Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday's with Blinky: Choice (in Chris' own words)


  This film drew its inspiration from a thought I had back in 2008 upon hearing about the deaths of Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger, who died less than a week a part from each other. I was on IMDB at the time and noticed that Mr. Renfro, immediately upon the news of his demise, had shot to the number one spot on the IMDB Star meter. It was mentioned that he was depressed though his death was ruled accidental. Then not but a day or two later, several of his movies were on TV and there were memorial articles being written about him. Now as usual when a celebrity dies, the Hollywood machine capitalizes on the fallen and milks their names for all it's worth.

  But the kicker, happened literally seven days later when Heath Ledger died. His death shocked the world and completely overshadowed Mr. Renfro's death ten fold. He was yesterday's news before he was even allowed to be mourned. This is where the concept of "Choice" began. Hollywood's superficiality of mourning the dead, was exposed, to me at least. Suddenly all of the complaints about Ledger's Joker performance or look, took an immediate backseat to the epic larger than life icon he was becoming. He was the new Brandon Lee. And Brad Renfro's memorial was left in the hands of only his core fans, friends and family.

  I am indifferent to Brad Renfro's career. I have no preference either way about him, but I was very shocked at how quickly he was forgotten in the wake of Heath Ledger's death. I felt it was rude.

  Then I began wondering about how the "idea of suicide". We all get depressed, but at what point does suicide actually seem like a good option, especially to someone who might be a celebrity. I do not care how depressed anyone is, if you are financially well to do, there are plenty of ways to make your life more fulfilling. Drugs and alcohol are never an answer.

  As I began thinking about what happened to Mr. Renfro, I read up on Jonathan Brandis who hung himself back in 2003, sighting how he didn't think he would ever "make it" as an adult actor. It was on this concept that "Choice" was born. I began researching fallen actors and noted how their deaths affected their careers. I began to see a pattern in behavior, both by the victims and by the public. Critics really never had anything bad to say about the dead. It truly is in poor taste. And I thought to myself, "its a friggin' loophole." And more so, what if the fallen had this option presented to them? What if the thought of suicide was a glorious choice? Where they will forever be honored and remembered as icons, legends etc? To a weak minded person, this could seem incredibly appealing. Within moments of this realization, I began scripting a story about a suicidal actor who is presented with that very option. I called it "Choice".

  The script originally was set to feature a male actor and a male Choice. Since I was inspired by the demise of male actors, I felt it befitting. But due to scheduling conflicts, I was forced to put the project on hold and literally could not properly cast it for three years. I tried everything from holding auditions for replacement actors, to even casting twins. No one could handle the part. It wasn't until 2011, while knee deep in filming "Stand Off" that I said, "holy shit, I should cast Mandy as Choice and Kerri as the actress".

  Long story short, after rigorous rehearsing, scene blocking and just hours upon hours of character discussion, Mandy, Kerri and I finally made "Choice". And I have never been more proud of a project as I am with this one. These women brought their "A" game and did not quit. They went all out for their parts. Well beyond their individual comfort zones and it shows.

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