Today we have Russ Russo (Donner Pass) and Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga) in to talk about their new film Heat Wave. A film about four friends who awaken to find that their reality may not be what they expected in the midst of a 2015 heat wave in LA… Here’s Kiowa and Russ:
Hello there, thanks for taking some time out to talk with me! How are you both?
Russ Russo: Good. Just getting over a week long Cold/Flu which is always weird in 80 degree weather in LA during January.
Kiowa Gordon: Doing good. Taking life day by day with my family.
Good good, sorry to hear about that cold Russ! Now what can you guys tell me about Heat Wave then? What attracted you both to the project?
RR: I wanted to do something with my friends for quite a while. Kiowa & I met back in 2009 while attempting to shoot a movie that didn’t get financed and thought, man, you know, we still haven’t really worked together on film & it grew from there.
KG: Well, Russ and I wanted to create, so we did. He wrote it and I helped make it come to life.
I understand that it was inspired by the early Twilight Zone series back in the 60’s, does it have something of that particular feel to it then?
RR: I have been watching some of the modern day Twilight Zone episodes from the 2002 reboot & I’ve got to say it’s the original series that still holds up in the creative & imaginative aspects. Modern day takes on these stories can sometimes get too contrived & lose its way, but I think we did a good job grounding the story in Heatwave.
KG: After watching it a couple times, the only thing missing is the theme song. I think we have a great score though, Ben Wiacek and Darin Smith crushed it to give it that eerie feeling throughout.
RR: I still feel I didn’t get to fully experience the directing aspect to this film. I relied heavily on a great crew & trusting my DP, Steven Boatman, that he was getting the shot because I was still acting out there with the rest of the guys. The one thing I feel I got right, when you see the performances, is directing the actors in this piece. I feel grateful to have had such talented ones on board this film.
Does your acting history inform how you approached directing on a day to day basis?
RR: I have always heard things like he’s an actor’s director & I’ve experienced a few directors who were so technical that everything they shoot is gorgeous, but the acting is awful. I now know what it’s like to be an actor’s director. That aspect felt right to me. So, it absolutely informed the entire approach which is to concentrate on great performances to which an audience will believably stay engaged in the story.
And Kiowa how has the success of the Twilight films impacted upon your career? Did it open or indeed shut any doors for you?
KG: I don’t think I would have a career without the Twilight saga. I owe a lot to those people that worked on it. It didn’t just open up doors, it blew the hinges right off. I was left with so much opportunity, left and right. At the time I kind of took it for granted. I think I’m on the right path again. I’m a regular on a bad ass show now, called The Red Road which is from Sundance TV.
KG: Big productions have a little more wiggle room, financially and time-wise that small projects just can’t afford. We took two days to shoot Heatwave. No breaks! Definitely a passion project.
Oh wow! Now that’s an impressive shooting time! Finally guys, what else have you guys got coming out which we should be looking out for?
RR: It’s going to be a busy year for me; An Act of War (formerly known as The Projectionist) hits select theaters next month. It’s a story about an Iraq War vet who returns home with PTSD. Catch Hell is a film I acted in with Ryan Phillippe, which was his Directorial Debut, hits Netflix Feb 8th. Also there’s a series I did for James Franco and that’s hitting Maker TV next month too.
KG: Again, The Red Road. The second season airs on Sundance TV in April – not sure on the exact date. You can catch re-runs of the first season or get it from iTunes or Amazon. Should be coming to DVD soon and Netflix. Got a couple indie films going on too; The Lesser Blessed is on Netflix and Amazon and Drunktown’s Finest is making festival rounds and a couple of theatres here and there. Also Windwalkers will be having its world premiere at Nocturna Film Festival in Madrid, Spain.
And that’s all folks! Please do check out Heat Wave by clicking this link right here: http://heatwave.vhx.tv/.
If you enjoyed what these guys had to say then let me know in the comment box below!