Mark Anthony Galluzzo
Mark Anthony Galluzzo went to the New York University Film School where he won mucho awards as a writer/director and cinematographer. The fun and murderous "RSVP" is his second feature film (TRASH being the first). Think a mix of "Rope" and "American Psycho" with some Jason Mewes (Jay baby, Jay...) tossed in there for good measure. Arrow had the chance to go a few rounds with Mark and here's what he stabbed back at me.
Arrow: What's your favorite thriller or horror film?
MAG: My favorite thriller is Fritz Lang's 'M' which I'd love to remake, but I think someone in H'wood already snapped up the rights. Damn!
Arrow: Hitchcock's ROPE was clearly an inspiration for your film. Did you ever think about having RSVP be communicated through one long continuous take, like in ROPE?
MAG: Not really. Hitchcock himself said it was a mistake and a gimmick. Although we did make a nod to the master at minute 16 with a 4 minute continuous tracking shot that weaves in and out of five rooms and
MAG: Again not really. I wanted to have a more tongue and cheek tone to the character and film. When we played with the Nick character in pre-production, we really found a man who was screaming out for attention. To be recognized as the best at something. As macabre as that something might be. It was more about the fame vs. infamy debate than the social Darwinism. As for the tone I got more inspiration from Frank Capra's 'Arsenic and Old Lace' with it's Zany energy, one set location and batty old aunties.
RSVP had a particularly strong cast. How strenuous was the
for the film?
MAG: Very. We saw soooo many people. And with a cast that big the scheduling can become a nightmare. Luckily, four of the actors I worked with on my previous film "Trash": Grace Zabriskie, Jonathan Banks, Daniel Joseph, Tommy Hoe. In the end, my first casting director wasn't cutting it. So I had to bring in Lari Ann Lang to finish the job.
What was your reasoning behind having most of the kills be off-screen?
MAG: Ha! I just did an interview this morning that asked why the film had to be so gory! I'm in your camp though. I consciously tried to hide the after effects of the killings and actual execution of them to make it more old school. Also, when you don't show the real thing you leave it up to each audience member to picture in his or her mind what it looks like when a duck-billed brass cane smashes through a woman's wafer thin temple. What will happen is that each person will picture what is most horrifying for them personally and thus the effect can sometimes be even more powerful. It's like dragging a guy behind a door and leaving the audience outside of it as he is tortured. All the audience gets is the sound and shadow from the crack underneath. The effect is chilling.
Whose idea was it to have Jason Mewes come in RSVP to basically
play Jay from the Kevin Smith films?
MAG: I actually wrote the role for Troy Garity who lives down the street from me in Venice. At a read-thru, Troy took the Terry character in that direction (although with his uniquely Troy take on it). Then Troy kind of blew up, booked a bunch of studio projects and couldn't get the time to join us in Vegas so we went to Jay. Also, the role was always supposed to be the one guy who is invited to every party in town because he brings the weed. He knows everyone and everyone knows him. Finally, it was the character point that Terry has taken so many drugs that you can't poison him. He's like Keith Richards. He'd snort Anthrax if he could get his hands on it.
Arrow: Being that both Jason Mewes and the late Glenn Quinn are known to have had substance abuse problems. How smooth was the shoot in that regard?
MAG: It was tough. I wasn't aware of Quinn's problems and they sort of became an issue toward the end of the shoot. And with Jay, I always thought of him as just your average stoner, but then we found out about the hard stuff and it made life difficult. It was pretty devastating when Quinn died since he had just done 11 months of rehab. He called me the week before he died to apologize for his behavior on set. It is usually the last step to recovery. He was upbeat and excited about getting his career going again. He spent a Thanksgiving with his family, but then went out with his old friends for a night. It's a tragedy. He was a tremendous talent and a good guy at heart. I really hope Jay gets clean and stays clean. The hard drugs are no laughing matter.
What made you decide to build a Mansion set for the film as
opposed to just renting out and shooting in a real Mansion?
MAG: Arrrgh! We were supposed to shoot in a high roller suite in Vegas, but then a high roller came in and we were shown the door 3 weeks before shooting. Thankfully I had a set that I had I designed so we started building quickly. In the end though, the set was much better for the visuals and the story. Albeit it shot our budget all to hell.
Arrow: What's next on your plate as a writer or director?
MAG: Glad you asked. I'm so excited about my next film that I can't sleep. I joke to my friends that I'm on a Mission from God. It's called "Human Resources". It's a black comedy about a chronically laid off temp worker, Delmar James Lewis, who snaps and forcefully takes over the administration building of a global temp agency on the same day that a group of High School students are visiting for Career Day. What plays out is a hilarious mix between "Falling Down" and "The Breakfast Club" as the kids and gunman explore the Death of the American Dream and the selling out of the Next Generation's future for short term profit.
Arrow: I know there was talk of an RSVP sequel before Quinn's passing. Is that still a possibility now?
MAG: No. After all the tragedies, I'm just not up for it. Jay needs to focus on getting well and I don't think the 'stoner' character is good for him if he is to move on. The other survivor, Brandi Andres, gave up acting and is singing now, so alas there will be no sequel. Who knows though, maybe we'll do the whole new cast thing and keep the franchise going.
I'd like to thank Mark for his time and for the kool watch that was RSVP. Kick ass with your future films, dude! If RSVP is any indication of the man's talent, he's definitely one to keep tabs on.