Director Tim Disney’s feature film ‘William’ is a coming of age story of a Neanderthal in our time embracing societal lies in the face of greater numbers.
Half family drama, half sci-fi, William is a realistic glimpse into what would most likely occur if a Neanderthal was able to be cloned today. From the bias of him as inherently violent, the mocking of his self-worth as a caveman, to a lack of noteworthy media interest when the narrative doesn’t follow. Accepted by society only as a sideshow attraction and ‘the other,’ and seemingly fighting an uphill battle to change the notion with good behavior. As if look and ancestry must define William in the public’s eyes, practically a metaphor, ironically enough as William despises all metaphors in the film. “Maybe it’s a Neanderthal thing…”
William presents a compelling argument in the film when forced to betray his instincts to parrot back what academia desires him to answer. “Is it intelligent to believe in things that aren’t true?” Do we as a society and as human beings distance ourselves from the truth with every metaphor, analogy, and allegory? Symbols rather realities. Does majority rule determine what’s intrinsically valuable knowledge and what’s not? Such as that an individual’s viewpoint is rendered obsolete?
Throughout the film, as William grows more and more self-aware of how others truly view him, he begins to question his very existence. His father seeing him as a living prop for his studies and his mother attempting to shelter him from the world. Early on he’s ambushed in his childhood and told to never fight back again despite him not initiating the violence. Should he respond, he’ll be giving into the stereotype of Neanderthals as declared by society. His behavior always under the microscope of latent bias ready to surface.
Thus, William is forced into acceptance for much of the film, a box he cannot free himself of. ‘Greater numbers’ overpowering his right to individualism and dictating how he should act at all times.
Though he started off as pure hearted, William eventually succumbs to what civilization expected out of him… After being repeatedly prodded to do so. A case study for behavior vs. bias, nature vs. nurture.
Upcoming showings of William in select cities
The film will be opening in select cities on April 26, 2019. If you live in Highlands Ranch (Denver), Kansas City, Eden Prairie (Minnesota), Cherry Hill (Philadelphia), San Diego, Seattle, Tempe (Phoenix), or Orlando you’ll have an opportunity to see the picture in-person.
William: Cast and Crew
The pictures stars leads Will Brittain [Colony] as William himself, Maria Dizzia [13 Reasons Why] as his mother Dr. Sullivan, Waleed Zuaiter [Altered Carbon] as his father Dr. Reed, Susan Park [Vice Principals] as Sarah who becomes more than a tutor to him, Beth Grant [Donnie Darko] as Dr. Thomas, Paul Guilfoyle [CSI: Crime Scene Investigation] as President Clayborn, and Ted Cole [Watchmen] as William’s step father Ted among its cast.
Connor Wilkinson, Brody Wilkinson, Callum Seagram Airlie [The BFG], and Christian Convery [Venom] portray the film’s namesake throughout his youth.
Director Tim Disney [American Violet] co-wrote the script for the film with screenwriter J.T. Allen [The Lion King]. Jonathan DuBois [The Marine 5: Battleground], Peter Newman [American Violet], and Amar Balaggan [Muse – TV Movie] produced the picture.
Kitty Farmer Sighting! Juxtaposition between Beth Grant’s portrayals:
Donnie Darko fans will enjoy the contrast between Beth Grant’s Kitty Farmer and her portrayal in this film as the later sympathetic Dr. Thomas. “Misgivings” disappearing the moment William was born and seen with her own eyes. “Fear and Love”
William Film Synopsis
Star academics, Doctors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan, fall in love with each other and with the idea of cloning a Neanderthal from ancient DNA. Against the express directive of University administrators they follow through on this audacious idea.
The result is William: the first Neanderthal to walk the earth for some 35,000 years. William tries his best to fit into the world around him. But his distinctive physical features and his unique way of thinking–his “otherness”–set him apart and provoke fear.
William’s story is powerful and unique, but his struggle to find love and assert his own identity in a hostile world is universal–and timeless.
William was produced by the aptly titled William Productions and distributed by Front Row Filmed Entertainment. Special effects were done by Lux Visual Effects with Dailies, DI Color, and Finishing services by Finale Post Production. The picture was filmed on-location in Vancouver and British Columbia, Canada.
Ian McShane spoke via Skype about the possibility of a followup to HBO’s Deadwood film at NYC’s movie screening at the Split Screens Festival.
No guarantees but it sounds like Deadwood’s story might potentially continue past its cinematic debut according to Al Swearengen himself, Ian McShane. The Gem Saloon proprietor was all smiles on the eve of Deadwood: The Movie’s viewing party at the SVA Theatre for NYC’s Split Screens Festival. McShane did not close the book on a new Deadwood chapter when asked about ‘getting to say goodbye to cast members this time around.’
Host/Interviewer Matt Zoller Seitz jokingly prodded McShane by commenting, “Wait a second here… That’s not what you told me last time I talked to you! You told me this was the last one!” McShane responded, “I’m F***in’ Swearengen, I lie a lot! ” drawing roaring laughter from the crowd. The Deadwood star had said, “The thing is that the story goes on, in every town in America” when reminiscing about creator David Milch’s excellence just minutes earlier.
Seitz inquired if a Deadwood sequel would be set in the high country, to which McShane responded, “No, it wouldn’t be right if Robin [Weigert] wasn’t there!” * Robin (Calamity Jane) was a featured guest at the SVA Theatre to discuss the picture on-stage. McShane detailed how every cast member meant something to the show. “If everybody is not there, it’s not the same!” How it “never felt crammed in” to have so many characters but like a “real town.”
Swearengen literally lives through McShane
Not only was Ian McShane in great spirits, he was on fire all interview in true Swearengen fashion. You could tell the character is part of him and always will be. From the moment he came on screen via Skype at the SVA Theatre, McShane hilariously commented, “What are those three f***in’ empty seats I see there?! I’ll cut their c***s**king throats, whoever did this!”
When there was mention by Director Daniel Minahan about rebuilding The Gem Saloon set because the original had been lost… McShane comedically quipped, “It was because of those Westworld bastards I tell ya!” The legendary actor mentioned how he got back into character by waking up each morning and saying his most famous catchphrase. Any true Deadwood fan can guess what it is!
McShane spoke highly of creator David Milch, crediting his brilliance in crafting the universe responsible for the best three years of his acting life. The Deadwood star said he was happy for the show’s entirety and commented about loving to watch William Sanderson play E.B. Farnum. Elaborating how Sanderson should be in every Shakespeare play because ‘He’s the only one who cane make those funny!’ McShane mentioned the cast and crew had kept in touch and occasionally even had Deadwood dinners every now and then.
Crowd Reaction gauging for Deadwood: The Movie sequel?
McShane mentioned ‘going into a meeting after this,’ a meeting with HBO execs about a potential Deadwood followup, perhaps? HBO representatives were said to be in attendance at the SVA Theatre… Maybe taking in reactions to Deadwood: The Movie from the live audience? Hmmmm. The crowd certainly responded favorably, with a packed SVA Theatre and even vocally engaging with the characters on the silver screen all night.
Actor Johnny Solo gave a breakout performance as horse track race swindling, easy livin’ Gino in new comedy film, 79 Parts: Director’s Cut.
The following article contains minor spoilers for 79 Parts: Director’s Cut.
Every once in a while an actor catches your attention by playing a character that feels so true to life, it’s like a person you’ve already met. Johnny Solo’s performance in 79 Parts: Director’s Cut harkens back to raw, old school humor, the type you’d see in a 70s-era Israeli Bourekas film or even Jackie Chan’s 1978 picture, Drunken Master. The lovable, sort of lazy, creative hustler always looking to pull a quick ‘combina’ (fast one) instead of working. It’s a universal formula, we all know someone like this at some point of our lives… Yet, we can’t help but befriend them. For all his trouble, Gino spells excitement and opportunity in lead character Jack Anderson’s [Ryan O’Callaghan] life.
Sure Gino’s methods are gray area, usually less on the legal side but his confidence throughout the film is infectious. Simply put, you want to believe, and sometimes the quarter comes up Tails in life like he promised. Early on in the film, Gino’s pal Jack lets it slip that the race Gino bet on (and won) was fixed, leading to a viewer comforting chase scene by the other gamblers.
Comfortable in the sense that you can just turn your mind off and enjoy, no lengthy metaphors and allegories to ponder. The late night comfort food of cinema if you will. The appetizing chase instantly attracts curious onlookers, gazing over what you’re watching on the tube. The type to ask for just one fry but end up staying for the whole movie.
Johnny Solo’s character is defined by his body language and physicality. Mildly reminiscent of Seinfeld’s Kramer in the way he physically embraces those closest to him, arm on the shoulder and such… And has absolutely zero inhibition! He goes to the track with an obvious fake beard in tow, has no qualms about wearing risqué, silly clothing, or pilfering a stand for it. Gino is as gritty as can be and direct about his ‘me first’, often self-centered behavior.Pictured: Johnny Solo as Gino in 79 Parts: Director’s Cut – Photo Credit: Ari Taub
When Gino tells Jack he’s got another horse tip after Jack just got a very shady, risky loan from his uncle, he informs him, ‘It’ll help me… Okay, we’ll split it you’ll get something too.’ The selfish nonchalance of it all is what makes Gino a fun character. At the same time, you can tell he has the best of intentions for his friend, as long as it benefits him in some way first.
Even when Gino discovers his best buddy just got married to a girl named Anna, his first thought is why he finds out the info last. He’s relentless in trying to figure out if pal Jack has business with his uncle that he’s cutting him out of the loop from. During all of this, Gino is fully aware that he ‘kind of screwed’ Jack over prior but can’t help putting himself first.Pictured: Johnny Solo as Gino and Daniela Mastropietro as Anna in 79 Parts: Director’s Cut – Photo Credit: Ari Taub
The delightful Italian accent of Anna played by another film standout in Daniela Mastropietro, perfectly compliments Gino’s vagabond roughness later on. Gino attempts to pull another fast one with a doctored wedding album to help his friend’s sham marriage out. However, Anna is not a fan, immediately sensing they’ll be caught and presenting a drawing Jack made instead. The smile on Gino’s face when giving the doctored photo album to immigration says it all. A total comedic contrast to Anna’s worry that she’ll be sent of the country. It’s what makes each scene Gino is in fun and wholly unpredictable.
Likewise, Gino’s relationship with his uncle Dennis [Aidan Redmond] is what complete’s his arch. Despite Jack seemingly looking up to Gino, uncle Dennis sees him for what he is. Always reluctant to help him out and trying to figure out what his nephew’s angle is. One of the best parts of the film is when Dennis sends his nephew to dig randomly, without informing him what he’s digging from. Gino shovels aimlessly as punishment, unknowingly looking for a lost wedding ring. A wedding ring that Dennis’ wife Vera [Lisa Regina] demands be found, no excuses.
Johnny Solo’s character Gino is one you’d like to see again in a sequel or on a weekly TV sitcom. The kind of character where you’re curious what shenanigans they’re up to this week. That’s not easy to craft in any performance, comedic or not. Selling believability is an acting skillset not to be taken lightly.
79 Parts: Director’s Cut Film Trailer and Info
Visit the 79 Parts: Director’s Cut official website for more information about the film which features Oscar nominated actor Eric Roberts and a landlord guest role by Sandra Bernhard. 79 Parts: Director’s Cut is a Safier Entertainment and Factory Film Studios film by Hit and Run Productions. The film was directed by Ari Taub with the screenplay / characters being penned by Mario Radosta along with Chuck McMahon and John Ramaine.
The Natural Aristocrat spoke with ‘On/Off’ star Carole Brana (Meredith) about vulnerability as a source of acting inspiration in the silent void of space.
At the heart of every human fear is the beating truth of real possibility, just as actress Carole Brana’s Meredith discovers in On/Off. The Sci-Fi French short took film festivals by storm, amassing over 16 awards, and recently seeing its first public debut through DUST. The film’s easy attraction of maximum calamity and catastrophe in the helplessness of space, the new wild west, speaking to genre fans.
Then a timely film twist left them wondering about the future of technological depravity. How advanced civilization is doomed to search for a connection to the humanity they intentionally left behind. Meredith’s imprint of an aged voice message throughout the picture embodying the concept. A subconscious human need to cling desperately to an idea without even remembering its true origins.
Actress Carole Brana told The Natural Aristocrat it was through the power of vulnerability that she found inspiration to play the title’s lead, Meredith… Who watches her very spacecraft disintegrate before her eyes.
Interview with Carole Brana on Sci-Fi film short, On/Off
The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: As Meredith, you portray the ultimate vulnerability of space. Despite being fully shielded in your exterior, even minor objects flying toward you like a screw could spell the end. What do you look to as an actress to connect with this concept? Do you utilize sense memory and emotionally recall a particular point in your life where you felt similar vulnerability?
As an actress I need to use vulnerability as a source of inspiration. Vulnerability is often considered in real life as a weakness unfortunately. To play Meredith, I needed to mute the daily mental brainstorming and let things emerge organically. This is not about memory or recall, but about finding the limits inside myself, the failure to catch the light.
In the film, Meredith asks for the music to be turned off despite her plunging serotonin levels. Was she truly irritated by the music or did she want ‘the headache’ to continue in order to access the voice message memory in your opinion?
Excellent question! This moment is interesting because you have the choice. You, and only you can decide Meredith’s mood! So, I won’t tell you what I think and but I’ll let you choose which decision speaks more to you.
What went through your mind when you visualized the spacecraft disintegrating? The last refuge evaporating before your eyes…
This scene was very intense, I remember the vertigo of the soul. Something broke forever inside Meredith and I needed to make a step and jump in it.
What did it mean to you to be nominated for a Maverick Movie Award for On/Off for Best Actress in a film short in 2014?
I was very proud and very honoured to be nominated for the Best Actress Maverick Movie Award. It means a lot to me. I’m passionate about my job and to receive a nomination is a gift. I’m very proud that On/Off won the VFX Maverick Movie Award on 2014…
I’m very grateful to (Director) Thierry Lorenzi who gave me this opportunity, and very grateful to the technical crew. I hope to see this movie have a long life.
Should it someday be possible to live on like Meredith as an android of sorts, would you just choose that for yourself?
I don’t know. Today I believe that life is a continuum of states and we haven’t explored all of the possibilities. But being an android is not really one of my goals!
Were you inspired by the replicas of Blade Runner 2049, HBO’s Westworld, Ex Machina, A.I. Artificial Intelligence or any other Sci-Fi work for the revelation that you’re a robot?
I’ve been interested in the Sci-Fi world since a very young age, so I’ve been watching a lot of movies, I’ve read a lot of books and I think I’m somewhat created by this culture. To play Meredith I decided to act like a computer. I used my body as machine with uploads, updates, bugs etc… So I proposed a machine reload more than a conscious revelation.
[End Spoiler Warning]
On/Off Film Premiere Trailer and Synopsis
Obsessed by a mysterious voice message, astronaut Meredith will face its paradoxical condition in order to stay connected to her humanity.
* For English Speakers: The film has English subtitles with French being the spoken language of the picture.
Visit the official DUST website to watch On/Off (no subscription needed) and other intriguing, curated, independent Sci-Fi films. Take a tour of the official On/Off website for more information about the short film by Director Thierry Lorenzi.