They Look Like People Interview with MacLeod Andrews and Evan Dumouchel
It’s really not a secret that I am a huge fan of the movie They Look Like People. I did a deep dive on the movie recently, and have just fallen in love with this small budget thriller. I know that a lot of you are looking for huge hooks and amazing surprises – and that isn’t this movie. But it surprises emotionally. And for me I was totally caught off guard by the poignancy of this movie over all. Surprised enough that I decided to go find some of the guys involved with the making of this amazing movie.
It goes without saying that if you’ve been through this site even once before you know that I am a huge fan of small films with big ideas. Movies like, oh I don’t know, Midnight Special, Time Lapse and maybe Synchronicity… small small movies with massive cajones. And They Look Like People is exactly that, a small film with huge ideas. Ideas of alien invasion, paranoia, friendship, love and redemption.
So I decided to go and find the two main characters in the film, Wyatt and Christian. Wyatt is played by MacLeod Andrews, who was also in Found in Time, Split, but is primarily known for his work in audio book narration. He happened to have voiced over one of my favorite books of the past couple years, Illuminae. Which makes me a bit giddy to say out loud. And Christian is played by Evan Dumouchel who has been in Movie 43, and 40 Days and Nights among other films. And thankfully, they were both kind enough to let me pester them for a bit and try and get some answers to the riddles of the movie – as well as some inside ideas about how the movie was made. Have I mentioned I adore this movie lately? Because I do. And you really should go see it. And if you haven’t experienced it yet… you’re going to need to step away from this conversation because I’m going to interlace a pile of spoilers about the movie as we go. Also, I have edited the comments to look like normal human interactions as opposed indiscernible tweets. (And maybe I put words in their mouths to say, ‘TAYLOR IS OUR NEW BEST FRIEND.” Ok, so I didn’t. But I wanted to.)
Alright? Fair enough? Then let’s away!
THE CREATION OF THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE
MacLeod: “HUGE faith. He’s immensely talented and capable. Wicked mix of passion and technical ability.”
The backstory to this is that Perry Blackshear, the writer and director of They Look Like People actually had a script ready and in the can. And at the last minute, right before he flew Evan and MacLeod out to New York he threw the script away. I would have preferred to chat with Perry Blackshear personally in order to find out if this incident was apocryphal or not. But I did find an interview where Blackshear mentioned that “The original inspiration behind the film is that I wanted to work with the actors because they are all my old friends and we have been wanting to make a movie for a very long time. So I bought them plane tickets, because they live in LA and I live in New York, even before I had a script. I said to them that they were coming over to New York and we’re going to do something. I had a different script that I trashed right before we started shooting and I wrote this one very fast.”
Taylor: “I hear that you guys are all working on another film together? Is that true?”
MacLeod: “We are working on another film. And another. And hopefully another!”
Taylor: “Have you seen Mark Duplass’ SXSW talk?” – I’ve talked about it out here before, and I probably should let it go, but man is it a fantastic call to action for small, low budget movie makers.
MacLeod: “Haven’t watched that Mark Duplass vid. Will do!”
Taylor: “It’s 100% about what you and your friends are doing.. Which is, not waiting for the cavalry. Envious!”
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH
Taylor: “Probably the most poignant moment for your character Christian was his listening to the motivational quotes… were they voiced by his Christian’s fiance?
Evan: “Yes they were.”
Taylor: “Do we know how Christian and his fiance split?”
Evan: “This is another one we’ll leave up to the viewer. Don’t want to cloud the experience with my thoughts on it.”
Taylor: “Major bummer, no comment on how they broke up? Hrmm. Personally I think Christian was dumped by her fiance because of steroids for sure. To follow up Evan, both you and MacLeod definitely had very deep characters and played out both their demons very well. It was a perfectly balanced performance from both of you.”
Evan: “We put in a strong effort to have everybody fighting their own battles/demons. It’s nice to hear that perspective from you!”
Taylor: “I think your character, Christian might have even grown even more than Wyatt in this movie. Christian is so obviously fighting with his past & at war with himself. The motivational quotes, what we saw between Christian and Wyatt in that little 1 on 1 basketball game, the weightlifting, & then he loses his job, and his is fiance… and yet he saves Wyatt? Not to mention himself?
Evan: “Can’t weigh in on which character grew more, but I can say that working with MacLeod Andrews helped me grow as an actor. For sure.”
Taylor: “The big outstanding question for me from the movie is this, did Wyatt kill his fiancé? Do you have ideas as to what happened to her? At the end I assumed not, but…”
MacLeod: “We definitely know the answer to that for us, but more curious what others think. You think he didn’t?”
Taylor: “Ok now I’m confused. Maybe it was Christian that stopped the insanity. Maybe “you” did kill “your” fiancé, & then was stopped by Christian’s faith in him. Yeah, MacLeod, I think your character, Wyatt, killed his fiancé. There I said it.
“ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?!?”
Taylor (to Evan): “Now, let’s jump in super deep here (I asked Macleod this too, but I’m curious as to your take) Do you believe that Wyatt killed his fiance?”
Evan: “No way can I weigh in on that. We’ve got our opinions, but no more right than whatever is formed from film experience.”
Taylor: “GAH! The twof of you! MacLeod said the same frustrating thing. I just know that the two of you are conspiring I know it. (Shhh lets tease the fanboy, fun!!) hah.
But this is one of the HUGE/BIG/MASSIVE questions of the film. Both Christian and Wyatt have up until recently had fiance’s. Right? With Christian, we see snippets of that relationship with him listening to her voice reading the motivational phrases. (Which I personally think he’s listening to not for motivation, but to remember her… but that’s just me.)
And then we have Wyatt’s fiance. We opened with him staring into her face. And we are left wondering… what happened to her? Did he actually kill her? There is ZERO indication throughout the rest of the film one way or another. And I have looked high and low for the script to this film (not a script that is just a quoting of the audio – but an early draft of the film before it was edited) but found nothing. What are your thoughts? Do you think Wyatt killed his fiance’?
ENDING OF THE FILM
Taylor: “The best line in the film was by Christian who said to your character Wyatt, ‘Trust me to trust you…’ was the movie headed to that distinct moment from the beginning?”
Macleod: “I think it was heading to that act of bravery, yes. Kind of an ultimate expression of friendship.”
Taylor: “Your line that went something like, “Trust me to trust you” – is possibly the most trusting and loving lines ever in a movie – especially knowing what we know about Christian. And it was also the cornerstone of the movie – can you talk a little bit about that scene and that experience?”
Evan: “Taylor, the crux of the scene for me, came from long conversation with Perry (the director). Huge credit to him seeing trust as action. Trust as strength.”
Taylor: Such a poignant response Evan – Brilliant. Pure, selfless love is such a rare thing it’s mind blowing to see it, especially film.
Which brings this awesome conversation to close. We talked about a few other things and random platitudes. For example, the two of them are pretty sure that they want me to star in the next film that they are in. I brought such passion to this interview, and such pathos… they said, we are talking to Perry. You are definitely in. Just keep a bag packed and ready to go.
I think I’ve decided that I’m just going to have to write my own script – get it onto the Blacklist and then sold. That’s what I’m going to have to do. Now if only I had any sort of clue about script writing. If only. hahaha. Until next time guys.