It’s been almost a year since we first expressed how much we liked Jeffery St. Jules’ debut film Bang Bang Baby. Since then it’s won several awards, including Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF and the Claude Jutra Award at the Canadian Screen Awards.
Following a successful festival run, this visually rich film finally hits theatres this week. We interviewed several cast members, beginning with David Reale who plays the seemingly nice guy Fabian, who mutates into the evil villain of the film. You may also know him as the popular FOUR candy cane gram-receiving Glen Coco from Mean Girls.
You guys premiered this at TIFF almost a year ago, does it feel like you shot this a long time ago?
I guess it’s been about a year and a half since it was finished, because it was a rush to get in into TIFF in time, now it feels like a lifetime ago.
How was your experience at TIFF last year?
It was best. If you’re in a film at TIFF you get the press and industry pass, I went to like 30 films. Because you have a film in the festival you feel like a part of this global community of filmmakers. It’s really a chance to reconnect with your love of film. You see all these films from all over the world, not just the mainstream films that you usually get to see in theatres.
So you’d describe yourself as a cinephile?
How do you describe this film to people?
I say it’s kind of like if David Lynch directed an after school special in the style of Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I think I’m one of the few people left on earth who hasn’t seen Mean Girls, but in my research I learned that you became kind of internet famous for a part that was little more than an extra, the popular Glen Coco who gets four Candy Cane grams. Does all the ‘You Go Glen Coco’ stuff get kind of annoying or is it all positive?
For the most part it’s totally positive. Honestly I don’t get asked in interviews as much, it’s more everyone that follows me on Twitter and people on the street pointing at me and saying “You go Glen Coco”, people sending mail and asking for autographs. It’s like the craziest, strangest thing for a film you were never cast in, you were never credited for. You showed up for a free meal on the day, and all of a sudden ten years later, you’re part of modern movie history.
If you weren’t even credited how did people know it was you?
Your guess is as good as mine. The internet is a crazy crazy place. We’ve all become professional stalkers in the internet age. Someone took a snapshot of a still from a different scene where you could sort of see my face, and they realized that they recognized me from some other thing I had done. One of these obsessive movie fans put that up on some site, probably like seven years ago, after a few a years the right people found it and it was all over the place.
Do you think Fabian, your Bang Bang Baby character, received many candy cane grams in school?
Poor Fabian probably sent himself a couple. When I was thinking about how to play Fabian, I kind of imagined him, the tragedy of the guy, is that he was born without any charm. Just one of these people who cannot ingratiate himself to anyone, and that creates this deep well of loneliness. He was definitely sitting in the corner in the dark at school dances with zero candy cane grams.
It’s a very specific kind of acting in the film, were you given any films to watch as reference?
A lot of references were being thrown around at the beginning, with the costumes and stuff like that. There were a bunch of films, I can’t even remember. I know Jeffery talked about Viva Las Vegas, that’s more just where Jane’s character comes from. It was more because it dabbled in fantasy, it was kind of like pure creativity at times where you ground your performance in reality but then you go, is this choice weird? If it is, well that kind of works too. Jeffery’s like just try that, because who knows, that could work. It was kind of scary and liberating to be like, I guess I can just go over the top at some points.
Was it hard to learn how to speak out of your neck?
(laughs) I’m actually an old pro at the neck talking.
That was a cool post effect, how did you need to prepare for it on the day?
They had very rudimentary latex mould of a mouth on my neck, but what I did on one of the shooting days, they sat me in a chair in front of a green screen, they just did a super close up, and they actually did make up on my own mouth and teeth, and I recorded all of the dialogue and songs of the neck mouth all in one shot sitting there. Later they superimposed and did some CGI tricks to map my actual mouth to my neck as well. So they’re both my mouth.
Many of the lighting and design effects are practical, did that make it a very surreal set to be on?
There was this one scene where they had a huge projection of a field and a moon, a big full moon, through the window of the house. When you were on set, if you were outside this house, you’re in a studio, beside a fake house, with astro turf grass, beside a huge 45 foot screen of this moonscape, and it definitely felt trippy, that’s for sure.
Was the final look pretty close to how it looked on set?
The way Bobby Shore, our DP, captured it added a little extra. It’s darker and more magical than it was even on set.
At what point did you realize you were shooting a date rape scene on International Women’s Day?
How did you know that?!
It was on your Twitter.
It was actually a really awful thing to shoot. Sex scenes are already really uncomfortable and Jane’s a really good actor, having that scene with her, it feels awful to be a part of. In between takes we’d kind of stand quietly, everyone was really quiet on set, there’s nothing fun about that. I think I realized after we were done that it was International Women’s Day and it was kind of darkly funny and ironic. I can sort of laugh about that in an ironic way a year and a half later but that whole experience was not fun.
You do a podcast with fellow actors Ennis Esmer and Daniel Perlmutter, what’s it about?
It’s called Big Issue Little Issue, and it’s exactly that. Ennis describes it as three idiots discuss issues big and small. We talk about anything from wearing mismatched socks to what’s appropriate in the modern racial awareness climate. It sort of veers all over the place. We’re taking a little hiatus right now but they’re all up there, I think episodes 24 and 25 are my favourites.
What’s on your Dork Shelf?
When I was a kid I never had the patience or the passion to the collect, but I always wanted to be a collector. At an auction one time I bought a collection of seashells. Off a kid on the bus I traded a hat for his collection of comics. I got my uncle’s old collection of baseball cards. I never did the collecting myself, I feel ashamed of that. I’m a collector of collections. I never realized that ’til right now, this whole time I was collecting something. (laughs) Holy shit.