Recently, I spoke to the director of Apartment 143, the film by director Carles Torrens.
Below is the result.
Where did you get the idea for Apartment 143?
Apartment 143, originally entitled Emergo, was written by Rodrigo Cortes long before I became involved with the project. Though I wasn’t particularly acquainted with the world of parapsychology, what drew me to the script was the opportunity to depict an unusual field of work with a questionable reputation from a truly rigorous, scientific angle. Whether or not you believe in the study of the supernatural, I wanted to make a film about scientists at work, gathering data, ruling out options, and forming hypothesis with the same verisimilitude as if they were geologists or chemical engineers.
How long was the process from initial concept to filming Apartment 143?
Originally, the film was going to be helmed by Rodrigo Cortes, our writer and producer, but when the success of his second film Buried propelled him onto bigger endeavours, he came to me with the offer of directing it. By the time that happened, all the financing was more or less in place, so I was able to jump right in and start pre-production straight away. I came on board in May of 2010, and we were shooting by August.
As you’ve watched the script play out did you make any changes?
Though the screenplay looks improvised, it’s highly scripted, and, with the exception of the usual minor adjustments that actors sometimes make on set, everything was spoken as written. Having said that, there are two scenes that are completely improvised, and which I intentionally set up that way; one happens when Alan tries to wake his daughter up, and the other one is the breakfast scene.
How did you go about casting the film?
Though I initially wanted great actors whom the audience had NEVER seen before, I soon realized it was somewhat of an impossibility, so I had to settle for an in-between. Hence, I started looking at American television, where a wide assortment of highly trained craftsmen are cutting their teeth on impressive guest appearances or supporting roles. Also, I looked at people who were just about to make their break, as well as veterans who have managed to disappear behind their characters in countless films, like Michael O’Keefe.
Courtney Bright and Nicole Daniels, my casting directors, were extremely helpful in the process.
What would you like viewers to take from Apartment 143?
Aside from the typical “I want audiences to be scared shitless”, I want to provide a more intellectual type of entertainment, where audiences can feel like they’re right in the field with a group of scientists who are about to discover something that was previously considered a scientific impossibility. In a way, I’d like to think of my film as a distant cousin of Primer or Pi.
How hard it is to have a film made today?
It all depends on the scope you’re going for, but everything you need to make a movie on a basic level is readily available to the general public.