Friday, 3 January 2014

Interview with BB Director CJ Wallis - Part One

Soooo....filming on new indie horror flick BB is less than a week away.  Written/directed/pretty much everything other than acted by the insanely talented CJ Wallis, and with camgirl/inspiration for the film, Jennifer Mae in her acting debut, this for some would be an incredibly risky project.  With CJ though, he has spent years mastering his craft, perfecting his skills.  All it takes is one look at his digital portfolio to realise that this is one talented fucking dude.  You name it, writer, director, cinematographer, editor, marketing, website design....he's done it all.  And he's fucking good at it all as well!!

So fucking talented in fact, that he managed to surprise and garner praise from one of Hollywood's most well respected directors, the award winning, and three time Oscar nominated writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, the man that brought us films such as Magnolia, Boogie Nights and There Will be Blood.  And whilst I say writer/director, there is a reason you can see CJ why admires Anderson so much (and is behind Cigarettes and Red Vines - The Definitive Paul Thomas Anderson Resource), he has that same passion towards creating, building and then perfecting his craft.  

And whilst so many filmmakers will never be as adept at what they do as the people they look up too, I truly do believe that CJ deviates from this rule with his exceptional talent.  He has shown time and time again that he can work on a fraction of the budget that some filmmakers do, and prove his worth that it's not about how much money your invest in a film, it's how much talent you are willing to invest.  When talent comes in a package like this as well, you find yourself deliberating, "why the hell does everyone not know who this guy is already!?!"

"Found 8 great minutes to sit and watch your film.  I'm still not quite sure how the hell that was done.  It's wonderful and a better than that, it's an amazing short film which is to my mind an impossible format to do.  Great job.  Thanks for sharing it.  I'll watch it again to try to see how you did it."  Paul Thomas Anderson

So yes, without further adu....let's here from the main man himself, Mr CJ Wallis!! :)

The concept of BB came about quite by accident. I totally dig your thinking.  For those out there who perhaps aren't as morbidly minded as ourselves, how did this idea come about?  Your lead actress Jennifer Mae said you kind of creeped yourself out a bit!!  ;) 

I had met Jenn by accident through one of the documentaries I uploaded to YouTube and I sent her a text one day as if i was some passionate fan offering to move her to my country to be my wife and punctuated every broken misspelled sentence by calling her BB, which she hates. I sent it to her and then when I looked at the text message as it was sending, a bunch of things all sort of dawned on me about her world and how disturbing and vulnerable and accessible it all is and 90 pages were written very quickly.

As someone who has been in the industry for rather a long time now, you've built up a network of amazing people who consistently want to work with you.  One of those individuals is Paula Lindberg whom you've known for about 9 years.  How did you first meet Paula, and what can we expect to see from the lovely lady herself in BB?

I met and cast Paula back in 2005 for a 48 hour fast film competition I was co-directing with my friend Jeff Zablotny and just always kept finding excuses to cast her. Even when I asked her to come out for Mary and cover her entire face with plaster-shit and be completely unrecognizable on screen, she is steals every scene she's in and that's such a credit to how gifted she is. I think I'm most proud of putting her into a hip-hop video I directed last year for Curren$y'. She has a classic movie star look that I could find ways to make fresh and find new uses for a thousand times over.


With BB, Paula plays a character called Candice Camera/"The Madam", who is conducting an interview/interrogation on Leah for a job with her web-cam company. It is a massive showdown scene with veteran actor and a first time actor to start the film. It is one of the scenes I am most looking forward to shoot. 

One of the biggest challenges when releasing an independent feature, is getting the marketing right. Have you got any plans in particular up your sleeve for this feature?  

Always but because I can't do most of them for a month or so, I can't really say much about them. The internet is too fast and the ideas will be old news before I ever get to them. That happened with a documentary I was shooting for over 4 years. I posted the title and synopsis early on and was posting clips and building anticipation over the course of filming and other person decided to take the title and make a quickie version of what he assumed our movie was about and put it out which was frustrating. My house was robbed and all the hard drives were stolen shortly after so the footage was ultimately lost anyways. 

(Pictured above - CJ doing a shoot with Curren$y at Street Custom Motors in New Orleans where he's now based.)

Music a bit of a hip hop video god, have you got anyone totally rad supporting this feature in the music department?? :) 

(Pictured above - CJ shooting Curren$y in action.)

Yeah there is no end of quality hip-hop music to steal from the people I've been working with the last two year. The issue is going to be that there are only so many spots for placement so I've sort of gathered a massive collection of things and whatever makes sense, goes in. I have been doing all the video, branding & design work for Curren$y's record label and artists in New Orleans, so I'll be trying to feature some of that if it fits. I really liked MaryGold's first album, she's one of the artists here. I used her song at the end of that promo trailer we did and it's so different and adds so much I have no doubt some of that will find it's way into the finished film.

You're taking on the incredibly admirable task of pretty much doing this movie by yourself, filling in all the shoes, so to speak.  I know that this is something you've been doing for years, but just gotta say, I got a lot of respect for you.  I think you're a bit mental...but in the best way possible!!  Although if you end up in a mental asylum, I'm pretty sure I'd manage to get in pretty easily to keep you company.  Not sure about the getting out part though.  Haha.  Anyhoo, with less than a week until shooting starts in L.A., what is the one thing you are most excited about, and also, is there anything you're totally scared shitless about as well?   

I think the thing I'm most excited about is seeing the performance I know that Jenn is going to give. Her comfort level in front of the camera and confidence that comes with what she does as well as being a first time actor is a gumbo that can only yield something unique and never before seen.  The one and only thing I am anxious about I cannot mention because if I say it before we shoot then the chance of it happening will go from 5% to about 95% and I like how my odds are looking at the moment as they are with the people and things we have and have not announced. 

To keep up to date with everything BB, then just use the #BBMovie on your various social networking sites.  Facebook stalkers, please make sure to drop a like at the Official Facebook Page, and Twitter nerds, just look for @bb_movie.  You can also find him on Vimeo as well as by looking for @fortyfps on all the various social stalking sites too.

Keep tuning in for more updates and a follow up to this interview in the very near future.  Until then...stay safe.  You never know who's watching you! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

The comments section is there to discuss and converse. Constructive criticism is always good, bad mouthing people and being a douche is not! So don't be a douche, mmmm'kay!