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Talking ‘Alive’

author: kaitlynn nordal | staff writer


Moving pictures in still images / Alive Film

Check out this deep discussion behind the film

Imagine waking up bruised and bloody with no memory of what happened or where you are with a man claiming to be a doctor taking care of you.

That is what happens to the two main characters in Rob Grant’s new movie, Alive.

Writers and producers Jules Vincent and Chuck McCue got the idea after a commercial came on during a writing session.

“We saw it and thought ‘what about this? what about that?’” said Vincent.

Since Vincent and McCue had a particular vision for the movie in their heads, they did not want to go with just anyone as co-producers or director.

After careful thought and consideration, Vincent and McCue reached out to 775 Media Corp. based out of Calgary, Alberta.

Co-owner of 775 Media Corp. Mike Peterson, who also helped produce the movie, liked the script, so he sent it along to Grant.

“We were just finishing up Fake Blood and Knuckleball when the company was approached by Chuck and Jules to produce(it),” he said, “(and) my name got thrown into the mix. We hit it off on the phone.”

Vincent appreciated that Grant understood they were going for an older John Carpenter-style horror movie.

This was Grant’s first time directing something he had not written, so it was a learning experience for him.

“There were some growing pains in how I attacked and put a spin on the story. There were growing pains with the emotional connection, because there was only a month of prep beforehand where usually I know every little thing about the characters.”

Camille Stopps, who plays the female protagonist in the movie, first heard about t it from Peterson and Grant who she had previously known.

Stopps feels that getting the part roughly three days before production day actually helped her do a better job at the part as then she wasn’t overanalyzing her character and could just get right into it.

Even though they filmed the movie in only 16 days Stopps never felt pressure for perfection.

“Sometimes as an actor you’re put in a position where the pressure is to do it well or get it right when really your best work comes out of being able to try and fail … we had an awareness of the time pressure and needing to nail it but Tom (Cocquerel) and I… have both shot features and episodic work in the past so were able to show up and do it well and professionally and really just have to work on the characters and the subtlety of the performance.”

 

“It was actually a really exhausting process shooting this,” Stopps said. “My character is so emotionally vulnerable and exposed and ripped apart … she doesn’t have anything to hold onto in terms of who she is or where she is or why she’s there… I don’t know if there’s a scene where we didn’t try a take where there were tears streaming down my face and breaking down in the scene.”

Thomas Cocquerel, who plays the male protagonist in the movie, first heard about the movie after the script came through his agent.

“Chuck and Jules had just seen Table 19 and I guess they wanted me,” said Cocquerel.

“I wanted to do something a little darker and I had never done horror before,” he said. “I don’t really agree with dark films that don’t have hope. Even though there is that horror formula it’s about not giving up and about hope as well.”

Having just finished filming Spare Room in only 10 days, Cocquerel was ready for the tight schedule of filming Alive.

“You have to stay at level 10 (as an actor),” he said. “One of the most exhausting things was constantly changing sets and staying at that level.”

Even though it was for different reasons, both Stopps and Cocquerel agree it was important to their characters to try to get out because they had this feeling there was something or someone on the outside waiting for them.

Since he invested so much time and effort into this movie, Vincent is happy it has been winning so many awards at the film festivals it has been a part of.

“It is slowly sinking in. It is a pleasant surprise. You want investors to be happy, but to have people think it’s legitimately good is great, eye opening.”

Stopps feels the same way.

“The recognition and the award nominations and wins have been really wonderful.  It was a really nice surprise. I wasn’t expecting to get that first nomination and then it came in and the writers and producers called and emailed me and were just so happy with my performance and what I did. That’s really encouraging and confidence building.”

“It’s so exiting. I’m really pleased for Chuck, Jules and Rob,” Cocquerel said. “They put so much work into that really great to see it pay off for them.  The greatest pleasure is seeing how happy they are about it.”

Vincent is currently working on getting a movie called Mister One Hundred into production, which is the mostly true life story of Leighton Rees.

Grant is in the final stages of editing Harpoon, which he describes as a rated “R” Seinfeld episode meets Polanski’s A Knife In The Water.

Stopp’s romantic comedy, Beginners Luck, is scheduled for release soon.  She will also be in the second season of the Toronto-based web series Running with Violet.

Over the next year, Cocquerel has many new films coming out.  Spare Room is about a war veteran with PTSD.  In Like Flynn is a biopic about Errol Flynn’s early life in Australia and a trip he took along the coast of Papua New Guinea before becoming famous. Celeste is the story about a boy and step mother and how they deal with their grief.

About Kaitlynn Nordal

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