is a real success for me, that I didn’t make something where everyone can agree that Paul’s character is a total asshole. You know? Or everyone can agree that Rudy is just an irredeemable, pathetic loser. To me, they’re all heroes. Heroes struggling against their own histories, their own personal psychological makeups, to try to make the right decision. To try to make the right decision by themselves, to try to make the right decisions by the other people in their lives. You know, not succeeding at that, but in a way that is human.
Portraits by Matt Rebholz Interviews by Morgan Coy Layout by Elana Farley Edited by Jess Sauer Monofonus Press is an Austin-based record label and multimedia organization specializing in the physical and digital production of music, literature, video, and visual art. Monofonus aims to share work born from the manic obsessions of todayâ€™s most influential and anomalous producers, by any medium necessary. www.monofonuspress.com Looking for some new music to love hate by? Download our free music sampler at www.monofonuspress.com/sampler2010 Weâ€™ll have an iphone app out soon too.