Co-writer and director Mike Cahill was in Denver for an advance screening and Q&A of his indie phenom film Another Earth. Your Denver Cinephile had a moment to chat with him, and below are some of the questions we discussed.
Did you encounter any obstacles/mishaps while filming?
You have to pay a lot of money just to film the exterior of a prison, so we just drove by and Brit had this yoga mat and she went through the front doors and dropped the yoga mat and walked out and we got this great scene. We were back in the car so excited about what we had accomplished when we heard sirens and a cop car was pulling us over. He was yelling at us, threatening to take our camera, which had everything on it. We lied and told him we were scouting for a big movie location. We ended up going inside and talking with the warden for some time and he was cool. It all worked out in the end, but the prison scene was one example of our guerilla filmmaking efforts.
Click here for Brit’s interview with Jimmy Fallon describing this law-breaking effort.
What is your favorite scene?
Every piece works together to get to the final moment. I’ve probably seen the movie now 427 times, but that scene still takes my breath away. It never dulls for me.
What is more challenging for you, writing or directing?
Writing is mathematical and artistic. Being the director, you basically make a movie three times: 1) writing it, 2) directing it, and 3) editing it. Both offer different challenges and both require a certain authenticity.
Who would you like to work with?
Denver Cinephile: Besides Brit.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Brad Pitt, and Meryl Streep are all real craftsmen (and woman). Just to meet them would be amazing.
What is your favorite movie?
Basquiat by Julian Schnabel.
Is this your first time in Denver?
I was here about a year ago. We took a cross-country trip from LA-NY and stayed here. We stayed at the Brown Palace and there was so much about it that was classical. They had this bar with whiskey and cigars; it was very unique.
What would you be doing if not filmmaking?
I’d be an architect or a painter.
When did you first have the itch to make movies?
When I was 6 years old, I had a Fisher Price Pixelvision. I got my first camera for about $100.
After the recognition you got at Sundance, I imagine a number of new doors have opened for you. What has been the most surreal moment thus far?
Kumar Pallana (actor in the movie) showed me a letter from Steven Spielberg saying he loved the movie. That was pretty amazing.
If you were to go to Earth 2, besides your other self, whose other self would you want to meet?
My girlfriend Rachel. She’s an extremely talented photographer. One is enough; two would be interesting to see.
What would we be surprised to learn about Brit Marling?
She likes to shoot guns. At a range, of course, but she likes to shoot.
How did you and Brit approach the script co-writing process?
It was an egoless process. We’d be in a room pitching the story over and over. We developed good character profiles. The big concept of another earth came first, that was easy. Then we thought about who would want to go and we liked the idea of someone needing to let themself off the hook, so we came up with the girl story. Then we tried to figure out what happens next. The ending was discovered during the process, we didn’t know it at the onset.
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