Did anyone see this coming? The King of performance promos proves he’s got a few additional feathers in his hat, well really, Colin Tilley’s straight-up peacocked all over this one. For example; getting none-acting music stars to bring you to tears. That’s a real genre now. Mr. Happy is full of surprises be it Chance’s performance, Colin’s dark side or the narrative itself. A dark and twisted tale takes you on an emotional roller coaster as Colin delivers his usual shine laced with shudder-inducing angst. Time to update the CV we think.
Following our interview with Colin and his twin-fuelled-drug-dealing-narrative we again sat down to find out how Chance took on his role, how a 12-hour day compares to 5-days on set and what we can expect next from Team Tilley.
Word Is Cheap: How did this project come about? Did it fill you with excitement or nerves?
Colin Tilley: I have been wanting to do a narrative project for some time now. About a year ago I was playing frizbee in the park with one of my best friends David and I was telling him that I wanted to do a short really bad. We started talking about ideas and he pitched me the idea of this script that our friend Steve wrote about 6 years ago…. I got so excited that I had to read it, so that night Steve sent me the script, it wasn’t exactly what I was pitched in the park that day, so that week us three met up and wrote the script and put it all together how we envisioned it. This particular story got me so excited and I had such a clear vision right away for how I wanted to capture it, the feeling, the emotion, and aesthetic.
Coming from a music video background and shooting your own ideas, was it challenging to visualize someone else’s script?
I had so much fun taking someone else’s original story and putting my own spin on it, my own look, feeling, and emotion into a body of work. I casted the actors how I envisioned them and breathed a certain life and energy into this project that really inspired me.
How did your history in directing the world’s biggest stars help prepare you for getting an unexpectedly moving performance from Chance?
Honestly I think at this point, it was about being able to adapt to different personalities. I’ve always been a people person and can always find a way to click w/ different personality types; luckily working w/ Chance was a breeze. He was so down to earth and so into the role, that he took it in his stride. Crazy enough we never got a rehearsal day together until the actual day of the shoot due to his busy schedule I just had to trust my gut that he was the guy for the job. My friends thought I was fucking crazy. Fast forward to the night before the shoot I went to his house and he threw the plastic bag on his head and didnt take it off till he almost passed out… lets just say a big weight dropped from my shoulders at that moment because it was exactly as I had been imagining it. Next day and for the next week Chance and I would just work closely on set and walk through things to a high extent before each scene, I made sure to shape the setting around him as accurate as I could to what the feeling of the scene should feel like, so he could step in and feel right in character. Chance handled it like a champ.
There’s a powerful sense of dread for large parts, something which people don’t naturally associate with your style, how did you prepare to capture these moments so well?
This was the most important part of picking this project, I wanted to make sure it was something that people had never seen from me, I’ve always been drawn to darker stories, movies, and imagery. When creating this project I had to distance myself from all the other projects was doing and really distance myself from the normality of my life and step into a darker head space. It was actually a really good challenge for myself and I fully invested all my energy into it, that’s why I feel like it’s such a special project.
Was shooting over five days a help or a hindrance compared to the stress-filled 12-hour music video shoots?
Shooting for more than 2 days was a blessing, was the best experience of my life being able to be on set for 5 consecutive days, for one the whole crew is much more invested into the project, and everyone got really close during the process. Plus that constant timer I have in my head during a shoot had an extension tied onto it. I think that the last 5 years of being on a music video set and being limited to a 12-14 hour shoot day was the best boot camp for a film, I was able to maximize every day in full effect and I was really comfortable in this setting so I could really have time and space to work with my actors and learn something new. Being on set is where I feel most comfortable.
With your last two pieces being narrative, where do you see your future?
All I want to do is keep telling stories, over the last 5 days the response I’ve gotten on this film has been incredible, it’s touched so many peoples lives, and all I want to do is keep being true to people’s real emotions, telling real stories about real people w/ a darker twist. I am already working on several really cool projects that are going to keep taking my filmmaking to another level.