BRWC EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: James Dylan, Cargo Director

Cargo

Like James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s “Saw”, [Cargo] writer/director James Dylan wanted to make a movie that was confined to one location. The result, a very effective thriller, is now available on DVD and VOD.

What a film. Congrats! Can you tell me where and where it all started? –

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I wanted to do a thriller set in one location, one actor, one cell phone.  It makes things a lot easier and it makes things a lot more challenging.  Trying to keep one actor in one location interesting with a dynamic plot that keeps an audience engaged – not an easy thing to do.  Yet I think we pulled it off.

It has the kind of ambitious plot usually reserved for blockbusters– did the budget cause you to lose anything? –

Not really.  The main expense was just the sound design in post production.  It was a lot of work getting all the sound effects and voices just the way we wanted them.  Filming the movie was easier, post production sound is where the real work started.

Most films change along the way. Does the film you set out to make on day one still resemble the film that’s about to be released? –

No film looks as good or as cool in your mind as it does in reality.  I made a violent short action thriller about a liquor store robbery a few years ago.  I envisioned it as a low budget John Woo action piece and it didn’t end up looking anything like that when we were finished.  Audiences responded positively yet it wasn’t as cool a film as I had originally envisioned it.  Just part of the filmmaking process I guess.

What’s one thing you realized about independent filmmaking, on this one, that you didn’t know before?  —

That filmmaking is more challenging than it looks.  It’s easier now with digital cameras and computer editing.  Yet now it seems that there’s a lot more competition.  There’s an avalanche of new filmmakers putting out films constantly of all genres.  It’s great and intimidating.

Plus in independent filmmaking you can have what Bob Ross called happy accidents.  I never thought on a film of this budget we’d have an official published novelization, yet my producer J.C. Macek III managed to pull it off, it was published earlier this year by Bloodhound Books.

I also did not think we’d have an original soundtrack yet we got one.  Composed by Thorsten Quaeschning of Tangerine Dream.  It was recorded with his other band Picture Palace music, yet the album sounds very much like classic Tangerine Dream.

Thorsten and I met online after I placed a Craigslist ad looking for a composer to make me a Tangerine Dream-like score.  Thorsten saw this in Berlin and got in touch with me.  Great how these things work out.  Small world.

Two of the three current band members of Tangerine Dream perform on the soundtrack, Thorsten, who pretty much performed all the instruments himself other than the strings, and violinist Hoshiko Yamane.

Thorsten and Ms. Yamane also recently performed the entire [Cargo] soundtrack like at the Electronic Music Circus in Germany.

Would you do a sequel?  I can imagine there’s some ideas floating!? –

As Rocky Balboa once said, absolutely.  I’ve thought a [Cargo 2] sequel that would star actor Jose Rosete who did the voice of Merc, a soldier of fortune.   In the sequel Merc is the one who is imprisoned in the cargo container with only a cell phone.  You’d have to up the violence and body count like they usual do in sequels.

Have you some upcoming fare in the works? –

Yes, I’m working on a new found footage paranormal thriller script.  Set in one location, an abandoned haunted house.  Plus I hope to collaborate with [Cargo] composer Thorsten Quaeschning on future films!

If we were to embed a scene from the movie on the page, in a testament to show just how great this film is, which scene would you recommend? –

Probably the dental self-torture scene that involves a pair of pliers – it’s pretty hardcore and over the top.




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Alton started BRWC as a bit of fun, and has grown into what you see today, and he can only apologise. Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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