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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Interview with Director Max Gold...director of "Beast"

Recently, I interviewed Max Gold, a director from Venice, California who is an avid reader that surfs every day. 

Max has directed music videos as well, hip-hop being his favorite.  He mentored under Nicholas Jarecki on his Golden Globe-nominated film "Arbitrage" starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon. I have to admit I was a little jealous that Max met Richard Gere (a favorite actor of mine.)

We discussed Max’s upcoming feature film “BEAST," a darker take on the the classic fairy tale "Beauty and The Beast.”  BEAST is being filmed in Iceland —  known as the land of fire and ice and home to the first Viking explorers of North America. 

When I watched the teaser to the movie, I was immediately in awe of the landscape and the beauty. I also thought of the hit show "Game of Thrones." The music is mesmerizing and there is one single bright, red rose which caught my attention. I'm looking forward to watching the movie and seeing what this dark tale of a beloved fairy tale that Disney puts a spin on with talking candlesticks and upbeat songs. This is definitely an adult version of that  fairytale which I believe will keep you entertained from beginning to the end. Berta Andrea, who plays Beyla, describes her character: "She's a hero. She never gives up, and she always fighting." She is not in a beautiful castle but out in the land of ice and fire where she has to survive more than just the environment. She's fleeing a brutal past and contending with inner demons. Also starring, Ingi Hrafn as Beast and Hafpor Julius Bjornsson better known as the Mountain from "Game of Thrones"-- as the menacing Viking antagonist. 

Here's my chat with Max....

Maria- Is this your first feature film?

Max- Yes, I have been traveling back and forth to Iceland for the past two years developing BEAST. The entire film is grounded in Icelandic folklore, the texture of its world is the Icelandic landscape... and the only way I can go deeper into that is to experience it for myself.

Maria-When I watched the teaser, I thought I bet there are some special effects in this. Are there any special effects?

Max- There are absolutely no special effects. We don't need them. Would you build a theme park in the Grand Canyon? The land has great power, and the protagonist, Beyla, is uniquely connected to it. The name “Beyla” actually translates to “fertilizer” or “rich soil” and there is meant to be some irony here because the character is classically named “Beauty.” But there is nothing more beautiful than the life-giving earth. Iceland has reverence and respect for their stunning land and to showcase it without any interference is my privilege as a film maker.

Maria- Is it completed?

Max- Our team shot the proof of concept for three weeks in January and are using it to raise the proper budget for the full feature.

Maria- Did you write the film?

Max- I did write the film, but I have developed the characters with the lead actors so in many ways we all wrote the film.

Maria- What software did you use?

Max- Ummm, this very advanced screenwriting software. It is the height of technology and no one but me has access to it. My right hand. Oh and a mead, college-ruled notebook. And a pen (not a pencil). What I like about the notebook is, you can pour yourself into it. I can feel the pages. And when I finish a notebook or a pen, I feel like I conquered something. It’s silly but writing is so cerebral and those tiny tactile rewards mean everything to me.

Maria- How long did it take you to write?

Max- I will always be writing this film, even through production and post-production. But I wrote the first draft in about 3 months. Then after meeting Berta Andrea and Ingi Hrafn I trashed the first draft and re-wrote a brand new one over the course of another 3 months.

Maria- Did actors contribute to the movie?

Max- The actors contributed so much to the film creatively, but they also connected me more deeply to the culture of Iceland. They didn’t have to. But the coolest thing about the collaborative process of film making (let alone in Iceland!) is that you have the opportunity to learn so much about a totally different place. Ingi especially, connected me to so many people and places and I am so grateful.

Maria- What do you want people to feel or get from the movie "Beast"?

Max- I don't feel comfortable telling what people how to think or feel. But a good fairytale can be an informal, model that points to the process of transformation of the psyche. The potential for human growth. Our film in particular is about the human capacity for grace in the face of ruthless survival.

Maria- Do you plan to make more movies?

Max- Until the day I die. Actually, even after that. I just haven’t figured out how that will work yet. 

Maria- Do you have anything that drives or motivates you?

Max- This film in particular would have died a long time ago were the core team not made of such a dedicated, talented and close-knit group of collaborators. Spending time with each of them and witnessing their talent is like pouring gas on the flames. More significant is that they have all become great friends. I push forward for them. 

Maria- Any director or writer that you would like to work with?

Max- Right now I deeply admire the work and careers of Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola. They are both highly visual directors, but give priority to highly imaginative visions while maintaining an amazing sense of humor.

One final thing I'll share that Max mentioned is that falling in love is one of the scariest things he's ever done. I ask why, and he said "because it's makes you vulnerable which is opening yourself up to the unknown, but you're compelled to do it." He mentioned that was the foundation for the horror in “BEAST."

Below are Max's social links to his website and Twitter and Facebook.

Website to Blind Hummingbird Productions- http://www.blindhummingbird.com/

Twitter for Max Gold- https://twitter.com/blindhummingbrd

The trailer- http://www.blindhummingbird.com/featurefilm

About Maria Rochelle

Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →


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