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William - Pictured: Will Brittain as William - Photo Credit: William Productions / Front Row Filmed Entertainment William - Pictured: Will Brittain as William - Photo Credit: William Productions / Front Row Filmed Entertainment

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Tim Disney’s Neanderthal picture ‘William’ exemplifies Behavior vs. Bias

Photo Credit: William Productions

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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.

[Spoiler Warning]

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.

[End Spoiler]

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.

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tomandandy’s Tom Hajdu reflects on ‘The Strangers’ soundtrack (Interview)

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The Strangers (2008) Film - Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay, Scott Speedman as James Hoyt, Laura Margolis as Pin-Up Girl, Kip Weeks as Man in Mask, and Gemma Ward as Dollface in The Strangers - Photo Credit: Universal Studios
Photo Credit: Universal Studios / Universal Pictures

tomandandy’s Tom Hajdu reflected back with The Natural Aristocrat on The Strangers’ one of a kind isolating soundtrack, a milestone in the horror genre. A blend of stillness & suspense, preying on the inherent human fear of sounds that go bump in the night.

Nowhere to hide, no place to run. Fight or flight mode in the dead of night, tomandandy’s The Strangers soundtrack in the spotlight. Composer Tom Hajdu, one-half of the musician duo behind production powerhouse tomandandy (along with Andy Milburn), spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® about the inspiration of a score that tapped into the most primal of senses. Fear. Dread. Confusion. Terror. Ensnaring the audience’s collective body in a state of alarm from opening to curtain call. An exercise of dark minimalism, where every last detail is meant to send a physical message both actively and to the subconscious.

A soliloquy without words made of cello, layering the calm before the storm. The Strangers and its soundtrack is one of the horror genre’s first-rate examples of synergy, sound perfectly enhancing the picture to great effect. The soft pillowy tones of tracks like “Apology” gently causing viewers to let their guard down… Before snatching their perceived safety of home right out from under them.

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® – Based on Photo Still by Universal Studios / Universal Pictures – Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay, Scott Speedman as James Hoyt, Laura Margolis as Pin-Up Girl, Kip Weeks as Man in Mask, and Gemma Ward as Dollface in The Strangers

Interview with Tom Hajdu of tomandandy on The Strangers

The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: What was the inspiration for The Strangers’ minimalistic, lonely ambience woven with moments of wild panic? The soundtrack felt reminiscent of composer Bernard Hermann’s work on Psycho, in terms of calmly soothing over the audience before a sudden burst of distilled terror.

tomandandy’s Tom Hajdu: The inspiration behind soundtrack for The Strangers had to do with two things: One, with perspective. A lot of the sounds that are louder in terms of volume or more prominent are actually soft sounds that are very closely miked. Like a Cello playing very, very softly but it’s actually quite loud. Relative to say a distorted, loud electric guitar which is actually very soft in the background. So, it’s playing with these types of perspectives that are non-traditional or unexpected.

The other one was this idea that a lot of the music is really in the silence and try to punctuate that silent space in slightly more thoughtful ways, rather than just try to fill the acoustic space. It was really leveraging ambience and silence as a big piece of the soundtrack. We certainly have a great admiration & respect for Bernard Herrmann’s work!

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Universal Studios / Universal Pictures – THE STRANGERS, from left: Gemma Ward as Dollface, Kip Weeks as Man in Mask, Laura Margolis as Pin-Up Girl.

For me, the pinnacle track of The Strangers is “3 AM Knock” because of its foreboding stillness building into this crescendo ring of fear. It really feels like you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere at dusk with this stampeding dread from all sides. Not knowing what lies beyond the great unknown. What went into crafting that track?

I think it’s also the case that the film silence was a new kind of perspective on horror films. That gave us an opportunity to try and create a slightly different context for music. There was an opportunity there to try to create some slightly innovative approaches to the way in which the music was made.

On that “Opening” track for The Strangers, there’s an eerie, almost 60s era-Alien saucer sound around the middle of the track (1:05). Was that intentional? A subtle metaphor to an alien, home invader so-to-speak.

Yeah, there was a lot of intentionality in mixing strange sounds with familiar sounds! It was a combination of analog, synthetic, and ambient sounds, along with silence, put together in unusual ways. To create combinations that are not necessarily traditional in that respect, or expected.

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Universal Studios / Universal Pictures – Kip Weeks as Man in Mask in The Strangers

What instruments were used for The Strangers track “Angry”? It has a unique, screeching buildup to it.

Most of those sounds were made with cello, on process, and electric guitar.

What was the process like when tomandandy were developing The Strangers soundtrack? Was there a clear vision of what you wanted to accomplish immediately or did you experiment?

A lot of it was sitting in a dark room. Looking at the picture, the arc of the film, it goes from subdued & quiet to intensely loud. We were trying to figure out ways to make as little music as possible and rather have the music be part of the larger audio space.

Whether it’s the sound of an engine, the sound of an old record player skipping, or nature itself outside. That’s all part of the audio soundscape for the film. We wanted to take everything into consideration. A less is more situation. I feel (Director) Bryan Bertino’s vision for The Strangers was very successful.

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Universal Studios / Universal Pictures – Kip Weeks as Man in Mask in The Strangers

Director Brian Bertino once described a real life, childhood event inspiring the film’s iconic door knocking opening scene. Did tomandandy utilize any kind of similar personal experiences or memories while composing The Strangers’ soundtrack?

I feel composing for me is certainly a combination of all our experiences. We never lose anything, we take everything with us. Combining everything from emerging technologies to primal and visceral experiences.

We try to be open & available to the way the world is unfolding and the way it’s informed our lives over the years. I don’t think we try to filter anything if at all possible, everything is part of our palette.

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Rogue Pictures – THE STRANGERS, from left: Kip Weeks as Man in Mask and Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay

The soundtrack for ‘The Monster‘, another horror film by Director/Writer Bryan Bertino, evokes some Strangers nostalgia. Haunting piano was added on tracks like “Drink” and “Outside” which changed the tone in a noticeable way. What was it like to work on The Monster?

I think The Monster is similarly, a more modern way of looking at horror. We changed the instrumentation on there to combine classic horror scoring with some modern instrumentation and style.

What influenced the Resident Evil: Retribution soundtrack? In particular, the track “Flying Through the Air” which felt like an inspired fusion of electronic music and classical asian violin as its soundscape.

Yeah I feel with regards to the Resident Evil franchise, at that time we were trying to establish a sound for the brand. Which I think we managed to do! Once we established a style, I guess you could call it a language, we could create lots of different types of music within it. That track (“Flying Through the Air”) has that influence to some degree but it’s all couched in the sound of Resident Evil at that point.

Does tomandandy receive film scripts prior to creating soundtracks or more of a general theme and guideline of what the movie will be?

Yes, we often get the scripts before production has begun and speak to the producers & director about the musical direction before they’ve started shooting. There’s been times where we’ve worked on projects after they’ve been shot and edited as well. We’re comfortable working in either way. Usually directors like having those conversations very early on.

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Rogue Pictures – THE STRANGERS, from left: Kip Weeks as Man in Mask and Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay

Are you ever asked to make adjustments mid-way or generally once the soundtrack is complete, it’s final?

Oh sure! I mean each project has its own life cycle in a way. Its own character in the way that it unfolds. We’re just very happy to be part of that process. It’s an organic process and so where we start is often not where we end up. I think that’s true for projects as a whole, they kind of take a life of their own and emerge to become what they were ultimately meant to be.

There’s a quote by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the iconic Super Mario Bros. series, that, “A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.” Does this notion apply to music and its creative process as well in your opinion? As in, when you’re composing a track and something is just not working… Do you believe in trashing it and starting fresh? Or that if you engage with a track long enough, it’ll eventually become good?

Absolutely, I’m a big fan of the Brian Eno oblique strategy cards, which are cards you can use whenever you’re having a creative block. But I’m also a big fan of just starting from scratch, sometimes it’s good not to be precious about things.

It’s good to be receptive to the possibility of a creative spark because it can really come at any time. It takes a lot of hard work to orchestrate something, to get it just right. But also often times, it’s also useful to just try something new!

The Strangers Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Universal Studios / Universal Pictures – THE STRANGERS, from left: Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay and Laura Margolis as Pin-Up Girl.

How does the collaboration process work with Andy [Milburn]? Are you usually in the studio at the same time these days?

It really depends, we’re very flexible because we’ve been working together for so long! Both of us have fairly broad skill sets and so it really depends on the project. We can both be in the same room or not in the same room. We can both be working on the same track or we can both be working on different tracks. It’s really project specific and context specific, also. It gives us a lot of flexibility to work on all kinds of projects and approach them in creative ways that can produce different aesthetic results.

What is tomandandy currently working on?

We’re currently waiting for a couple of projects to be green-lit, actually. There’s a number of projects where we’re just waiting for the signal… But at the moment we’re kind of in Coronavirus mode. I’m optimistic that things will open up soon, at least from what I’ve been told. Different productions in Canada and Australia for example, are being discussed. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold as the pandemic subsides hopefully in the future.

Has there been a project that stood out to tomandandy as a favorite over the years?

You know, that’s a tough question because each project really has a life of its own. They have different qualities. The Strangers was certainly a wonderful and powerful experience. We’ve worked with Directors like Johannes Roberts on both 47 Meters Down films, Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) of course, Mark Pellington (The Mothman Prophecies), Jacob Estes (Mean Creek), Roger Avery (Killing Zoe) over time.

So, I’m not sure I could single out one as the very best but a lot of them could be really life changing experiences. Sometimes we’d go to the set for example and were asked to be more involved and sometimes less involved. What we’ve learned over time is to make the most of each of these projects and help to work in collaboration with the rest of the crew to make the project as best it can really be.

Artwork by Nir Regev / The Natural Aristocrat® based on Photo Still by Rogue Pictures – THE STRANGERS, from left: Kip Weeks as Man in Mask and Scott Speedman as James Hoyt.

Does critical reception of a soundtrack, good or bad, affect your own perception or interpretation of your work?

Great critical reception is a wonderful thing to have! But I don’t think our feelings are hurt if we don’t get it. There’s a lot of music and media that’s always floating in the ether, so not everybody can be acknowledged all the time. I don’t think we necessarily require the acknowledgement but we appreciate it. I feel where we have been fortunate is the feedback from artists, musicians, and directors who are familiar with our work. We really, consistently try to make the best music that we can for any project that we’re involved in.

Thanks Tom!

Thank you!

[fwds3dcov preset_id=”18″ playlist_id=”0″]

[fwdmsp preset_id=”Modern MP3 Player” playlist_id=”tomandandy”]

Follow tomandandy on Social Media:

Visit tomandandy.com and follow tomandandy on Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for their latest release updates!

Be sure to check out author J. Blake Fichera’s book Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers which features an earlier interview with tomandandy’s Tom Hajdu.

Read more interviews with the industry’s top talent in The Natural Aristocrat®’s Interview Articles section.

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Ellen Toland talks Inside the Rain, objectification and job titles (Interview)

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Ellen Toland as Emma Taylor in film, Inside the Rain - Photo Credit: Art 13
Photo Credit: Art 13

Ellen Toland spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about Inside the Rain’s Emma Taylor and society’s inability to separate job title from human being leading to a culture of objectification.

Ellen Toland’s Emma Taylor in new film Inside the Rain is a quiet looking glass into the day-to-day treatment of commodified human beings. When the fantasy of body sushi and the gentlemen’s club ends and a person trying to resume their regular life off-the-clock begins. Yet, separating the person from their job title appears a distant hope, like spotting individual blades of grass outside. It’s for this reason, among many others, that Emma Taylor finds comfort in another person pre-judged by society. One born with bipolar disorder and treated as such at all times to personal detriment. Even scorned in suspicion for taking their medication due to repetitional bias.

Meet Ben Glass, Inside the Rain’s lead protagonist. Ben is largely defined by one act during Into the Rain, an attempted suicide via overdose. In turn, Ben is later accused of another such attempt when he’s spotted simply organizing his medicine for the week… Leading to an unjust arrest and potential exclusion from university. Thus, Ben Glass decides to make a film about all the events leading up to the arrest as a proactive visual defense. Better Call Saul’s Jimmy McGill once told Scholarship interviewee Kristy Esposito that, ‘You made a mistake and to them that’s all you’ll ever be,’ and it feels highly applicable to Inside the Rain’s plot. Much like Jimmy tried to drive Kristy to fighting forward even without the scholarship, Emma Taylor feels Ben can be advance forward in his life without going back to a University that preemptively shunned him.

This interview contains spoilers for Inside the Rain.

Interview with Ellen Toland on Inside the Rain’s Emma Taylor:

Ellen Toland as Emma Taylor in film, Inside the Rain – Photo Credit: Art 13

Nir Regev [The Natural Aristocrat]: A good portion of TV & Film audiences are unable to disconnect the character they see on-screen from an actor in real life. During Inside the Rain, these fraternity looking, rich jocks bother Emma Taylor outside of the strip club she works at. Unable to separate the fantasy of body sushi from a regular person having a smoke after work. I was wondering how you feel about that?

Ellen Toland: Oh, that’s a really, really good question. I think that’s a feminine issue especially and it’s pretty ingrained in masculine culture. To objectify women, having a hard time separating the fact that they are not an object and something to toy with. I feel that’s what that scene really plays upon because those guys definitely don’t see a difference between a human being and their sushi tray.
And I think that’s a real issue with our culture in general.

It’s something that people really need to assess within themselves. I think that happens with people and titles of their jobs in the first place too. We don’t see past the title of what people do, and we make that their entire identity… And then treat them with that sense.

Do you feel Emma’s openness lends itself to accept a bipolar person intimately into her life despite his involuntarily asylum stay? There’s many that would have second thoughts after seeing someone forcibly institutionalized but you decide to donate Ben $5,000 dollars for his student film.

Yeah, I feel Emma’s seen a lot of different types of people and has a deep well of empathy & understanding for people. She kind of sees that with Ben but I also think it’s matched with Ben’s acceptance of her and building her up. Which I don’t think she’s had a lot of in her own life. It’s the perfect combination of both of them meeting each other exactly where they’re at, building each other up, and ultimately eventually move on in their own lives.

Ellen Toland as Emma Taylor, Aaron Fisher as Ben Glass in film, Inside the Rain – Photo Credit: Art 13

What was it like shooting the scene where Emma’s having dinner with Ben’s parents and mentions she works at a strip club?

Yeah, Cathy [Curtain] and Paul [Schulze] were lovely, it was great to work with them for a little bit!

I think my choice going into the dinner was that Emma hadn’t been introduced to a lot of parents and treated normally. She’s meeting their possible judgment by just really owning it and trying to almost test them out too and see how they’re going to react. When it’s met with genuine acceptance as well, she’s pleasantly surprised. Shooting that scene was really fun and the restaurant was very sweet to us as well, we ate a huge meal! [laughs] That was great, never bad to get to eat on set, you know?

Catherine Curtin as Emma Glass and Paul Schulze as David Glass in film, Inside the Rain – Photo Credit: Art 13

I saw an interview with you and Aaron Fisher where he said, ‘During auditions it just kept going back to Ellen, Ellen, Ellen!’ What do you think was that X-Factor won you the role?

Ultimately, I feel Aaron and I had a pretty natural chemistry. One that you can’t really manipulate with actors necessarily. All the pieces fell together. We really had a good energy together and you really need that in a romance. (laughs)

Inside the Rain left things a little bit open ended for the ending. Why do you feel the choice was made not to send the audience home feeling ‘warm and fuzzy’ with a full happy ending?

I mean I think it was also being realistic to what really would happen in real life. Aaron was also basing the film off of his own life. He wanted to play to the truth of that. And I think they both needed to go and own themselves. They’d been given that confidence, and that’s what’s so good about the flash forward at the end.

It showed that that’s why Ben made that choice, that he really could move forward and ended up with the person he was meant to be with. We have people in our life all the time that are just chapters that are meant to lead us to end of our own story, it doesn’t make those chapters any less important.

Ellen Toland as Emma Taylor, Aaron Fisher as Ben Glass in film, Inside the Rain – Photo Credit: Art 13

Inside the Rain feels so much like art imitating life. I have to ask… Is Emma Taylor the real name of the girl portrayed in the film?

Oh, no it’s not her real name! (laughs) It’s loosely based off of someone but it’s definitely not the same name! There’s elements of Aaron’s life in the film, I’d say 60/40 but the film is loosely biographical. Like the last ten years all stirred around into one movie.

Do you feel being aware that Aaron knew this person impacted your interpretation in any way? Or did you still approach the role in the same way you would any other?

You think about it for sure but you also want to create your own vision of it and own that. Aaron and I definitely talked a ton about Emma but he gave him lots of room to make my own decisions. Aaron’s an actor’s director!

There was kind of a frugal moment toward the end at the fast food joint where Emma is adding everything up on her head. It seemed based on those sexually fueled videos she was making outside of her main job and the $5,000 donation that she’d be rich. How do you feel about that scene?

That scene is trying to say that she’s working really hard to get where she is, and knows the worth of a dollar. Feeling at the same time that Ben hasen’t had that kind of struggle. I think you can be making a lot of money and still be frugal. You remember how hard it was to get there.

Why do you feel that despite ‘red flags’ being present, Emma decides to donate the money for Ben’s film? Did Ben’s dream become Emma’s dream and intertwined at that point?

Yeah it all becomes mixed up. I think it also becomes her dream. Emma sees this person that she cares about and understands how important it is to him. There was no too big of a feat to make that dream come true.

Would you like to reprise the character of Emma Taylor potentially in another film?

I love Emma! She’s so brave and strong, I really adore her. If there is an Inside the Rain: Part 2, sure. I mean Aaron and I are really good buds, I love working with him. I’d love to work with him again, of course!

How much of yourself do you see in Emma as a character?

I think that any person you play, you bring an element of yourself. There’s things that are different, there’s things that are the same but I don’t think it’s necessarily conscious. You just bring as much of your research on their perspective of the world as you can. Whether that’s the way you move or even read things. Maybe there’s pieces of yourself in that. It’s a weird little mixed up bag.

Ellen Toland as Emma Taylor, Aaron Fisher as Ben Glass in film, Inside the Rain – Photo Credit: Art 13

I saw you studied over in RADA, one of the best acting schools in the world. How do you feel it established your foundations as an actress?

It was amazing! I loved it, some of the best professors I ever had were there. It was something I’d always dreamt of doing and I loved London. It was a really important step in developing my craft. Everything that people say about it… It’s all true! It did not disappoint.

Thanks Ellen!

Thank you!

Follow Ellen Toland on Instagram and visit her official website for the latest news on her upcoming projects! Visit InsideTheRainMovie.com to learn more about the film.

Read more Film and Television interviews in The Natural Aristocrat’s Interview category section. Be sure to watch The Natural Aristocrat TV with Host Nir Regev interviewing leading talent in the entertainment and sports industry on-camera!

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Domenick Lombardozzi in Cold Pursuit: Fantasy football and loyalty

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Domenick Lombardozzi in Cold Pursuit: Fantasy football and loyalty - Nicholas Holmes as Ryan Calcote and Domenick Lombardozzi as Mustang - Screenshot Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment / StudioCanal
Screenshot Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment / StudioCanal

Draft picks in fantasy sports act as surrogates to the type of person you really are. “Well, they’re my home team. What’s a man without loyalty?” – Mustang’s [Domenick Lombardozzi] double entendre in Cold Pursuit.

This article contains spoilers for 2019 film, Cold Pursuit.

Around the 34:15 minute mark of Cold Pursuit, there’s a seemingly innocent but meaningful conversation between ‘senior enforcer’ Mustang [Domenick Lombardozzi] and his boss’ young son Ryan Calcote [Nicholas Holmes]. Mustang requests advice from the prodigy-like youngster for his Fantasy Football league… Demoralized by constant losing. “I can’t… I can’t win a game.”

Ryan inquires if Mustang is playing for money, testing the waters as he examines the squad. Mustang confirms and the youngster immediately notices a pattern, “You have four Cleveland Browns on your team.” In effect, Mustang has placed all his eggs in one basket, hedging his bets entirely on the whims of one battalion for victory. Mustang responds, “Well, they’re my home team. What’s a man without loyalty?” In essence, clearly identifying what kind of person Mustang is and gives him away. Loyal to a fault, always going down with the ship… Even when there’s a life raft within fingertips’ reach.

Nicholas Holmes as Ryan Calcote and Domenick Lombardozzi as Mustang – Screenshot Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment / StudioCanal

As such, Ryan tells him, “I can’t help you,” sensing Mustang to be a lost cause. If Mustang had approached his fantasy football team in a black and white, unattached, purely mathematical stats-based manner… He’d likely be on the road to gridiron victory already. However, Mustang let the emotional attachment of his home team get the better of him to personal financial detriment. He was willing to sacrifice both his wallet and perception as a skilled drafter to colleagues/friends in order to appease players he’d never even met.

Thus, being accepted as a Cleveland Browns supporter by some invisible corporate eye is more important to Mustang than any kind of personal gain. This mentality equals a favorable feeling to losing ‘honorably’ as part of a team, instead of ‘dishonorably’ winning as an individual. Without giving too much away from the the film, Domenick Lombardozzi’s Mustang would go on to experience loss in other areas of life than fantasy football in Cold Pursuit. It raises the question, at what times is social acceptance more important than individual success?

Watch the memorable acting scene featuring Domenick Lombardozzi & Nicholas Holmes in Cold Pursuit, now streaming on HBO Go and available to rent or buy on Amazon. HBO is available as a Channel on HBO as well for non-cable subscribers.

Be sure to read Requiem for Mac: How Domenick Lombardozzi won Ray Donovan fans on The Natural Aristocrat.

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