Festivals - Fantastic Fest : Our Chad Faust
Par Mulder, Zoom Interview France / USA, le 28.09.2020
During the Fantastic Fest virtual festival, we had the opportunity to discover many films some more or less convincing. Girl written and directed by Chad Faust is certainly one of the highlights of this edition. Seasoned actor having played in numerous series (Smallville, The 4400, CSI Miami, CSI NY, Cold case, House...) and movies (Descent (2007), Watercolor Postcards (2013)), Chad Faust is behind the camera as the writer and director of a thriller as original as it is captivating. Girl is not only a successful thriller, it is also a way to revisit the United States through deep America. Her heroine (nameless) arrives in the city where her father lives with the intention of taking revenge. The latter has abandoned his mother whom he beaten. Things do not go as planned, however, and she must face a belligerent sheriff and learn that appearances are often deceiving. Girl's scenario is based on many twists and turns but also on deceptive appearances.
We had the opportunity during the Fantastic Fest to interview the director, screenwriter and actor Chad Faust.
Q : Hello Chad, You have played on a lot of great series as Smallville, The 4400, CSI Miami, CSI NeY, Cold case, House.. Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background ?
Chad Faust : Yes sure, my name is Chad Faust. I wrote and directed a film called Girl and that's my first film as a writer director. I wrote and produced a couple of things before this but my maiden voyage just as that at the helm.
Q : Can you tell us about your filming? Where did you shoot the movie Girl ?
Chad Faust : We shot it in Sudbury Ontario. I guess actually a year ago we were shooting. Well to get your post production a pandemic was unique so it took a little bit longer but you know the film is coming out now and it seems to be landing on the street which we're grateful for.
Q : What should good acting direction be for you? What can you tell us about you work with Bella Thorne and Mickey Rourke ?
Chad Faust : When I first cast Bellal it was you know a couple year. We first talked about 2 years before and then a lot of our discussions just leading up to the shooting you know. I don't have to director a lot on set because you know we had so many conversations and she really deeply understood the character possibly more than I did when I wrote it you know so a lot of it was just kind of allowing her to bring her story to the role and I thought she did that so beautifully and courageously skillfully. I mean working with her actually was wonderful in the sense that she's like a word for word actor, she said every single word I wrote and understood the rhythms and tempos which for me is so important and I think so rare that people actually you know understand that in honor that. She did a beautiful job. Working with Mickey was so short he was in and out of like 2.5 days you know we had a short time and it was you know he walks on and you takes control and it was a lot of fun just kind of let him be make your art you know and I think the fact just kind of letting him take our allow that character to actually have a greater power than had I got a year to some idea you know. You know both those characters we seems like cast to them. I knew the movie was gonna be. Tt's gonna be a much more honest kind of strip revelation of these characters rather than some sort of like how you put on still you know which had a cast people works much further from the roles I would have had to kind of you know discovery these people with them it was you know unveiling.
Q : What cqan you tell us about your character Charmer in this movie ?
Chad Faust : Yes so I end up playing you know Mickey Rourke’s brother in the film which I wasn't really gonna do. We were going to cast someone else and then with the Canadian content rules and everything and making sense for me to play a role but more so I was actually really grateful to get to do it one, as a director I get to sort of direct from inside the scene you know on a DNA temple level like it's gonna be in there working inside out but secondly I was really terrified of that rule maybe plates do professionally you know as this sort of obnoxious sociopath you think she's wonderful and I really didn't want that I wanted to be much more multi layered and that you know I wanted him to be vulnerable and actually you know that we actually I believe that at one point, he's a good thing for her than our speed come something quite different but I just never wanted any of the characters to be you know played as one thing you know I wanted to be a slow revelation I think that one thing and you discover that much more.
Q : Can we say that your past as an actor help you to become a better director ?
Chad Faust : Oh sure yes. I think every director should embarrass himself in acting class for a year certainly it's essential. And also you know I think you don't get a lot of opportunity as a director to practice working with actors you know maybe if you're working in TV you get more opportunity but as a filmmaker, you know you're on set for one month or 2 months like every 2 years you know systolic champ. As an actor that's for me my safety net every time I got to work with the actors like coming home so I just got so blessed in that way.
Q : What were your main sources of inspiration for Girl ?
Chad Faust : Yeah mostly like American films of the ninety seventies you know the Deer hunter (1978, Michael Cimino) and Coming home (1978, Hal Ashby), Five easy pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson), you know units the eighties like Tender mercies (1983, Bruce Beresford) and Ordinary people (1980, Robert Redford) those films greatly inspired me in that they were these revelations of character in this strip simple raw way and they were trying to think they were trying to get to the truth through all of the lights during that Vietnam era you know we we're, we feel like we're in a similar place right now or we don't you know we're not sure the past the age of information into the age of misinformation it was doing that same thing today and while stones maybe speak to me and I want to kind of bring some of that to her story as she learns that the story she's been basing her life on is not true.
Q : On this movie some characters don’t have a name, we have, Girl, Sheriff and your character Charmer . Please can you explain us the main reason for this choice ?
Chad Faust : Yeah that was very intentional and that I wanted the audience to be sutured into her subjective experience. You know she is entering this town all these assumptions about who these people are and what her story is very black and white young immature kind of you and as the movie goes along hoping that the audience starts to see everything in Technicolor just as she is everything becomes much more gradient with gray and we think it was these people become three dimensional. They become a subversion of the archetype you thought them to be you know they're not just to share the charm of the part you know there are people and so it was about starting from a position of assumption just as she is and hopefully by the end the audience on the same path her of discovering things to be more cost more complex.
Q : After two shorts movies Baby Bleed and Oh God, Girl is your first movie. How it was difficult to build it ? What have you learned on these two short movies and use to direct this one ?
Chad Faust : This is a good question you know. I mean, I think as a writer, I have been writing in the long for different format, for some time so from a storytelling perspective that that was I think a kind of already made that transition but as a director I think it's more just what can work in a short film you can embrace a much more wild conceit I think you can enter a long form because you know for example making a short film in black and white he works really really well doing that in a features a much bolder statement and you know when that thing needs further justification you know because there's the idea asking the honest and a lot more time inside your idea and I think that idea better be worse the choice you know so I think it's that and it's also you know you have to hold an audience for a lot longer and that requires a lot more complex character and greater empathy for them.
Q : What do you think are the ingredients for a good trailer ?
Chad Faust : Well I mean, I'm sure dream originally for example for this film is that they wouldn't reveal like the big plot points I think that's all I can is out of the bag for that one so hopefully isn't not revealing too much you're so often anybody watch a trailer you you've seen the movie will go and watch the whole thing so I think mystery for me is the greatest ingredients because I think that's the greatest thing that that captures our imagination so I would say telling the audience the exact right amount.
Q : What were the main difficulties encountered during the making of this film ?
Chad Faust : Yeah well, I suppose it was the limitations and we don't have a lot of money you know we had to do a lot with a little and that way you know daily budget meeting, compromise, but it is also essential, like this also this became a vehicle for innovation because I had to come up with new ideas you know you example the hamster in the ball only came up because we could afford a cat. It is becoming a much bigger moments in the movie one of the producers throughout most of the jokes originally and then it was kind of this moment no but seriously but it was a hamster in a ball. The game you know that becomes goal
Q : What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot and why ?
Chad Faust : In some ways the action scenes were difficult simply because of our limitations of time we had a great stunt coordinator nonstop or did a beautiful job but we just we needed twice as much time to really do what I wanted to do and as a result I sometimes wish I had more angles to shoot you know to edit those action sequences and you know if I get a chance to do that again I would I would definitely just try to get myself twice the days for those moments yeah.
Q : Who are your favorite directors and which films are the main driving force behind your artistic creation ?
Chad Faust : You know, I'm a big fan of like Robert Redford's films like ordinary people it's actually one won Best Picture of the year I was born I can't ever stop thinking about that song it just haunts me that the similarly all honesty I came out of that film. Paul Thomas Anderson, you know he's a genius, David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, these guys really inspired me just with how they've done. You know so I definitely standing on the shoulders of these people.
Q : Do you have any French actors you'd like to work with ?
Chad Faust : Actually the film Sidecar that I have wrote and we were trying to produce, we almost had Melanie Laurent. She was about to join us and then it does not really happen. I am a big fan of her. I think she's wonderful. Before Bella came on board before I even met her I had approached Adèle Exarchopoulos for this role. I thought it would be interesting to bring a French you know French actress in this story. So you know those 2 women it might mean you have so many great so many great artists and filmmakers and actors.
Q : Which are your currents projects ?
Chad Faust : The next film I am going to make it's called Ballistic and it's about a father who works at an munitions manufacturing company and finds this is kills his son. And it's really all about the you know the repercussions of what crops the world how everything is cyclical it comes back to us you know and I'm developing a TV show as well called blast animal..
Girl (Bella Thorne) has lived most of her life without her father in the picture. Before abandoning his family, he abused Girl’s mother and left her in permanent, debilitating pain. Ten years later, he sends a letter threatening to kill Girl’s mother. Girl sets out to her father’s small town to confront him and remove herself from his clutches for good. What follows is a moody, twisted journey through a hostile town full of secrets where no one can be trusted.
Written and Directed by Chad Faust
Produced by Thomas Michael, Shayne Putzlocher, Sara Shaak
Starring Bella Thorne, Mickey Rourke, Chad Faust, Glen Gould, Lanette Ware, Elizabeth Saunders, Michael Lipka, Paolo Mancini, John Clifford Talbot, Tia Lavallee, Emma-Leigh Cullum
Cinematography: Kristofer Bonnell
Edited by Gloria Tong
Release date: September 25, 2020 (Fantastic Fest)
Running time: 92 minutes