Our Storyhive funded short film I Phub You is officially complete and sent in to Telus. We are less than a week away from the February 6th release, so we are going to be posting a series of interviews with the people that made this film happen (cast, crew, etc!) so you can get to know us a little better. We are going to be asking about their process and their take on the film.
Today we have the Antagonists of the film joining us for an exclusive three-person interview. Joining us we have Russell Eresmas who plays Tyler, Sabrina Anderson who plays The Little Girl, and Darrell Portz who plays The White Knight.
When you first read the script what were your initial thoughts?
Russell: It was very funny and like nothing I had ever been involved with before. I remember reading the script and thinking “I’ve got absolutely no lines…It’s perfect!” Silent films are so rare nowadays, and it was great to be able to see I Phub You being made and be able to take part in it.
Sabrina: It looked funny, as in Ha Ha! And the little girl role looked cool and fun to play. I liked that I didn’t have words to say but could ‘act’ through a phone!
Darrell: When I read the script for the very first time, I was intrigued by the project. I was excited to do a film that was all about the visuals. With it virtually void of dialogue, and meant to represent the old style silent films of the 30’s, I was pumped for an opportunity to perform in a different way than I am used to on stage or on film. As an actor, I always want to try and do something different and unique. This was definitely a project that was outside of anything I have previously done.
Silent film acting is much different than “talkie films” How did you prepare for acting in a silent film?
Russell: I would love to say that I stopped talking for a whole week, but I genuinely believe that’s an impossible task for me to accomplish. I LOVE to talk, almost as much as I love eating, breathing, and Anna Kendrick. I really just tried to approach it like I would any other role. Only difference being I had to keep my mouth shut with super glue and do way more eyebrow exercises than usual.
Sabrina: My mom showed me a clip of a Charlie Chaplin movie, as well as a clip Justin had shared called ‘Battleship Potemkin’. It was interesting to see a movie in black and white like in the olden days.
Darrell: My character has no dialogue. All of my intention has to be portrayed through body language and facial expressions. With it being a comedy and reminiscent of the early silent films, I knew that many of the actions would need to be “over the top”. I have never had any experience with clowning, and so that aspect of the performance would be new to me. I watched a number of early films, and especially Charlie Chaplin’s work and tried to incorporate his style of movement into how I thought my character would react and move in certain situations.
All three of your characters are obsessed with technology in one-way or another. What did you think about in terms of your character’s obsession with technology? Do you relate to your character at all?
Russell: I’ve always been a proponent of putting down your phone when you’re in public or with friends and family and really trying to live in the moment. Having said that, I’m also a huge tech nerd. I follow all the latest news on technology and gadgets, so it’s a bit of a toss up for me. I’ve definitely been guilty of being on my phone a lot, but I do try as much as possible to stay away from my screen when I can.
Sabrina: I kinda relate to the little girl, I don’t have a cell phone, and definitely not a flip phone! Those are soooo last century! I do have an IPad Mini and sometimes lose myself in watching YouTube or playing games.
Darrell: I have this mild obsession that when I leave my house, that I may have forgotten to close the garage door. As I drive away, I will ask myself if I actually did close it, even though, I watched it close only seconds ago. This is my compulsive anxiety. For this character, I tried to imagine a more severe version of that anxiety related to my phone and what I would miss if I did not have my phone or was not actually looking at it. Was something going on in the world that I need to know about? Are people liking my videos or social media posts? Oh wait, maybe that is not too far off from what I am really like!
Sabrina, you are the youngest actor in the film. How was it being on set with all of us “old people”?
Sabrina: It was fun! I taught Skyla and Darrell how to play Game Pigeon games. I beat them at Battleships and Connect 4. I love working with ‘old people’ as I learn lots of acting stuff.
Growing up in this advanced age, do you have any activities that you like that don’t rely on technology?
Sabrina: I like to do Track and Field, and Swimming. I like lots of sports stuff.
I also like to play with my friends. We build snow forts and have snowball fights. I like to read books, my favourite series is Harry Potter. I also research crazy facts for my YouTube series ‘Did You Know’!!
Darrell, you were the oldest person on set (even though you don’t look it!). You’ve got to see technology change better than most of us. How has it changed and what are your views on it?
Darrell: I was the oldest person on set. I have watched technology advance through my life. I remember as a child having a black and white TV with only 3 channels and no remote. I had a “Pong” video game. I was in grade 11 when my school first started offering computer classes. I was in the military when the first “brick” cell phones came out. Before that it was pay phones. I grew up in a time when if you were not home, you could not be contacted. You had to listen to the taped answering machine message when you got home. I remember serving in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq / Kuwait war that I had no means of communication back to family and friends other than sending letters. WOW, I am old! I think I was about 30 years old before I got my first cell phone. To see that advancement in technology from that first phone to what I have 20 years later, is astonishing. Who knows what mobile devises will be able to help us do another 20 years from now.
Do you relate to your character at all?
Darrell: Yes, I hate to say it, but I am obsessed with technology. I love gadgets and phones and electronics. I love the ability to have technology at my fingertips at all times. I am one of those guys that feels naked when I don’t have my phone with me. I love knowing that I have information at my grasp at any time. I love the internet. That said, I do prefer to have human contact. I would prefer to use my phone to call someone rather than text them. Even better would be to call them to meet for a coffee!
Do you have any memorable stories from being on set?
Sabrina: I liked watching Skylar being sassy in her scene.When we filmed at the Edmonton Legislative on Day 2, I really liked playing Pokemon Go with AJ and Russell. AJ found a squirtle nest which was awesome. It was also really cold so we hung out in Darrell’s car. This was fun because it was warm, but also cause he had the biggest bag of trail mix I have ever seen! I ate loads of it!!
Russell: The last day of filming was tough for many reasons. First, I didn’t start my day off with my venti caramel, skim, extra shot, extra-hot, extra-whip, sugar-free macchiato so that was extremely difficult. Second was obviously the weather. It was a huge shift in temperature from the day before. It felt like Mr.Freeze from Batman was hugging me, and I’m talking about the Arnold Schwarzenegger Mr.Freeze where he makes all those funny puns, so you know it was cold. But despite the cold weather, everyone was in really high spirits and those are the kind of shoots where you really appreciate being surrounded by amazingly talented and hard working people.
Darrell: I shall never forget our final day of shooting. The weather turned cold and we are all dressed in our wardrobe from the earlier “warmer” shooting days. How fun was it to huddle together in a vehicle, then run to set, do a take and then run back to the vehicle to warm up again. The looks from people out for walks at the Legislative Assembly grounds, all bundled up, were priceless. Of course me running around dressed in foam armor likely would have earned a few head shakes, regardless of the weather conditions
What is your favorite silent film?
Sabrina: Does watching a scary movie with the sound off count?!?! If so Superman vs Batman was pretty intense and I turned the sound off!
Darrell: I am a fan of horror. A few years ago I directed the stage play Bram Stoker’s Dracula (by Steven Dietz), during pre-production I watched a few older films and absolutely loved the 1920’s silent film Nosferatu. It is an artfully disturbing vampire film that tells a brilliant story, all without dialogue.
Russell: Well some of the silent films I have watched are the ones where you forgot you muted the TV and you’ve been watching The Devil Wears Prada for 42 minutes with no sound. I haven’t watched a ton of actual silent films, but I do really enjoy anything with Buster Keaton, especially The General and Sherlock Jr. I would love to see silent films of that era make a reemergence into modern cinema, and I think I Phub You is a prime of example of how it can work in this day and age.