Interview By Becky Day
Right at Your Door tells the story of one man's moral dilemma when the US is under attack from a 'dirty bomb'. Close-Up Film writer Becky Day chats to director Chris Gorak, and lead actor, Rory Cochrane.
Warning: Plot Spoilers.
Chris, how into Conspiracy theories are you?
Chris: “Good question, I like to read about them and I think some of them are true but I’m not obsessed by conspiracy theories. I like to find out the truth.”
Was there a particular event that happened in the newspaper that made you want to do this as your first feature?
Chris: “I think I wrote it at the end of 2003. I think our administration changing the kind of concept of the skirmish land and taking us into another war, another place, and losing focus on what happened in 9/11 was pretty much the inspiration there.”
Rory, was there a particular aspect of the character of Brad that drew you to the script?
Rory: “Well hopefully not. The guy's kind of a… well I don’t think he’s an out and out prick, but he doesn’t let his wife into the house. Most people, if you ask them, they would say sure. I think what drew me to him was the difficulty of trying to play that character, make him sort of sympathetic.”
But you would have let your wife in?
Rory: “I would have, yeah, but I’m not married.” (Laughs)
Chris, do you think the film would have benefited at all if it had been a short instead of a feature? Was there a particular reason you wanted to make this a feature?
Chris: “Well, it was actually spawned by the idea of a short film that I had and I had written this scene of her coming home as the concept. I thought that it could be a full length feature and obviously it is. So I wrote the entire script, you know, I wanted to be a writer, director of feature length films and I felt this story was compelling enough to be told in that format.”
The film is quite intimately shot. How involved were you in the camerawork, how big was your crew?
Chris: “We had a pretty tight crew and it was a small confined space. We really wanted to tell the story through the characters' perspective so the crew was trapped inside with Brad shooting out at Lexi and then Vice Versa. I think that really helped the level of frustration between the characters and the intensity because there was actually this physical barrier between them.”
Obviously there were the effects of LA after it’s been bombed. How was that created?
Chris: “The visual effects and the special effects were again done by a very small crew. Our visual effects supervisor obtained a documentary: stock footage of Kuwait oil fires, and we flipped them and then superimposed them on our plate shots. We worked them into the landscape throughout the film so that it became just part of the reality and not some big glory shot of visual effects.”
Where was the interior shot?
Chris: “The interior was on location we shot a location house in this area of Los Angeles called Echo Park which is one of two or three hills there that overlook downtown, kind of east Hollywood.”
It felt like a documentary when watching, was that the idea?
Chris: “Yeah, I think the idea was to have this kind of gritty, tense, high contrast feel. The story I wanted to throw in the lap of the audience, to leave them questioning themselves: ‘What would you do?’ I think that kind of realness was going to get us there.”
Rory, what scene did you find the most difficult to shoot?
Rory: “I think the scene that was most difficult to shoot was the scene where she comes home and I don’t let her in. I remember we shot the first week and that was scheduled in the last day of the first week. And I had had an emotionally exhausting week. I think it was Mary’s first day as well so it was just sort of… we tried to do it, but I just couldn’t do it. That was probably the most difficult.”
Do you think there is anything that the government should be doing to prevent terrorism?
Chris: “I think that from what I can gather there is still plenty to do. Five years the United States was responsible for terrorism, it’s been around for a long time. I think that there’s a lot to do and there’s a lot of challenges. There’s not one easy solution because it does encroach on civil liberties and things like that and having surveillance and spy cameras and all that kind of stuff also raises other question. I think it starts with the leadership and I think we have a situation right now in the states were we don’t quite trust our leaders. To call them leaders would be a compliment”
Rory: “I also don’t think that the movie, is stressing anything specifically about terrorism. I think it’s more a story about human beings and what they are left to deal with after an unfortunate incident like that. I mean there has been terrorism for hundreds and hundreds of years. People have the idea that it’s this new thing but it’s been going on for a very long time and I think that this movie is just showing the lack of preparation that governments have in response to unfortunate instances that could actually happen whether they be natural or intentional.”
What was it that made Rory "Brad" for you?
Chris: “I was looking for actors that had a real quality to them, where there wasn’t this kind of leading Hollywood persona. Actors able to embody different characters and Rory, and Mary as well can do that. Rory’s played so many different characters throughout his career; it was a natural fit.
Would you work together again?
Rory: “I’d like to”
Have you got another project lined up?
Chris: “I’m writing another script right now and reading other scripts.”
What topics are you leaning towards?
Chris: “I think right now there is such an intense reality, I’m looking for an alternate reality.”
Rory: “I’m working on project right now, that’s why my heads shaved. It’s about the CIA and the KGB and it starts out in the 1950’s and goes to the early 90’s.”
The Company is due for release in 2007.