On Thursday, July 19, I had the pleasure of meeting with director Aaron Schimberg, whose new movie Chained for Life had its International Premier the night before. Nestled in a back room in the SGWU, we had a quick chat.
366: This is Giles Edwards sitting down with Aaron Schimberg who directed Chained to Life … Pardon? Oh, Chained for Life. Terrible start. It played to a full house, and I also noticed when I was out in line that the press line was as long as the ticket-holder line, so that will hopefully get the word out on this great feature. You probably saw the reaction of the house a lot of clapping and laughing.
AS: I only paid attention to the people who weren’t clapping and laughing.
366: Well, there were plenty of people who were. Now, Chained for Life is kind of a “meta-movie” about making a period hospital-horror film while mostly focusing the actors’ world. We actually recently did a long-form review of the movie Freaks, and one of the things remarked on by the reviewer was that that was the kind of film you really couldn’t make anymore. But you, obviously, have put together something that, while different in tone, is comparable in structure, with a band of “normal” actors and production people and individuals with different disabilities. So it looks like that kind of thing is still possible. Did you have difficulty corralling the groups together or starting this project in any way?
AS: The film is in many ways a response to Freaks and an update of it. It was hard to cast in a way because there aren’t a lot of advocacy groups for people with disabilities, but not everyone in the film was an “actor.” Just because it’s a low budget film, it’s difficult to cast anyway, so I had to cast sort of by any means necessary: either pick people out from the street, or go through casting agents, or friends, or people that we’d seen in other movies. Everyone seemed to me—if you’re asking about actors with disabilities—seemed to relate to the script and and seemed fully on board. It was almost like a summer camp atmosphere, a very positive environment. It’s hard to get a film off the ground, but once we were up and running it was a pretty smooth process.
366: I like how you said “summer camp atmosphere,” because that was definitely captured—certainly in the scenes at night at the hospital with just the “freak” part of the cast there, hanging out.
You said [last night] that about twenty pages into the script you were writing about this lead character with certain attributes, a certain accent. How did you get in touch with your leading man,?
AS: Yeah, so I had written a character with neurofibromatosis, who was British. I don’t know why. I was probably thinking of the Elephant Man, who had neurofibromatosis—possibly, there’s a debate Continue reading INTERVIEWING AARON SCHIMBERG: KEEPING IT NORMAL