LARRY LONGSTRETH AND DIAN BACHAR: BRANDYWINE, PROPHECY AND PEST REMOVAL
Larry Longstreth runs Eddy Spaghetti productions. He makes films. He makes cartoons. His last name is uncommon.
Dian Bachar makes films and television shows you've all seen, he's worked on cartoons you've seen as well--and from his IMDB page, "Name is pronounced: Dee-un Buh-har"
When these two came together with the likes of Danielle Lozeua, Diamond Dallas Page, Les Claypool, Martin Klebba, Dustin Runnels, Chris McCail, Josh Cribbs and a deranged puppet named Moxxy, something interesting happened. If that isn't enough to get you're film-lust going, then you're probably on the wrong page.
From writer, director, editor, producer, Larry Longstreth, comes "The Murder of Brandywine Theater" [Trailer] which happens to star Dian Bachar, the folks I mentioned above and a host of others... what a ride it looks to be. Thanks goes to both of these gentlemen for their time and congratulations to the whole cast and crew on the film!
DAN: How are you guys doing?
LARRY: Great, man. Thanks.
DAN: I haven't seen “The Murder of Brandywine Theater” yet, but from the teaser, it looks like a lot of fun. It's described as horror, but there are obviously some elements of dark comedy, moments of real dramatic tension, some atmosphere, some violence..and it has the look of some of the 70's horror we know and love [Trailer]... Can you describe the style of the film in a bit more detail? Also—when is the release date? Any distribution news?
LARRY: Honestly, I think it's more of a drama than anything. There are certainly some oldschool horror elements and some off color humor, but the story is about Henry and his struggle with himself and with his puppet, Moxxy. It's not about some evil villain slashing through teenagers.
You're right, though... I definitely wanted that old 70's and 80's TV vibe. When I was a kid, I would stay up late on school nights, flipping through stations on my old black and white TV. There was no internet yet, so when I found something I liked that was obscure, creepy, or just not something that would ever get primetime exposure, I knew I might never find it again. It felt like a onetime thing, like when I woke up no friends or family would have any idea what I was talking about. I wanted that sort of "What the hell am I watching? Is this real?" vibe. That bizarre movie magic. I hope we succeeded.
As for distribution, I have no doubt it will be on DVD and BluRay, and On Demand and everything else. We're still deciding the best route to take between festivals or direct distribution for now, though.
DAN: Dian, you posted on Facebook [find him on Facebook HERE], “It's a cool, strange movie and I'm proud of the work I did in it.” Can you elaborate a little?
DIAN: It’s unique and I think everyone who sees it will find different things they love about it. It’s not like any movie I’ve seen, actually. When I say “cool” and “strange”, it’s because it is cool and it is strange. I don’t know how better to describe it than that.
DAN: Dian, you're known for your comedy and I'm a fan, but it's always great to see an actor step away from the expected and do something different. What struck you about this project?
DIAN: Larry and I loved “The Twilight Zone”, and this was sort of his version if he were to write and direct an episode. I just thought it’d be a really fun character to play.
DAN: Larry and Dian, Tell me about Henry Kosta. From a writer's perspective, where did he come from? And from an Actor's, how do you create that character?
LARRY: I wanted to make a character that was the exact opposite of myself, just to see if I could do it. Often times as a writer you use your work as a soapbox to get a message across. There's nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to try the opposite. I wanted to tell a story about a character I couldn't really relate to. I'm a super social, outgoing, opinionated person. Henry is nowhere near any of those things. In fact, he's so far in the opposite direction that it gets him into trouble. So that was my goal. Just to tell a fun, compelling story and nothing more. No preachy message or anything.
DIAN: Henry is a character who is consumed with loneliness. I actually watched some old Buster Keaton movies to see how he portrayed that. He always struck me as being constantly sad, so I used him as a visual reference.
DAN: It may just be the teaser, but there look to be shades of Richard Attenborough's “Magic” (1978)...was that film at all influential?
LARRY: I don't think anybody who watches this will be too reminded of "Magic". I've seen the film...maybe 5 years ago or so. I liked it a lot, but I was frustrated with how certain things were handled. It was just me, though, and how I wanted the film to go. It's a good movie, and I guess the "guy who is too closely tied to his puppet" deal is similar, but that's also the same deal with the Batman villain "Scarface", and tons of other characters. Our film carries a very different tone and takes quite a different turn. However, if I had to compare it to anything, I'd compare it to "Little Shop of Horrors"... with Moxxy playing the role of Audrey 2.
DIAN: I definitely watched it. I watched everything I could get my hands on that had a ventriloquist and I definitely watched Anthony Hopkins. He’s brilliant in that movie, but this movie is not trying to be like “Magic”. The similarity is that it’s a ventriloquist act and that’s pretty much it. It’s a crazy guy talking to a dummy and that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
DAN: Stick with influences. Larry--What or who made you decide to be a film maker? and Dian, was it a movie a play or what that made you want to act? Has the goal been reached--or is there something else you're striving for?
LARRY: I've answered this in numerous interviews and the answer is always going to be the same. It was a cross between my stepfather’s 200 or so VHS tapes (each with 3 movies recorded on them!) and my real father's sense of humor and mischief. I grew up on "King Kong", "Jaws", and so many other films most kids weren't watching and most 30 year olds today have never seen. I was infatuated with my stepfather's collections. I'm also the son of Larry Longstreth the first. He was a hell of a character... fun, brash, and stubborn. I've got enough of him in me to insure that I will never be able to live a normal life with a 9 to 5er. Filmmaking, it is. It's scary, but it's adventure... and it even lets me stand on my soapbox from time to time!
DIAN: In 5th grade, I got to write and direct and star in my elementary school’s Christmas play. I was honestly pretty much hooked after that. That was it for me. That experience solidified what I wanted to do with my life.
Yeah, the goal has been fulfilled. It’s what I do for a job. I’m very fortunate that it’s worked out and I can actually do this as a job.
DAN: On the Eddy Spaghetti site, it says 8 days in principle photography $30k budget, amazing in this day and age. Did those constraints crush the mood, or just keep the energy high? Both?
LARRY: It was a onceinalifetime deal. We were worn out, man. Some crew were falling asleep on set. Others were just plain losing their minds. Count me as one of the guys in that second group. It was a test, no doubt about it. There was no room for error and no ability to screw something up and say "Hey, we'll just shoot it later". Shooting it later meant flying a SAG actor back to Ohio at a later date, which meant clearing that with SAG, which meant needing to buy insurance for new dates, etc. The budget did not allow for any of those things. It was a tight rope act. It brought out the best, and it brought out the worst. We made it to the other side, though. What an experience. I'm super proud of it and of my team. But yeah, I'm not doing that again.
DIAN: I think it keeps the energy high and it also helps that everybody there actually cared about the movie. It wasn’t just a crew that was hired on to work on some random project. Everybody there cared about it and you could feel that so the time crunch wasn’t really an issue. It definitely can make it stressful but it’s nothing you can’t get around.
DAN: A killer (no pun) bassist, pro wrestlers, a pro football player, maybe the world's busiest little person, How did Les Claypool factor into all this? Diamond Dallas Page? Martin Klebba? What a cool cast of … I'm not sure misfits is the word because I don't want it to sound derogatory, but it seems to fit.
DIAN: Well honestly I can say that I think that Les’s music with Primus has almost a psychotic circus feel to it. It almost sounds like crazy circus music and when you get a cast like this it almost feels like a circus to some degree so to have a musical ringmaster such as Les sort of brings it all together.
LARRY: Yeah, man. It's a bizarre story set in a bizarre town with bizarre characters. The differences in size, backgrounds, and personalities between the cast was no accident. I wanted a cast that was interesting just to look at. Actors who contrasted each other well even before the acting started.
DAN: Tell me a little about Moxxy. New horror icon?
DIAN: I think so. He sort of looks like a scary Bert from Sesame Street. If Bert would have left Ernie and started doing crystal meth for 5 or 6 years he would look like Moxxy.
LARRY: That's probably not for me to say, but I can say that I don't think anybody who watches our movie whether they love it or hate it will ever forget Moxxy. He's a show stealer and a pretty mesmerizing character.
DAN: Any behind the scenes mishaps or funny stories you'd like to relay about the production?
LARRY: It was all such a whirlwind. I can say that Dian and I had never really worked together before, and that the two of us were cracking each other up through the whole shoot. We bonded for sure. We were laughing every day, which made the hard work easier. I'm sure I could think of tons of crazy stuff, but off the top of my head one in particular comes to mind: I'm standing in the auditorium in front of 120 extras or so. The girl who is my girlfriend now but who wasn't yet has come to sit with my buddies as an extra near the front. She's a naturally shy girl, so I had to put the spotlight on her. I told the entire audience that my friend Lexy had made the trip up and asked them all to give her a round of applause. Lexy kept her head down as the entire place erupted in applause just for her. She didn't turn around. She didn't stand up. She didn't wave. It makes me laugh thinking about it. I know it was torture for the shy girl, but I was cracking up.
DIAN: Laughing, actually. We laughed a lot. Trying to stop laughing when you’re supposed to be serious was a challenge.
DAN: Dian, you've said before you preferred live theater to film, but how does a small budget, intimate production like this compare?
DIAN: The reason I enjoy theater more is that you have an audience there that gives you a lot of that feedback, which is different from acting in front of a camera. You can’t really compare the two.
DAN: Was this all done on location in Ohio? Being from Indiana, I know the weather in the Midwest can suck the energy right out of you. Did it affect the short schedule?
LARRY: Other than recording with Les Claypool in San Francisco, everything was done in Ohio. We're so used to it that it didn't phase us. Some of the LA actors noted how gray the sky was constantly. I also remember Dallas and Dustin were freezing and would only stand outside for short periods of time. The rest of us stood out there for hours, looking at each other like these two guys were crazy! It's all about what you're used to, though. It's all subjective. The weather didn't seem to bother anyone too much.
DIAN: I think it definitely helped, actually. It’s good to have it overcast for the most part when you’re filming outside because a bright, sunny day creates harsh shadows and looks crappy. A cloudy day is good for filming.
DAN: Larry? Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Actor... Did anyone at least get you a sandwich or a shot of bourbon? Damn, man.
LARRY: You have no idea, man. It was fucking brutal but it was a crash course in filmmaking too. The others did what they could to lighten the load but even still when you're doing that many jobs, you pretty much are the project. It's your life. "Brandywine" was my life and no one else's. Hell, it still is.
I saw this as my ticket to bigger and better things and that's not something I took (or take) lightly. I don't want to be stuck in Ohio or in nobudget land. I was literally married to this film because I felt that I could someday work with the best and I had to prove it. It means the world to me and honestly, it has worn me out on numerous occasions but I try to look at it this way: I just do what I feel I have to in order to get myself to a level where I won't have to wear so many hats anymore. It's so important to me. I was a robot, man. I had to be if I was going to pull off an interesting, celebrity filled film for a measly 30k! I had a job to do, a chip on my shoulder, and something to prove. I hope we proved it. I truly believe we did, and that makes any hardship I endured well, well worth it.
DAN: Who's sexier—Dian, Dallas or Danielle Lozeau?
LARRY: My girlfriend, Alexis, is the sexiest of those three. (That should keep me out of trouble.)
DIAN: How come you don’t have Moxxy in there? He’s a fucking icon. That’s sexy as shit.
DAN adds after some thought: My bad, you’re right. Moxxy wins.
DAN: Larry, I've watched some of your animated work, very cool... Do you have a preference between live action and animation?
LARRY: Yes and no. I mean, live action is harder in that so many more people have to be "on" in order for something to work out. The sound guys, the boom guy, the DP, the AD, the PA's, the director, etc. But animation is harder in that it takes so many more long hours of work and so much more time. You don't do multiple takes. Tweaking something small can be a ton of work. Animation, however, lets you do anything and everything your mind can imagine... whereas having dragons, castles, and helicopter explosions in your live action movie is a much taller order. So, they both have pros and cons. I love them both and will always work in both mediums.
I've never done an animated feature film, though. That's a huge amount of work. I have a script that means the world to me, but I need the funding in order to do it right. It's called "The Wanderer King"... and one day I'll make it and this old interview can be considered a prophecy. Also, I really need to make "Four Tanksand a Healer" into a series. We made two pilot episodes, but I'm dying to make more and I know fans are too.
DAN: Will there be future collaborations between you guys?
LARRY: Yes. We're gonna be doing tons of cool shit.
DIAN: Yes, absolutely.
DAN: Who haven't you worked with that you want to before the zombie apocalypse, or the Rapture, or before the next good disaster film comes out?
LARRY: Ricky Gervais comes to mind.
DIAN: That list is too long. Gary Oldman is my favorite actor so if I could actually act with him, and that was my last role I’d be satisfied. Otherwise, the list is just too long.
DAN: What's next for each of you?
LARRY: I have a couple of film projects Dian and I are doing together. One is titled "The Brothers Grimm: Pest Removal" and that one looks most likely to get off the ground first. Also, my company is starting a video game in the next month or so and I'm in talks about doing another animated short, sort of in the style of Ralph Bakshi's early stuff.
DIAN: I’m doing a TV pilot. It’s an hour drama I’m shooting next month where I play a slimy Hollywood agent. I’m also writing a dramatic play that I hope to direct and act in.
DAN: Anything else you'd like to add?
DIAN: I would like to mention Danielle Lozeau. I can’t say enough great things about her. She’s an awesome actress and I think you’re gonna see a lot more of her in the future. I really liked working with her.
LARRY: Yes. Only YOU can prevent forest fires.
There you have it, horror fans. More info when this movie is available for greedy claws and paws. I hope to give it a review myself, if Moxxy will let me. Go check out all the links, like these guys on Facebook and spread the word about "The Murder of Brandywine Theater"!
Thanks again, gentlemen.
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