After the first screening of the movie Feed in America, Alex and the producer of the movie Melissa Beauford, answered some questions for the audience…….
– 31 March 2006 –
– Philadelphia International Film Festival –
Question: There was one shot that I thought was really interesting, when cut to where the detective goes to Toledo, there is a shot of the hotel and superimposed over it is the American Flag. I was wondering if this film, if it consciously were picking on American culture and our …..?
Melissa: Totally a Brett question.
Alex: Totally a Brett question and, and what did he say? “It’s his love letter to America”
Melissa: It’s pretty much what he said.
Alex: This is his love letter to America.
Melissa: And Brett, for those of you who are not already Brett fans, he grew up in Middle America, as did I. We grew up in……
Alex: Toledo Ohio, on Middlesex Drive … I believe.
Melissa: And so for him after having been away and having made the film in Australia, which is where we all met. He had come back and gone away again and he just sort of felt like he saw the place differently. And then after the boys saw this story, he just felt well I’m gonna put a stamp on it, that is different to just about Feeder and Gainer.
He wanted to make a thriller, wanted to have the subtext, which is the Christian thing and the American flag and of a lot of other hidden things that are all Brett signature pieces.
Alex: I think the main thing about this picture is, the catch phrase to this film and also the catch phrase to my character is “Consumption is Evolution”. And that’s the thing.
That monologue that Michael says when he is standing over Phil in the hotel room, is sort of something I think we came up with when we were writing at the retreat. That’s the main thing, you know.
Melissa: That is his underlining theme.
Alex: The underlining theme, we are just eating ourselves, until the planet is fucked and we are all fat. And we’re going to die.
Melissa: And not in a physical sense, but in a consuming the world, consuming the environment, consuming everything……..
Alex: So all those moments in the film are quite obvious, that speaks for that, are Brett’s stamps.
Question: Have you shown this film to any people that you know are members of that “Feeder-Gainer” subculture?
Melissa: Interesting that you would say that.
Question: And what was their reaction?
Melissa: Yes there have been people a part of that subculture. I always get e-mails. We have been in several film festivals around the world; this is the first in the US.
But the people who have seen it, in Europe, originally were very skeptical and thought we were actually out to get the subculture, which is not what this film is about at all. It’s just, it’s just a stepping off point.
Alex: In all the research that I did just on that. A huge huge amounts, hours and months and months of research that I did, I never once saw anything between Feeders and Gainers, other than affection.
I mean there were some stuff going on, all the measuring and that I sort of went ugh …. it is not for me. But I never….
Melissa: But there are tools…
Alex: Yeah, yeah, but that’s the same. I have tools.
Alex: At the hotel, right now.
– I’m joking –
Alex: I never saw anything but affection and that was what so endearing. That was the dichotomy, like I judged it so harshly, but I am watching these people love each other and I am like…..
Melissa: And there is some great scenes that did have been deleted, that will be on the DVD, that are great, because Michael reading poetry and painting Deidre’s nails.
And they are these beautiful intimate moments that was actually what our research was made up off. Those were the things that we found. Yeah, feeding was part of it but that was part of the worshipping ritual.
The subversive elements, the second half of the film, that is entirely just made up of you know, people making movies. The bits about Feeders and Gainers that we learned, were truly the more loving bits and you see and judge the relationships.
The relationship between Michael and Deirdre is the coveted one in the beginning, in my book. I want to be a part of that where someone coming home and bring me treats and tell me they love me. Were instead of coming home and bitching about me …
Melissa: I thought you said…
Alex: Well, it’s six burgers, babe. That’s the thing for me.
Melissa: I thought it’s cupcakes.
[Laughs all around]
Question: This is kind of minor, but are we supposed to believe that he been kind of feeding his mother to all these women, one by the other?
Alex: No. That’s interesting though. Maybe we should do another cut.
Melissa: We haven’t had that one yet.
Alex: No, no, no, his mother is.
Melissa: Long gone.
Alex: His mother is long gone and there’s been some grave reviews. What was that “When I see another psycho film, and the mother is involved ……”
Melissa: But this was actually a piss stake on that. Brett was like, “Let’s not do it”. The writer is like “Let’s not do it”.
And then Alex was like, “Well, let’s do it and get the piss out of the fact that people do say, “Oh, it’s the mother”. But it’s not the mother, but it is the mother, but it’s not the mother, because I am actually conscious of what I am doing.”
Alex: But, no….
Melissa: No eating the mommy.
Question: I thought that there are minor elements of very very very black humour in the film.
Melissa: Oh, absolutely.
Question: Was it intentional?
Alex: Welcome, to Australia.
Melissa: Australia is all about black humour. As soon as something is too serious it’s like oooo …..
Alex: I have never seen it with an audience. And hearing what you guys were laughing at, I was like agh. A lot of them were things I thought, “We can’t put that in, we can’t do it”.
Melissa: They won’t get it.
Alex: No, not that they won’t get it. It won’t be funny, it will be inappropriate. We would be in more trouble than what were going to be in.
All my life I found myself in cinema’s watching films, and going, “bah wah ha” [and everybody around me is silent].
And so I think there’s a lot of that, that we as filmmakers think are funny. Comedy was born from tragedy, right? And, like I am always laughing and going, that’s really bad, I should not be laughing and that we all are. Some of it was kind experimental as well.
Melissa: But Gabby, she is a comedic actress, so a lot of those laughs come from her and their interaction and playing off of each other. They worked so well together and I think that is the strong point of the film.
Alex: [Nearly inaudible] Yes, we became pretty close.
Question: What is up with the spin of the roof?
Alex: Did you like that? That was my stunt. What was with it? You didn’t like it?
Question: The reasoning for it?
Alex: He had to get out of there.
Melissa: There was no other way out of the room.
Alex: He actually is part machine. [Laughs]
Melissa: I like what you have to say though cause as a producer, because that was not in the script, but when we got to the location, there was no way out of the room for the chase. Except for over thing.
And he and Brett come to me and I am like have your mind. I’m not going to wait for shooting, if I lose him the film is over …..
Alex: Brett and I were like “How am I going to solve this? He’s gotta get out and there, and he can’t go out the balcony and there was all these filming gear here.”
And I looked at Brett and I said, “Dude, I’ll just jump off”.
And he goes, “Fuck yeah”. And we lean over and it was really high. It was probably as high as the roof. It was high.
Melissa: As high as those grey tiles.
Alex: As high as the roof Mel.
Melissa: It was high and scary.
Alex: It was high and we looked over and we looked at each other and we went “For sure. That’s a really good idea”.
And Mel came in…
Melissa: And I said, “We don’t have any money for a stunt guy and we can’t lose the actor, forget it!”
Alex: And we said, “Don’t worry about it. It will be okay”
Melissa: And he just looked at me in the Alex way and said, “Mel, I can do it, I can do it”.
And so we got safety. There was the appropriate safety gear. But he did the stunt himself. And I stood at the bottom and bit all my nails off and go, “If you get hurt, I’m going to kill you when you land”.
Alex: But I did it, I did it…….
If you haven’t read it before and are interested to read it, you can find our review of the movie Feed, here:
- I think both Paula and I, once again fell head over heels, for the young, adorable and enthusiastic Alex O’Loughin, while working on this interview…… ❤