Director Ariel Vromen on ‘Criminal’ and His Narco Submarine Movie ‘Blanco’

     April 15, 2016

With director Ariel Vromen’s Criminal now in theaters, last week I sat down with him for an exclusive video interview. He talked about landing such a high profile cast, if the script changed to fit the cast’s unique sensibilities, the film’s first cut compared to the finished film, test screenings, his possible next project Blanco which is about narco submarines, other projects, and a lot more.


Image via Lionsgate

If you’re not familiar with the film, Criminal features every big actor in Hollywood (okay, slight exaggeration but it does feature Kevin CostnerTommy Lee JonesGal GadotAlice EveMichael Pitt, and Ryan Reynolds) and it’s about a CIA agent whose memories are inserted into the brain of a dangerous convict. After waking up from the surgery, the convict (Costner) tries to continue the mission while balancing his new identity.

Ariel Vromen:

  • 0:13 — What it’s like having an A-list cast join his movie.
  • 1:36 — On assembling the cast, beginning with Kevin Costner.
  • 4:09 — Did a lot about the script change to fit the cast’s unique sensibilities?
  • 5:34 — How long was the film’s first cut compared to the finished film?
  • 6:53 — What did he learn, if anything, from test screenings that impacted the finished film?
  • 8:58 — Does he typically rely on the storyboards to prep filming?
  • 10:20 — Vromen teases one of his next projects, the narcotics film Blanco.
  • 11:14 — Vromen on “a couple of big surprises” in Blanco.
  • 11:44 — How he’s financing the film, and whether real-world events impact the film’s development.
  • 12:49 — On what else he’s trying to work on for the future.

Here’s the official synopsis and poster:

The story of the right man in the wrong body. In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into an unpredictable and dangerous death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.



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