"What kind of movie is this supposed to be?"
Seriously, that was the most common question asked during our auditions over the past week.
The actors were, and rightfully so, curious how to play some of the bigger emotional moments. Should they be crazy big and over the top? Or more subdued and real? It's a totally legit dilemma when it comes to our emotionally charged script that involves an inordinate amount of toxic monsters running around eating people.
There are a lot of directors that would go the over-the-top route. It's easier, it's more 'fun', and in the end who cares, it's supposed to be funny/scary/some base emotion we don't need to worry about it. Those people are bad directors and shouldn't be making movies.
I'm of the ilk that isn't afraid of the high emotion and, frankly, demand it from the actors. Sure it might be easier to direct and act if you just go big with everything and it might seem more fun at the time, but in the end it's only going to hurt the final project. Taking the time to craft those moments of real emotion - the ones that make your characters real people instead of just bags of meat and blood to exploit - is the best way to connect with your audience. Taking a character from "Pretty Blond Girl 1" to "Carla" in the eyes of your audience takes more than just a throwaway line about a name and some paper thin motivation. It requires real performances with real emotions.
If you want the audience to care about your movie, you have to put in the work that shows you care about it too.
I care. As much as I want everyone to just enjoy Love in the Time of Monsters as a fun, awesome picture, I know that the thing that will keep them coming back is the realness of the people in it. Luckily, we've seen some downright AMAZING actors and actress this week who seem to feel the same. I'm in awe of their abilities and can't wait to see their wares applied to this movie.
Because, it's my belief that in a movie with toxic animals, crazy costumes, and a goofy setting, you need something real to hold onto, lest the entire thing go down in a giant blaze of campy awfulness. And no one wants that to happen.