We were very lucky that Ari Gold the director of The Song of Sway Lake agreed to answer our questions about the film. His answers were detailed, informative and often humorous! We'd like to thank him for his time!
The subject matter for the film is quite unusual . As you are the co-writer how did you come up with the idea?
Ari I wanted to do a story about friendship and corrosive nostalgia and having the characters hunting for an old record seems like the right way to do it. Music hooks people into the past in ways that can be exhilarating and destructive as well. Centering the love triangle around a woman in her 70s seemed interesting because she represents the past and for the grandson that past need to be erased and for the Russian the past is something he's trying to return to.
Did you have any problems in getting finance to make the film?
Ari Financing a film is never easy. harder and harder... !
Did you see much of Robert or Rory's work before you cast them in the film and why did you chose them?
Ari For the part of Ollie Sway I needed someone with the weight of the past in his body, and Rory carries that beautifully. Robert was cast later and obviously since he plays a Russian I tried out a bunch of Russian actors first, but none of them had a shred of the humour and bombastic spirit of my Russian director friend Serguie who inspired the role. I consulted with this friend who agreed with me that Robert was the only person who had the right spirit. His performance beautifully matches some Russians who I know who essentially turn it up to charm people masking a pain within. He is totally fearless, Rock-star charismatic and also funny, and that is what was needed.Nor common things to find in one person!
The setting looks idyllic.Did you get much time to relax there as filming was no doubt hectic!
Ari I have heard of some directors who know how to be relaxed! I haven't figured that one out.i was sleeping three hours a night. I heard that some people on the crew had some flings and it was a summer camp vibe for them... not a bad place for it. I was hopelessly happy to notice certain giggles between crew in the morning when I realised that some new couple had run off to the woods. I think it captures the energy of the film and the memories of the young couple in the 1949s, the grandparents.
If you had an opportunity to play one of the characters who would it be?
Ari I'm in the movie if you watch carefully. You'll see. I play a character named Andy Dilworth ... Don't blink!
Can you describe Rob and Rory's characters in 3 words?
Ari Nikolai - bombastic,loyal , hungry Ollie- Longing, broken, armoured Both of them need to let go of the past to be in flow with life.
Did you learn anything new about the actors when filming?
Too much to tell publicly!
What was the funniest moment on set?
We were shooting one of the boating scenes with Rory and Isabelle and the boats kept breaking down both the picture boat and the camera boat that I was driving. At one point I was in the middle of the lake by the boat and I realised they were working again When I realised they were working again I screamed to Rory and the tiny floating crew ' start shooting' 'Roll' 'Action' and swam down into the water as deep as I could holding my breath.When I got back everybody was laughing at me!
It was very sad about Elizabeth Pena. Are you hoping her nearest and dearest will see the film?
Yes of course! I met some of her family at her public memorial service. She and I discussed how removing lines from her scenes is what causes people to project secrets on to her. We planned one secret in a meeting late at night on the water that I was happy to learn that some sharp audience members figured out, even though it is never spoken of or part of the plot.
You are also a musician. if you had a choice,music of film?
I have chosen film but I will always drop everything to play with my brother Ethan Gold who composed for the film, or in my other band, the Honey Brothers. Music is always a big part of my movies.
How did your student Oscar help your career?
It gave me credibility for sure. It's a nice thing to say when I'm trying to get a discount taco!!!
We're thrilled the film is premiering at the LA Film Festival on 21st June. We were concerned when it disappeared from IMDB for a while. Was it a deliberate decision to remove it from IMDB?
It was the Russians!
What will be your lasting memory of the film and without giving away too much, what was your favourite scene?
Well I can't really give anything away can I?
Who apart from the cast and crew do you have to thank most now that the film is appearing this Summer?
The God of persistence!
We ask everyone this. Do you think that cinema chains are reluctant to show Indie films? Is it difficult to get an Indie film 'out there? '
Damn near impossible! I think the problem is that cinema chains are designed like airports Who the hell wants to go to an airport for an evening event? I like the few theatres who have figured out that you need to create an experience in the theatre itself - food and drink and who knows perhaps a magic jungle! The original cinemas all felt special. I don't know who came up with the idea that bucket seats and deafening sound are the reasons that people go to the cinema. And they've managed to convince people that the movies you should see on the big screens are ones with explosions, as though a big screen shot of an explosion is more valuable than a big screen shot of a human face!
Robert often says that people 'scatter like cats' when filming finishes. Do you still keep in touch with the cast?
I'm allergic to cats so I keep in touch with people if I can! Robbie and I have spent many lovely evenings attacking the world together since filming!
Hope you enjoyed the interview. Thanks again to Ari for his time.
Follow @swaylake on Twitter Facebook and Instagram for more information and photos.
All photos courtesy Ari Gold and @Sway Lake
Do try and watch the film! It premieres on 21st June at the Los Angeles Film Festival and tickets are available from 23rd May via this link!