We've been following the little film that could BRYAN LOVES YOU for a while now on the site (read our review of it here), and in light of the film recently locking its domestic distribution (Anchor Bay baby), we decided to hunt down its director SETH LANDAU, gag and bind him and force him to yap BRYAN LOVES YOU "then and now" with us. Here's how it went down!
What was the trigger that prompted you to put fingers to keyboard and write the Bryan Loves You screenplay?
BLY is my second movie, and after my first, a comedy, I didn’t wanna make something funny … again. Or at least nothing funny the next time around. Plus, the story I had in me at the time, the one I felt most passionate about, happened to be a combination of my experiences growing up in Arizona and real cults covered by the media, of which I was a member for five years from ’95-2000. I can’t write something, let alone see it through the production, distribution, press and marketing, unless I feel extremely passionate about it. Like, I’ll make this movie or die trying kind of passion.
It’s said that the film is based on the true story of a cult that took over a small Arizona town in 1993. How much of that is accurate?
All of it. Much like every movie takes different pieces from different places, BLY is a combo of personal experience and scary real-life stuff. Due to certain concerned parties, we haven’t yet been able to make the actual town in Arizona part of our press materials. Also, we’re kind of under fire right now because of an incident that happened during our commentary track recording. It seems weird going-ons and adversity has been with us from the very beginning. I think it’ll be a long time before I tackle controversial subject matter like this; especially subject matter about real stuff.
How long did it take you to get the film off the ground i.e. secure your financing?
Not very long since we made the thing for very little money. It’s supposed to look like a million dollar indie, but really, truth be told, I’ve never had a million dollars to make a movie. However once our menial budget was secured, it was a “Go” and everything fell into place within I’d say about 6 months or so, from securing the first crew until Day 1 of the shoot; then the shoot was 3 weeks; then post was about 8 months and marketing and such was about a year, so like most indies it ended up being about a 3-year endeavor.
You wound up casting some fan favorites: Tony Todd, George Wendt, Tiffany Shepis, Brinke Stevens and Lloyd Kaufman. How arduous was it to get these fine peeps to commit to the project?
All of our stars has their own story as to how they met me and agreed to work on the show. Essentially it boils down to partially the Hollywood maxim of “it’s who ya know”. Through some degree of connection I was able to reach our stars, convince them to look at the script, and they liked it. For Tiffany in particular it was a chance to play a malicious hospital administrator/executive. For Tony it was a chance to play the kind of role that would preface the old-school horror movies he grew up watching. Also Lloyd plays a different kind of role: an intimidating, forceful orderly you’d see in “Terminator 2” or something. George liked the back and forth of his main scene, between his character, a schizophrenic mental patient, and the character played by me, the therapist who gets caught up in the end of the world feel of so-and-so town, Arizona.
On top of having written and directed the picture, you also have a lead role in it. Was that always the plan? What was the logic behind that move?
If I had all the money in the world, I would not have played this role. It’s very demanding and it relives a lot of childhood trauma. Not to mention that during the BLY shoot I was in the process of ending my relationship with my then long-term girlfriend. The logic was that I know I’m reliable, can get my lines down and show up on time (since I was on set every day anyway. Heh), and my rate was a SMOKIN deal! I charged the production 0 dollars to play the lead role. Oh wait, I AM the production (meaning the producer).
What was the toughest barrier you faced during production and how did you overcome it?
Toughest was some of the resistance we encountered indirectly from groups that did not want this story to be told. Sometimes they fucked with us by using the media to try and sabotage a shooting day; sometimes the assault was via phony MySpace and YouTube pages claiming to be either myself or the movie and presenting me or the movie in a really vile and inaccurate way. Personal and professional attacks I guess come with the territory when one is trying to get the truth out.
The film seems to have an odd aura around it in the sense that weird things have happened to you since you began work on it. Care to share some of them?
To expand on the above, which kinda answers this question, when you put an idea or a message into the public eye, you’re going to face logistical and emotional problems. I think anyone who is trying to make a movie come to fruition needs to believe in themselves and trust their inner circle of confidants and the combo of confidence and support will pull one through.
You recently locked domestic distribution (via Anchor Bay) – what kind of goodies can we expect on the DVD?
If the commentary track makes it to the DVD, it’s going to blow people away. I can’t reveal why since we’re still finalizing specs, but hopefully we can get more specific very soon. I will say this, though: the audio commentary is unlike anything anyone has ever heard before.
What’s next for ya? Any other flicks in the pipeline? Bryan Loves You Part 2 perhaps?
Hopefully once BLY is released in September, that’ll make distributors wanna check out my other movie, the comedy “Take Out” about a guy who eliminates fast food. And once both my initial features are on the market, it’ll be time to get into production once again. Two more installments of BLY are planned for the future. And the sequel is not really a sequel or like any other movie, it’s very different. Details soon.
What was the first drink you guzzled at the Bryan Loves You wrap party?
recall correctly, I think it was an Empire State Swizzle. There were so many,
though, so don’t hold me to that.
Are you a tit or an ass man?
This is by far the easiest question I’ve ever been asked about BLY. Both, of course! Picking one would be like asking, “Would you rather have air or water?” My answer to both of these questions, the air/water and tits/ass, would be, “I need both to live, so choosing one would be futile.”