The Source Magazine had the opportunity to speak with Director Alexandre Moors and actor Isaiah Washington about their new film “Blue Caprice,” which is now playing. Check out our exclusive interviews below.
Q: How’d you get involved with Blue Caprice?
Washington: It found me, man. Apparently they had been looking for me. I still don’t use an agent, manager, PR person, anything like that because I was just completely out of the game, system, wasn’t really looking for anything. I had already did some low budget…independent films that I believed in that paid a little money here and there and I wasn’t looking for the typical…Hollywood thing after going through everything I went through, I just checked out. Just rebuilding my brand via Facebook, twitter, talking to my fans who have been immensely supportive and being connected to the world as a global citizen…I just broke out of this idea of the Hollywood process and it’s been working and that’s how “Blue Caprice” came to me, on Facebook. I picked up the phone, called the producer, he told me what it was, I said, ‘Oh whoa. Wrong spiel, no way in hell I’m playing the D.C. sniper for a biopic. Ain’t happening.’ He said, ‘Oh no no no no, it’s not a biopic. It’s based on true events, if you just please check out the director. He doesn’t want to hire anyone else. We’ve been waiting, we’ve got to go, we’re about to lose our money, if we don’t move now. This window of opportunity is going to go away.’ I told them, ‘Oh wow, I read a little bit, the synopsis, I’m interested.’ He said, ‘that’s great, but we need you to make a decision like, really really soon because we’ve got to go in September.’ [Laughs] This is like the end of July and I was like, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, not so fast. I got a birthday coming up in August. My daughter…we traditionally go to Palm Springs. I’m not going to be accessible,’ and they said, ‘No problem. We don’t have a script,’ and I was like, ‘Oh really?’ [Laughs] The script wasn’t completed! He said, ‘If you could just read this letter and talk to the director he’ll tell you what we wants to do. We don’t have all the money, we don’t have all the script, we think this guys really talented and he wants you.’…Then when I finally got the script and the story I said, ‘Oh my God!’… although they’re fictional characters it was based on true events so the characters were actually doing things in the film that the real perpetrators did. So right away he was blurring the lines of what people were going to be watching or think they’re watching right when he was already messing with your head. You know, you were watching the vision, the narrative of the genius of R.F.I Porto and Alexandre Moors, but we get it. Very allegorical…very… not opaque, but minimal, restrained… the normalcy of it all is probably the most chilling.
Q: In the film, you spend the majority of the movie with Tequan, if not all of the movie with him. What was it like working with him?
Washington: What you see is what you get, man. I see a star being born every day and I told him, ‘I’m here to support you bro. I’m your supporting actor. They may both say we’re leads, but I’m here for you kid.’ I’ve had some great opportunities and this is gonna be a hot film, but he’s at the beginning and the end of the movie, so that tells you whose movie this really is. I just said, ‘If you don’t get nominated for a major award or if people can’t see your value then I’ve wasted my freakin’ time,’ and that really, really, really would be sad because I believe him and this film and his performance and Alexandre so much.
Q: The chemistry that you and Tequan share in the film…the film lives or dies on it and it thrives, did you two do anything to build that chemistry up off set?
Washington: Well because we had little to no budget we were forced to live in the same trailer. Everybody lived in the trailer! Hair, makeup, wardrobe, production. This one little horrible trailer that I think maybe James Cagney had, you know, back in the ‘30s…That trailer was so old and dingy that when it rained all my shit got wet, it was horrific. I didn’t know if the producers were just doing that to us to put us in this isolated, dark, meager, backwards feeling. Whatever it was, we got used to having nothing. It just made us bond even more.
Q: Going back to working with Alexandre, you mentioned looking at his work before agreeing to appear in the film. Was working with Alexandre everything you thought it would be?
Washington: He exceeded all my expectations. I fell in love with the Runaway piece. Do yourself a favor, go to Alexandre Moors website and check out his work and see how diverse it is and I’m like, ‘This guy must have like, quadruple…quintuplet personalities. All of the work is completely different from the other.’ How do you pull that off, then I realized…wait a minute, that’s how I am! I was like, ‘Oh wait a minute. I think I met a kindred spirit.’
Q: What made you decide that this was the perfect idea for your first feature film?
Moors: Well, believe me you never know that in advance, but I think what attracted me to this particular subject was…this particular story was, first and foremost, was something pragmatic, was that the settings were extremely simple and minimal. We had absolutely no money to make this film when I first sat down with my screenwriter R.F.I Porto and my D.P. Brian O’Carroll, and so here was a story that really took place between two characters who are training in the forest for the most part. When they don’t do that, they drive around in a single car. It was really something that…I couldn’t find such an ideal restrained setting that I could have filmed. On top of that, I was very attracted to the idea that this minimal setting will actually play against something that is very large that is the question of violence in America. I really was wrestling with this huge theme and this huge problem, this huge cancer that we’re facing in the nation and attacking it through the most simple and minimal narrative device which is a father and a son on a journey.
Q: You put together a great cast with Isaiah, Tequan, Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams. What was it like working with all of them?
Moors: It’s very different for all of them. It’s really something…I’ve shot many music videos, I’ve spent days behind a camera, but this being my first feature, it was really the first time I’ve had to direct extremely seasoned actors. So it was probably the newest and most challenging part of my job. They all worked very differently and so you have to speak to them differently, so that’s something there’s no recipe for that you have to learn over a few days. Tim Blake Nelson for instance loves to improvise. He never says the same line twice and he does it in a very generous manner because he’s really playing a supporting character and he loves to support the other actors and inform the other actors behind the scenes. But Isaiah for instance is the opposite. He’s a monster of an actor, but he works very well when you have very precise constraints. You have to really map out exactly what the physical direction is and then he can take off. But he needs very, very precise marking.
Q: What made Isaiah and Tequan perfect for their roles?
Moors: Isaiah was my first and only choice for this part. I’ve been a fan of his for a long, long time. I honestly couldn’t think of anybody else that would be able to play John. What I really, really appreciated from his acting skill set is…what it showed me in his earlier films like Clint Eastwood’s “True Crime,” he’s a master of emotional subtleties that was needed for the character of John…We’re riding a fine line where the audience is in a position to feel some empathy for the character and at the same time despise him and reject him. All those conflicting emotions need to happen at the same time and you need an actor who can carry that and work on being in gray, gray shades, a gray zone. He’s a master at that…And Tequan was something else. He comes from a television background. He’s been an actor all his life, he’s extremely technical. What I was most attracted to in Tequan was his profile. In our film, the character of Lee was going to be in every frame for an hour and a half and a lot of it in close ups, so I had to have somebody whose face is expressive and interesting and beautiful enough so that you don’t get tired of watching it. Somebody says that the art of cinema is the art of filming faces, of capturing faces as landscapes. Tequan, for me, has the physical quality of Brando that you can never get tired of scrutinizing, which was obviously further more important because his character has hardly no lines of dialogue in the film. Obviously, all that was extremely new for him, so it was an interesting challenge since he usually plays light comedy and it was a total reversal for him.
Q: Do you have any plans for your next film?
Moors: Yes, R.F.I Porto and myself are sitting down and currently writing a film that takes place in the organ traffic world. So we’ll be shooting that soon hopefully.