Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Actor's Corner: David Boyle, BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO

Writer and director David Boyles comedy BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO (Screening Saturday, 3/24 at 12:00PM and Sunday, 3/25 at 12:00PM) is a bizarre, yet charming story of an off beat teaming of a young American man yearning to be a Japanese businessman and his Japanese-American roommate who yearns to be a sumo wrestler. The film has a lot going for it, not the least of which is Boyle's odd ball performance as the young man desperate who can translate Japanese flawlessly, but struggles to translate the world he wants to be a part of with the one he actually lives in.

Q: You wrote and directed BIG DREAMS LITTLE TOKYO, but we are going to focus on your work as the star of the film. First off, do you think your director gave you enough close ups? And just between us, how much did you improvise from the script that was given you?

A: We had a really tight shooting schedule - about 19 days total - so there really wasn't any room to improvise that much. When Rachel Morihiro arrived to play the part of Mai, she and I ad libbed a little bit. But we tried to stick with the script as much as possible.

Q: Did you do a lot of rehearsals before shooting? And if so, do you think they benefited you more as an actor or as a director?

A: We did some rehearsal, but since most of our actors were out of LA, the time was extremely limited. For some scenes, our rehearsals were limited to a few times before we rolled camera.

Q: How difficult was it to deliver a performance as an actor when part of you had to focus on all of the other issues and challenges inherent with directing the film?

A: It was more exhausting than anything else. Luckily, the character I play is somewhat of a robot, so it didn’t take much to get into the deadpan mood of the role. The hardest thing was trying to be the infallible director at the same time that I was missing my marks and blowing my lines as an actor!

Q: Was there any point where you considered casting someone else in the lead role, or would that have been too difficult due to the language issues?

A: It was pretty much an uncastable role. I come from a garage band tradition of filmmaking where you do everything yourself, so it made sense to play the lead role. When I was younger, I wanted to be an Albert Brooks, or Woody Allen type actor-director, but now that I got it out of my system I can move on and do new things!

Q: How did you negotiate saying "cut" at the conclusion of a scene?

A: I had my First A.D. Jonny Craddock say both "action" and "cut" for any scene that I was in. That made things easier.

Q: Any schizophrenic moments on the set due to the different hats you were wearing?

A: No schizophrenic moments per se. But plenty of hectic ones. During the climactic Tatami Room negotiation scene, we were so short on time that I rarely had a chance to check the viewfinder (not to mention that I was in the background of many of the shots). I really had to trust my cinematographer, Bill Otto but somehow it magically turned out to be my favorite scene in the movie. It pays to have great collaborators.

Q: Honestly, how many takes did you choose in editing because you thought you looked really good in that scene?

A: Any shot where I looked good got cut! Honestly, I was trying to make my character look ridiculous wherever possible. Hopefully I succeeded. Some people watch the movie without ever knowing it's me, and I hope people don’t get my character mixed up with my true personality.


By John Wildman, Staff Writer