[Exclusive] I had the chance to speak with Academy Award nominated movie producer Lisa Bruce (The Theory of Everything) about the upcoming 2016 thriller The Hollow from director/star Miles Doleac.
The Hollow is an upcoming thriller from Historia Films directed and written by Miles Doleac, who also co-stars alongside Jeff Fahey, William Sadler, William Forsythe, James Callis and Christiane Seidel. The film is scheduled for release in 2016 .
When a U.S. congressman’s daughter passing through a small town in Mississippi dies in a mysterious triple homicide, a team of F.B.I. agents descends to investigate, the team’s brilliant but jaded lead agent battling demons both past and present, as his beautiful, tough-as-nails partner tries to hold him and the case together. They find a struggling and corrupt sheriff’s department, a shadowy and much-feared figure, who seems to be pulling all of the town’s strings from his mansion on the edge of town and a local victim with a strange connection to a number of the town’s most prominent figures.
Keven: Miles Doleac – I had no idea he was into directing, because he’s a really cool performer as well – I remember him in a great role this year on Banshee. He can definitely portray intense characters – what do you think he can bring to a film like The Hollow since he’s helming the overall product?
Lisa: Well first and foremost he is a very good actor and I can honestly say he is really compelling to watch as one of the leads and he carries the film. It feels like he knows his character ‘Ray’ inside and out and although Ray is such a bad apple, you end up caring for him in the story because Miles’ performance is so nuanced and layered.
Also many ‘southern’ films are made and scripted by non-southerners but because Miles is from Mississippi and he wrote and directed it, the realness of place: the geography, the heat, the flies, the accents, the pace of life, the cultural preoccupations are woven throughout this one in a rich, intimate way that is absent from so many other so called ‘southern’ films.
Keven: The concept of this creepy small town with a ton of skeletons littering everybody’s closets, is always an interesting and unsettling theme. What is the most unique aspect of The Hollow for you and what do you think sets it apart from other thrillers?
Lisa: This story has the authenticity of an insider’s perspective – a person who grew up in the south — and that makes it unique and powerful. I also think the pace of it is more like a classic 70’s film like “Straw Dogs” or early Sidney Lumet where the characters have time to breathe and develop in a way that is more real and less contrived and I think that gives this film a distinct feeling.
Keven: I love Jeff Fahey – to me he’s one of the most underrated actors on the planet. Can you tell me a little bit about his character and why Jeff was tapped to play him?
Lisa: He plays the moral, hard working father to the bad apple Sheriff (Ray), and while there is only one scene with Fahey it stands out because it is the one time where Ray is actually trying to confront his own demons and take responsibility for the mess he has made of his life — it is only with his father that he can face himself and Fahey is perfect for this role because he is such a solid veteran you never see him working… he just is this character –hardworking, upright man with a clear moral compass and his son knows in his heart that his dad will hear him and love him despite what he has become
Keven: Miles and Jeff are related in the film too I noticed – what is their onscreen relationship like – I’d love to see both of those guys play off one another in a film because they both just have this essence of badassery to both of them.
Lisa: The onscreen relationship between Miles’ character and Jeff Fahey’s character is simple, yet rich. Jeff plays the moral father who has worked honestly for everything he has and raised his son Ray, played by Miles, to do the same but Ray has lost his way and so by the time he comes to his father it is too late and so the rich subtext of a what is played as a simple visit is a tragic ask for forgiveness and a final goodbye. Miles and Jeff are both so strong as actors they just grab you and don’t let you go in this compelling scene – it is totally engaging.
Keven: The acclaim that The Theory of Everything received must have been a tremendous accomplishment – what was the experience like after the award nominations and what is it about that film that you feel resonated with audiences so well?
Lisa: The critical acclaim for The Theory of Everything was very satisfying because I spent 6 years working to get that film made and that involved so many decisions about what to include and not include in the 2 hour cinematic storytelling of the Hawkings’ life and so our decision to keep the focus on Jane’s journey as much as Stephen’s gave that film it’s center.
In every decision from script to director choice to casting to picking the key creative team we were focused on capturing the truth of the emotional journey of their challenged relationship and we did that in a way that resonated with audiences around the world so it was an awesome feeling.
Keven: What is the biggest misconception that people have about being a film producer and what is the one thing about that which annoys you the most after all these years being in the movie business?
Lisa: No one really knows what a producer truly does or they mis-conceptualize that a producer only brings the money to a project. But as a creative producer I am usually involved from very early on working with the writer to shape the story and then working to attach the right director and then an actor or two and then I go to funders and try to attract the right amount of money and then I work with the director and funder to hire all the key creative crew and cast the rest of the picture… all the while we usually continue to sculpt the script as we continue to immerse ourselves deeper into the world and the story.
A true producer is involved with thousands of creative decisions in the process of making a film and so I believe a producer is an essential creative partner to the writer, to the director, to the crew and to the cast.
Keven: Your top five favorite films of 2015 are?
Lisa: I have several movies that I really liked but I don’t really rate them in a top five… they just resonated for me as a person and as a filmmaker: In no particular order: Ex-Machina, The Big Short (upcoming), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Spotlight, … and more but haven’t seen all yet.
Bruce is also in the midst of producing the upcoming Darkest Hour, which focuses on Winston Churchill during WWII. While I tried to pry any kind of information out of her about that highly anticipated feature she didn’t let anything slip. It’s bound to be another Awards contender though…