With his debut feature hitting cinemas on a limited release this Friday (check out my review here), I managed to grab a few minutes of LOVE director William Eubank’s time for a short interview.
LOVE is such a unique little film, could you tell us about where the idea came from?
I always thought it would be interesting or crazy to get left on the International Space Station. I imagine there is protocol up there, for if something goes wrong on earth but I had so many crazy questions. Do you try to come back down, are there people to bring you back? I like movies with big questions and bigger ‘what ifs?’.
You’re credited with a few roles including production designer. How was the set design and building process on the film and where did you draw your influences from to make it look so believable?
I basically just looked at photography books that had detailed images of the space station. The actual inside of the the ISS is incredibly detailed, even more so than I was able to do, so it was always about trying to get as much junk in there as possible!
So much of the film relies on Gunner Wright’s performance as Lee Miller, what in your eyes made him perfect for the role?
Originally, when the project was supposed to be more music videos it wasn’t important if he could act or not, he just had a really solid 1960s astronaut look, however, as the piece evolved into a more narrative film Gunner evolved as well and in the end really delivered. I think the sets and the filming conditions helped, but he really got into that head-space well.
You’ve made a film with the feeling of a massive story told on an intimate scale, which I believe should be applauded. However, in the last few years it seems that other low-budget filmmakers have, in a way, limited their imagination and tried to tell stories with a bit less ambition to fit their budgetary constraints. What would you say to any storyteller that tries to curve their storytelling for a budget?
There were plenty of times I wrote ideas of mine off, because of budget, but what I have found is it is more just a puzzle to be figured out. Filmaking is about translating ideas into images into stories, so sometimes you have to think and rethink on and idea on how to express it a different way. For example, the battle scenes. I didn’t have the money to do full scale battles so how could I get the same big feeling? In the end the answer was in old civil war paintings. They always have an epic feeling but they are just a 2d image, no movement at all, so in this case the answer to the puzzle was to shoot in slow-mo, building big moments in tiny bits of time.
The film is ‘presented’ by the band Angels and Airwaves. How and when did they become involved with the project and what do you think their music brings to the film?
Angels found me and got me going on the project. Originally it was supposed to be a set of music videos and I more or less high-jacked it and turned it into a film. They gave me a ton of creative freedom. In the end I think they did a lot of creative freedoms themselves (i.e. bagpipes at the start of the film). I think in a way this project gave us all a lot of leeway to do new stuff for ourselves.
It seems that for the near future you’re returning to your day job as a DoP, when can we expect you back in the director’s chair and do you have any ideas you’re developing at the moment?
I directed 2nd unit this year on Broken City for Allen Hughes. I did most of the establishing shots and had car chase sequence with Mark Walberg, it should come out next year and I’m very excited about it!
In the meantime I’ve been writing with my brother Carlyle Eubank, and we have a project that we are in pre production right now with Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Insidious, Paranormal Activity) which I’m aslso very very excited about!