It’s tough enough directing a first feature, but Oren Shai decided to go all out and make his first feature a pulpy Western set in the 1970s. The story goes down at a secluded motel/diner on a desert road. Jocelin Donahue plays Laine, a young woman on the run from the law who pulls up to the motel looking for a little refuge before continuing on her way. However, while laying low, she overhears that some of the other guests could have big money coming their way, money that could make all the difference to Laine given her current situation.
While in Austin for The Frontier‘s SXSW world premiere, Shai, Donahue, AJ Bowen and Izabella Miko all sat down to discuss their experience making the film. We ran through how Shai got the green light to make an especially ambitious first feature, the audition/offer process, delivering exposition through subtext, Donahue’s experience working on Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups with Antonio Banderas and more. Check it all out in the video interview below.
Jocelin Donahue, Oren Shai, AJ Bowen & Izabella Miko:
- 00:00 – Shai on developing the film; what came first, the story or the interest in working within this world?
- 00:56 – Shai on getting the green light for an especially ambitious first feature.
- 02:09 – Did the film stay consistent from the script to the final cut?
- 02:51 – Shai on the audition process; Bowen on thinking he was testing Shai out as a first time feature director, but then realizing the opposite was happening.
- 04:27 – Donahue on her audition; Miko on her first impression of the script and her Skype call with Shai.
- 05:50 – Shai on knowing he wanted to make a movie with Donahue after House of the Devil.
- 06:30 – Coming up with an old school actor for each character.
- 07:14 – Shai on Bowen’s character; he wasn’t entirely clear on who Officer Gault was while writing the script.
- 08:06 – The importance of compatibility of creative interest while making a movie.
- 09:27 – Deleted scenes; the first cut was over two hours.
- 10:05 – Figuring out how much exposition to the give audience; delivering information via subtext.
- 11:10 – Bowen on the excess of exposition nowadays.
- 12:26 – Shooting the bathroom fight scene; not using a stunt double.
- 13:27 – Donahue on working with Terrence Malick and Antonio Banderas on Knight of Cups.