When it comes to the creation of the thought provoking independent film, The Charon Incident, Allan Wylie can truly be considered a renaissance man. Not only did he come up with the concept for the suspenseful short (read our review), but he also wrote the screenplay, directed, produced and even made an appearance in the film! All that hard work definitely paid off with the completed project being an exciting watch that is already shining on the Independent Film Festival Circuit. Allan was kind enough to take some time out from promoting The Charon Incident to talk to us about the film and the possibility of a sequel!
Read on for the interview!
The Daily Quirk: How did the concept for The Charon Incident first come to you?
Allan Wylie: Years before actually writing the script, it was something I had been thinking on for quite some time. The conspiracy-type theory angle on the business of pharmaceuticals and how if abused, could lead to something incredibly dangerous. Which lead me to question friends within the pharma industry, and ask “what’s in place to stop this kind of thing from happening?” – answer was a resounding, “well, nothing”. I gotta tell this story.
TDQ: Was it always going to be a short film or did the idea for the format develop over time?
AW: The Charon Incident short was intended to be as it is. This is a stand-alone introduction to the story, to the characters and players behind it. There is a giant horrific story to unfold after the incident, which are designed to be in feature format.
TDQ: How long did it take to go from concept to filming?
AW: I suppose better answered with how long from script to shoot – (as it would have been years) I wrote the short screenplay between November and December, and after a series of revisions delivered final script in the last week of January. It was then a bit of a whirlwind, as we went to camera in London on February 3rd, 2012.
TDQ: Did you have a clear picture of who you would like to play the lead, fixer Clay Davidson, from the start? What made you choose Jessie Pavelka for the role?
AW: Yes, I did. Clay Davidson is a strong yet quiet and private character, with a presence that could change the temperature of a room with the lift of an eyebrow – if he chose to do so. Having met Jessie earlier in the year of 2011, and then working with him on a spec spot (Your Infamous Day – on Vimeo & YouTube) I discovered that he would be ideal to play Clay Davidson. His demeanor and look was perfect for the role.
TDQ: Did you know immediately that you wanted the majority of the film to be set in London? What made you choose the location?
AW: Yes, the story has an international theme, and London was one of the best possible locations to base it from. When the opportunity to shoot there presented itself, the entire project came together. There is such an incredible creative vibe in the UK, and having the honour of telling our story within it, was truly awesome.
TDQ: All of your London filming was done in a three day period. Even for a short film, that is extremely impressive. How did you make it work?
AW: As soon as we had unanimous script approval within the Producer team, I storyboarded the entire film. The boards and shot lists were refined based on location and our ability to move about London quickly. I had the film basically cut in my head as I wrote it, and coupled with loads of research and days of site surveys & location scouting it all fit.
TDQ: You make a “cameo” in the film. What was it like being in front of the camera with your actors and should we look for you in your future films a la Alfred Hitchcock?
AW: I had no intention to play in the film, but due to schedules and last minute circumstances, I made my screen debut. I was so focused on the role, thinking – “I will NOT be the weakest link in my movie!” Sure, I’ll appear in future roles, was actually a lot of fun self directing 🙂
TDQ: The Charon Incident recently won “Best of Fest” at the Route 66 International Film Festival. What’s next for the film?
AW: We were excited with being invited to screen at the Route 66 FF, and then to find out we were the fest opener, that was great, and then to be selected as best of fest was just amazing. The other films that played were really great, so then and there I knew that we have a real winner on our hands. Being a 20 minute genre short, it doesn’t fit into a lot of programming slots for larger festivals who are expecting 5 – 8 minute films. That’s ok. We are seeing interest from around the world, which is awesome, and look forward to any opportunities to share it.
TDQ: You have previously mentioned that you are working on a feature length sequel to The Charon Incident. Will the sequel pick up where the short film left off?
AW: The sequel will begin almost six months after The Charon Incident. The responses from people who have seen the film and actually “get” the story, and it’s implications have been incredible. Lots of viewers say “that’s it?? What happens now??” That makes me so proud, I can’t wait to share the rest of it!
TDQ: The Charon Incident is a bit of a throwback to the thrillers of the 1970’s. Will we see Pavelka in some Dirty Harry style gritty actions scenes in the sequel?
AW: The pacing of the film is certainly intentional, and will be carried through in the feature sequels. Taking stylistic cues from classics like Dirty Harry, Marathon Man etc, has been difficult as we tend to be wired for speed. It has allowed the story to unfold and resonate with the viewer. Jessie will definitely return as Clay Davidson in the sequel, and the action is guaranteed to be gritty!
TDQ: Where/when can viewers see The Charon Incident and experience the film for themselves?
AW: We have officially been invited to screen at the White Sands IFF, in New Mexico this coming September, and have had significant interest from festivals in Florida, California and Scotland. We will be posting updates as soon as we have them. Viewers can visit the web site at www.charonincident.com and those interested in up to the minute info on the film can follow us on twitter @CharonIncident or on Facebook.
TDQ: How can fans of your cast and crew support the film?
AW: There is a ground swell viral campaign by fans who want to see the film, via twitter, Facebook, and beyond. They are contacting their local festivals to encourage them to screen us. The festivals are listening! I Don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of response or support for a short film before, it is absolutely amazing!
TDQ: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
AW: Independent film is something that should be cherished and supported. Not just by funding, but with encouragement, and resources. It’s a craft of passion led by the next wave of storytellers and filmmakers, that can open our minds and explore new ideas or realities. Wouldn’t it be great to go to the theatre to see an award winning short before the next blockbuster? I think so, but that’s just me.