Luke Baines spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about drawing from broken relationships as inspiration for Alex in A Dark Place and healing from the process.
This interview contains spoilers to the film, A Dark Place.
The Natural Aristocrat [Nir Regev]: A Dark Place really felt like a story grounded in revenge. What did it feel like when you read the script?
Luke Baines: I think it’s interesting because I’ve played a lot of dark characters, so I was reading it more about a guy who was trapped in an uncomfortable situation. It didn’t feel you know, classically the bad guy, that I’ve played before. He really felt like someone who was struggling to be good and to have his life on track. That’s what I found most interesting about it. I love the fact that it is so grounded in reality and really focuses on human relationships and human dynamics.
There was a key line Alex says in the film when he’s giddy about potentially getting a job and his girlfriend turns it around on him. “When did you start hating me?” It was powerful.
Thanks! That was literally the only line I came up with on the spot! (laughs)
What inspired that line out of you? Since it wasn’t in the script as you say.
I guess it’s one of those things where I just felt that at the moment. We were having this argument and she just kept coming at me and it’s something that we had worked on with Chris [Pinero]. Before we had shot that scene, Jazlyn, Chris, and me did the whole scene through just on subtext. That was something that came out. This idea that Alex was always going to be on a bad foot with her. He was never going to be able to win.
There was really nothing Alex could do that would ever be good for her because at this point he’d just caused so much damage. That’s really what I felt like he wanted to say to her. That it was never going to be good enough, is it? “When did you start hating me?” I think that’s so important to a relationship because sometimes things happen in life that are never going to change. Sometimes, in a relationship you just can’t take it back. You can do all the work but the other person is just never going to forget it. There’s really no way back once a person decides they want out of a relationship.
It feels like, especially from talking to my friends, that women really work ahead when it comes to relationships. They’re usually one step ahead of the guy. That’s kind of where that line came from.
Why do you feel Alex didn’t murder Theresa [Jazlyn Yoder] after he kidnapped her? Did Theresa tell Alex she was pregnant with his child? Since that was not shown on screen, it seems open to the viewer’s interpretation.
I just don’t think that’s who he is. Obviously, he is a murderer because he killed someone. But that seemed more like a crime of passion. I think that the reason that he killed Mike Miller’s character (Keith) is because he was so thrown by what he heard, that he acted out in that way. All the hatred was directed towards him. I think that that’s something that we do in normal life. When something happens, I think we focus on one person and take it out on them. And I think once Alex had done that, he really regretted it. That’s why nothing happened and Alex didn’t actually kill or seriously harm his girlfriend.
When Alex has that moment after he killed Keith and says, ‘I’m going to turn myself in!’ Was that just to fool Shawn into helping him with the body? Or was he really considering turning himself in?
I think in Alex’s head, he always knew that suicide was probably going to be the end game. That he had explored the idea before. It wasn’t just the relationship. It was where he was in his life, not being able to get a job, feeling like a failure. The only thing that really was keeping him going on was his girlfriend and the idea of having a child. Getting to start a new life and create something else. When those pieces started falling away, that’s when Alex made the choice. So, I don’t think that he was manipulating his friends.
That section with Alex’s mom, was she supposed to have Alzheimers? It seemed that way when she asked Alex the same question about his girlfriend twice.
Yeah, I think so. We talked about the fact that she was teetering on the edge of some kind of memory loss and some kind of disassociation.
Chris [Pinero] told me he knew you were right for the role the moment he saw your audition. How did you prepare for the audition? Anything different than usual?
You know, interestingly this was one of the first auditions that I properly trusted myself with. Really because I thought I had no chance, the character was written a lot older than I’ve ever played. I was like I don’t know if they’re even going to take me seriously. I remember reading it and just thinking well if I was given the role, this is what I would do that. I played it exactly on my instincts that I got from reading the character descriptions and the actual script itself. And I I very much played that, as opposed to going into a room and trying to give someone what they wanted.
When it comes to number of takes, do you believe in reshooting a scene until you get it right? Stanley Kubrick The Shining style. Or do you prefer the pressure of knowing you only have a certain amount of takes and that’s it?
It’s interesting and it’s something that I’ve actually been working on recently. I do a show called Shadowhunters and on that you’re doing a lot more takes. I would say on average on Shadowhunters, you’re doing about 30 takes because of the different setups. So you do about five or six takes per setup and you have about four setups. On A Dark Place, we were doing one or two takes per setup so it was very, very different.
What’s interesting about it though, was when you go from something like doing an indie film to doing a big production, a Disney show, where you get more takes… Is that when I first started doing that show, I would get all my good takes out in the first couple of shots. And then I get to two and a half hours, three hours later where we’re still doing the same thing and I have to keep doing it… Keeping up that momentum was really really difficult for me.
It’s something I have to get good at and find different triggers to keep on going. Find new places to explore. So, I don’t know if there is one that is better. Maybe, an option C. Where I get a little bit more time but I’m not doing a ton of takes. (laughs)
What was it like shooting that scene in A Dark Place with the hammer?
It was intense and I really dug up some real stuff that I’ve been through. Which was interesting because I never really get a chance to do that normally. A lot of the stuff I’ve done has been very imagination based.
When you use sense memory to emotionally recall traumatizing experiences, does it become weaker over time? Or is the impact always the same for you?
Yeah, for me it does. I lean more towards imagination based acting when I do it because I find that never gets stale. For me, I think acting sometimes is like therapy and when you use those memories you heal them a little bit. This film was definitely that for me. This is the kind of relationship stuff that I healed by doing this film. I just don’t think that they have the same triggers that they used to, that they would have now.
Were you disappointed your character got killed because you can’t really be in a sequel?
(laughs) I think that from a personal perspective sure! But Alex needed to go through that. So no.
What did it mean to you to get nominated for Best TV Villain at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards?
You know it’s interesting, It’s so lovely to think that so many fans of Shadowhunters spent the time to go online and tweet, and vote like they did. I find that really, really endearing, flattering and lovely! But at the same time, it’s like you know, awards are very weird. I don’t think that just because I got the nomination, I was necessarily one of the best villains on TV last year. It just happened to be, that I was lucky enough to be on a show that had a very passionate fanbase. I’m really grateful for that!
Thank you Luke!
A Dark Place was named Best Thriller at the Manhattan Film Festival (2018), won Best Editing and Best Supporting Actor at the Hoboken International Film Festival (2018) and was the recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Accolade Global Film Competition (2018).
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
La Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México (OSN) will be performing two nights of Stanley Kubrick film music titled ‘Kubrick Sinfónico Reloaded’ or Kubrick Symphonic Reloaded at Palacio de Bellas Artes.
The National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico (La Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México) will be playing a full range of iconic pieces from Stanley Kubrick’s films on Friday, March 6 (8 pm) and Sunday, March 8 (12:15 pm) in Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes).
According to INBAL (Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature), eleven compositions will be featured total from Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. * “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 and 4” are counted as one piece for the above INBAL link’s number of 10. José Luis Castillo will be conducting/guest directed the show with Juan Arturo Brennan narrating the event with the history of each piece. The presentation will be part of OSN’s ‘Programa 5’, or fifth program of the season.
The Full Program:
A Clockwork Orange – Beethoven/Wendy Carlos (version for film) – “Suicide Scherzo (Ninth Symphony, Second Movement, Abridged)”
A Clockwork Orange – Edward Elgar – “Pomp And Circumstance March No. 1”
A Clockwork Orange – Edward Elgar – “Pomp And Circumstance March No. 4”
A Clockwork Orange – Henry Purcell/Wendy Carlos (version for film) – “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary”
Barry Lyndon – Franz Schubert – “German Dance No. 1 in C major”
Barry Lyndon – Franz Schubert – “Piano Trio in E-Flat, Film Adaptation of the Opus 100 2nd Movement”
Barry Lyndon – Frederick The Great – Hohenfriedberger March *
José Luis Castillo es uno de los directores y compositores más destacados y activos en el panorama musical actual. Es considerado como uno de los especialistas en el repertorio moderno y contemporáneo.#KubrickSinfónicoReloaded
Viernes 6 y domingo 8 de marzo, 2020@PalacioOficial pic.twitter.com/XlOxqPlShR
— OSN México (@OSN_MX) March 5, 2020
Kubrick Sinfónico Reloaded: Ticket Availability
Tickets for the event appear sold out on Ticketmaster for Sunday’s event and no longer available online for tonight’s performance. If you’re a local resident, your best bet might be to go to the venue’s box office.
Juan Arturo Brennan, guionista, productor, realizador y conductor de programas culturales de radio y televisión. Crítico de música y colaborador de otras publicaciones, periodista y traductor. #KubrickSinfónicoReloaded
Viernes 6 y domingo 8 de marzo, 2020@PalacioOficial pic.twitter.com/KKQEYRAzQG
— OSN México (@OSN_MX) March 5, 2020
More Stanley Kubrick Coverage at The Natural Aristocrat
Be sure to watch The Natural Aristocrat’s exclusive one-on-one interview with Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Katharina Kubrick and view a walking video tour of the ‘Envisioning 2001″ exhibit at NYC’s Museum of the Moving Image.
Footage of the entire ‘Envisioning 2001′ press presentation featuring a Q & A session with Katharina Kubrick is also available!
The Natural Aristocrat examined the greatness of Barry Lyndon’s use of Handel’s ‘Sarabande’ duel music and how it layered the film. Read more Kubrick articles on The Natural Aristocrat’s Stanley Kubrick category section.