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[Interview] – Anthony Stabley, Adam David & Valentina De Angelis – ‘Everlasting’ – A Feature Film

 

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Posted August 31, 2015 by

 
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Recently, I caught up with Anthony Stabley, writer and director of the dark Hollywood fable, Everlasting, and the movie’s two young leads, Adam David and Valentina De Angelis:

Writer & Director - Anthony Stabley

Writer & Director – Anthony Stabley

Anthony, tell us how you came up with the premise for Everlasting. What was the inspiration?

AS: Everlasting is an enhanced reflection of my many years in Los Angeles. I experienced some unsettling circumstances and hard lessons during my time, which were represented in the screenplay. That being said, there are many wonderful people in L.A. and I’ve had some amazing life experiences, but there’s also a dark undercurrent that most folks don’t like to talk about. Everlasting, in essence, is the scary parasitic version of Hollywood that I’ve always wanted to explore as a film.

You wrote and directed this feature. What are the main advantages of having that degree of creative control? Any pitfalls?

AS: When you write and direct the main advantage is that you know the material better than anyone. You have that leverage. I think it’s the ideal situation honestly. The challenge with this dynamic is that you need to flush out your feedback in a careful manner. You have to make sure that your ideas are solid by surrounding yourself with people with similar sensibilities that you can trust and engage. Producer Shannon Makhanian was a strong proponent of the script. She was very passionate and she understood the characters, so I listened to her openly. Richard Middleton, who produced The Artist, was also a fan of Everlasting. We didn’t end up collaborating on this particular project, but he’s been a great mentor, confidant and I always respect his opinion.

Everlasting has a great soundtrack. What role does music play in shaping your work?

AS: I have to thank Sean Fernald (Music Supervisor) and editors Bryan Colvin, Brad McLaughlin for influencing the path that we took. We were really fortunate to get songs from Crystal Castles and Cold Cave. Their bittersweet tunes really captured the essence of our lead characters. We were also able to interweave other musical moments via the talents of composers Scott Gordon, David Levita who had worked on Criminal Minds. I’m thrilled with the music.

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

In the movie, Matt uses social media to take the law into his own hands. To what extent do you think online culture has changed our perceptions of/attitudes towards love, sex and violence?

AS: These days we have the ability to digest information in such an accelerated fashion that it can really become unbalanced. We have access to enormous amounts of violent and sexual images – all you have to do is type in the word and hit search. So you have to be really careful what you digest and how it affects you. And if you don’t have a solid foundation within yourself then the process of nurturing a loving relationship with others may become a difficult task.

Would you agree that there are certain mystical aspects to Everlasting? What part does fate play in the story?

AS: I think that our minds and our hearts are so incredibly powerful. The energy that we send out can certainly come back to us. In Everlasting, our two main characters (Matt and Jessie) are drawn to an array of dark interests, including a fascination with serial killers. On face value it seems so innocent, you know… kids being kids, but by the end of the story, this concept turns on them and it’s really thought provoking. There’s a chilling line in the film that is quite telling – “She imagined me and I imagined her and that’s… how it happens.”

Valentina, I know you in particular really wanted this part from the off. What drew you to the role of Jessie?

VdA: I’ve always been attracted to characters where you can peel back the layers of them like an onion. What really drew me to the role was the complexity of the character. Anthony did a really good job at making these characters a piece of real life. I was really attracted to that and the intensity of the role. How Jessie transformed from a sweet lost soul to a hardened facade trying to keep up with an overwhelming city. I could feel her pain and her every emotion just by reading the script and it made me want to transform into her more than ever.

And what about you, Adam? What made you want to play Matt?

AD: Matt goes through a gigantic emotional journey. He’s experiencing things that are horrific and he’s going into danger to get these answers. His perseverance while dealing with this emotional trauma is what seemed fun and challenging. The story rules, so to just be a part of that was the draw.

Can you describe your characters in three words?

VdA: Free Spirited, Dark, Lost.

AD: Soulful. Honest. Strong.

Valentina de Angelis & Adam David

Valentina de Angelis & Adam David

Anthony touched on the ‘dark underbelly’ of Hollywood. Have you had any personal experience of the darker side of the industry, and if so did you draw on that?

AD: Fortunately, I haven’t had any first-hand experiences. But you hear things from people you know, so you know that dark side is there.

VdA: I think we can all talk about one or two experiences we’ve had in LA that could be considered the “dark” side of the industry or sketchy to say the least. Like that typical story of the big time movie producer trying to lure pretty girls up to his Hollywood Hills mansion for a “party”… These are definitely stories and experiences that I drew from. I also did a little extra work to get a feel of what true darkness and terror felt like by doing an experience by myself called “BLACKOUT”. I was forced to the floor, dragged by my hair, and forced to do other crazy things in complete darkness. It was terrifying and I definitely drew from that as well.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 14.39.17

Wow! That’s commitment! So, did this project throw up any other challenges for you?

VdA: When you work on an indie film, as actors you make a lot of sacrifices in the name of art. It can sometimes be challenging to do whatever it takes to get your scenes, sometimes guerrilla style, but at the end of the day the challenge is worth it.

AD: There were definitely times when I came in with what I thought was the right way to do the scene. Anthony had different and better ideas, but it was definitely challenging to feel so strongly about something and feeling like your instinct was way off base. That’s what collaboration is all about though!

The story really hinges on Matt and Jessie’s incredible love for one another. How do you go about creating chemistry that audiences will be emotionally invested in?

VdA: When Adam and I met, we really hit it off and became good friends. I think the more time we spent with each other the more we felt comfortable with one another which is essential for on screen chemistry. I think our friendship really brought our romance to life.

AD: Maybe we were just lucky cause Valentina and I got along very, very well from the beginning. We didn’t have to work to create a chemistry – it was just there organically. The first time we met, we were alone and I thought we’d just talk about the film and what we had to do. It turned into this conversation about life and big picture things, which was great. We have a great relationship outside of Everlasting. Hopefully, that connection shows in the movie. She’s the best.

Valentina and Adam in Everlasting

Valentina and Adam in Everlasting

While the movie has horrific elements, it is also about enduring and unconditional love. Do you think that ultimately Everlasting is a hopeful movie?

AS: Everlasting reminds you to appreciate the fact that at any given moment the person that you love the most may be taken away from you. So cherish every day because life is fleeting.

AD: It’s hopeful in the sense that the movie shows true love is eternal. Although Matt and Jessie didn’t have decades together, the love they had will be with him forever…and that’s beautiful.

VdA: The whole reason the movie is called “Everlasting” is to encapsulate the everlasting love of Jessie and Matt. So I do feel ultimately the film is a hopeful movie.

Who or what currently inspires and excites you?

VdA: Every aspect of movie making inspires me and excites me. So as a result I have started to dip my feet into other facets of the entertainment industry. Last fall I wrote my first full length feature and currently I am producing a documentary. It has been an eye opening, informative, and exciting experience.

AD: Professionally, I’m inspired by actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Melissa McCarthy – people who might be considered unconventional lead actors but who have carved their own path and become successful anyway. Personally, my mom inspires me in more ways than I can put into words.

AS: I think that genuine artists that take chances inspire all of us because they are expressing themselves and the world around them.

What were your personal highlights of working on Everlasting?

VdA: For me it was the fact that I was able to contribute as an artist in more ways than one. The artistic input we had as actors was way more than I’ve ever experienced on any other set. To be able to collaborate with the director and art director was truly amazing and I feel should be done more often. My experience on this film was the definition of collaboration

AD: Working with the team was fantastic. It was small, so it took on a family feel. It might sound corny, but every day was a blast. Everyone was so committed to making everything the absolute best.

AS: I think putting together such an eclectic cast and crew really put a smile on my face. I had a wonderful team including Exec. Producer Candi Guterres, Assoc. Producer Debra Trevino who came into the project at different times and really helped me press forward. Our cast was also quite diverse but it was grounded by the steady day-to-day work of our two leads – Valentina de Angelis and Adam David. We put together a fantastic team and I really appreciate that. Now we have to push the film out there and this article helps us do that. Thank you Katie and Film Debate.

Thank you all so much for taking the time to talk to me, and best of luck with the movie. Find out more about Everlasting by visiting the official website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Read our review of ‘Everlasting’ here!

 

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Katie Young
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Katie Young – Author
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One Comment


  1.  
    Helen Ronald

    This looks like a really interesting and thought provoking film which explores the industry from an unconventional perspective. The comments made by the team involved were intelligent and reflected a real commitment to the project.





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