Myself and [the cameraman] Mike [Kanis], we’re the biggest fans of the old time movies – especially The Magnificent Ambersons. We used to go out and watch those movies whenever we could. And it’s really fun to do the new stuff. It’s much different. There’s a film that came out a few years ago called Unsatisfactory but it’s still really fun. [Writer-director] Matt [Snyder] and I were friends for a long time, so we’re super excited for each other to be working on them.
Can you talk about the challenges of shooting scenes in the New Orleans streets (it’s definitely different than shooting in Hollywood) — and how you came up with your vision for the characters, the scene-setting, and the action?
We were shooting in the Lower 9th Ward, which in New Orleans is a completely different place. We filmed in two different neighborhoods, the lower end and the upper end. It felt cool in that moment – like we were shooting a movie. We just wanted to try and find a way to do something different. The reason why we’re using New Orleans in this film is that it’s kind of like the heart of America, kind of like the place I call home. It also felt like a great place to start.
A lot of the New Orleans people are very angry and they get a lot of trouble in this film – not just in the Lower 9th Ward. So it felt good to shoot in a place that felt real and real to see how bad people can get… and how they can get it on camera.
Is the set-up on set, where you’re just running around in circles as a character, something you’re proud of while shooting?
Yeah, yeah – very exciting to be able to do that. But the biggest thing you learn in film school is that not everyone is always going to react to your moves. As the director I like to watch how people interact with each other: how they react to me not taking my eyes off them, getting closer to them, taking their hands or doing something with their hands. You learn to notice when someone notices you – how they react. You always want things to feel as natural as possible.
How did you become friends with Matthew S. Weiner?
Matt has just been such a great friend and an inspiration. Obviously, he makes so many movies – there’s so much of his
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