An Interview with Bellflower Director Evan Glodell

There have only been a few moments in my rabid fandom of film that a movie has hit this close to home and left me seeing myself in so much of it. Bellflower is one of those films. From the moment the film started I could tell that I was going to like it and by the time it was all over I had fallen in love. Bellflower is just that powerful of a film. So, when given the chance to interview the creator of my new favorite film, Evan Glodell, I jumped at the chance. I hope everyone has the chance to see this film and in the interview below I think you will see why. Bellflower opens in Dallas and Kansas City on September 9th for more information on the film please visit Bellflower.com.

Ryan: First off I have to say that I loved Bellflower, man.

Evan Glodell: Awesome.

Ryan: After watching it though, I was wondering who is the girl that inspired the story? Who is the girl that messed you up so bad that you wrote this?

Evan: Oh, Oh, I obviously can’t say. (Laughs) I always get mixed reactions when I tell people this, but she is still one of my closest friends to this day. She’s known about this project since I’ve first started working on it and it’s a funny thing to me because I don’t see her as the villain at all. It’s the roll she played in that one short time and obviously inspired a fairly large reaction out of me.

Ryan: Yeah, I keep telling people that it’s like (500) Days of Summer for horror fans.

Evan: (Laughs) That’s awesome.

Ryan: I know a lot of people know you built the cars and the flamethrower, but I don’t think they know how long it really took to make Bellflower. Can you run me though the process of what it took to make Bellflower?

Evan:  Oh wow. The short version?

Ryan: Yeah. (Laughs)

Evan: It took from the time that I finished the first version of the script which was in early 2004 and I had no idea how I was going to make it. I just knew that I was going to make it. So anything I thought I could do to get me closer to that, I was always casting parts. The parts were all cast for years before the production started. I was collecting props, collecting the flamethrowers and the cars whenever I had extra money. I just got to the point where I had all the stuff for the movie, so the next step is going to come at some point. It just never got to the point to where it looked like it was going to start until a certain number of years. I guess it was early 2007 when we said, “ok, we’re just going to have to do this with whatever resources we have and whoever we have.”

So, that’s when I started pushing and thinking, “Ok, I’m going to make this movie no matter what.” Then we finally started shooting in the summer of 2008. Then from there for me and a couple of the main people it was almost nonstop work to keep it going for the next two years.

Ryan: I just don’t think people realize how much of your life and money you put into this. Also, you built the lenses for the cameras and I love the way the lens work really adds to the story.  What was the inspiration behind shooting the film this way?

Evan:  Modifying lenses and hacking cameras is a hobby I got into about ten years ago. So, I was always building stuff and I always had ideas for future projects. So as I was working on this stuff and playing with stuff and I was working on the script at the same time all these ideas just started coming in. You know the script and the film has different moods, you know?

Ryan: Yeah.

Evan: Well I thought I could build different cameras to separate it visually.

Ryan: It comes off like that too. The beginning of the film is more like a dream sequence when everything is happy and at the end it’s almost bubbling from hate and everything that’s happening at the end that I don’t want to give away.

Evan: (Laughing)

Ryan: I read in a recent interview that you lost the whiskey dispensing car. Have you started building a new one or recovered the old one?

Evan: We have actually! We have not been able to find where the old one was because it’s been so long. Tyler needed a car and we found that same model that chop top Volvo on Craigslist for a $1,000. So, he just bought that a little while ago and we’re planning on making a replica. A Speed Biscuit two.

Ryan: Nice! Ok, I’m addicted to Carson Daily’s late night show. I know most people don’t get the chance to see it. Can you tell me about your Puff Daddy incident?

Evan: Oh, that whole thing was very surreal. From my point of view, I literally went from staying in my friend’s garage editing the movie and just bouncing around struggling for years, to all of a sudden we got into Sundance and all this crazy stuff started happening. I had never been on TV before, so it was already crazy that I was talking to Carson Daily and then P. Diddy walked up. Which actually scared me so bad because I looked at him and thought, “oh my god is that P. Diddy?” So I thought he must be coming to talk to Carson, he must know Carson so I just turned around and walked away. I thought, “’I’ll just stand back here and see what happens” and then they started laughing at me and grabbed me and said, “where are you going? This is your segment on the show.” Then P Diddy asked me, “Who are you, you’re a film maker, and you’re broke?” I said “Yeah,yeah,yeah”  and then he gives me a thousand dollars cash.

Ryan: And that helped you get back from SXSW?

Evan: Yes, right before we got on the show we were trying to figure out how to get back; because we had run out of gas money to drive the Medusa car from Texas back to California. Literally we were all stressing out saying “how are we going to get the money?” and obviously P Diddy gave me a $1,000 dollars and it solved the problem. We used the money to go on an extended road trip. When I got back here I bought this engraved brass plaque that is bolted under the hood of the car that says “This Name Plate is Sponsored by Sean Combs.” To have that as a part of the car seemed cool.

Ryan: That is Awesome! You have some wonderful talent for your movie, from everybody from the cast and crew. How did you get everyone to come together?

Evan: We came together naturally. It was one of those things where just working on tons of short films with friends and friends of friends and you meet people then they fall into the group of “my people.”  The same thing that anytime I saw an actor I always had my eye out for an actress to play the lead role. So I knew that it was going to be hard to find people. So any time I saw someone I thought “Oh my god that person can play Aiden.”  I saw Tyler Dawson in a play and would grab him and talk to him afterward and say, “Were going to be making this movie and you would be perfect for the part.” But it wasn’t happening then so we would just stay in touch. So we would just work on other stuff to the point where we were already really close friends when we started the movie.

Ryan: Jessie that plays Milly had to do some pretty outlandish things in the film so since you guys were friends was it easier to convince her to do those things?

Evan:  Yeah, I mean she was the first person that got involved. She was one of the first actresses I met here in town. So I started making short films with her and I was working with her at the same time I was writing the script. And I would always picture that she was going to play that part. So, she’s been involved with this project since the very beginning. So, I don’t know that there was ever a point that I ever had to convince her. It was just that the ideas were coming up and she was one of the first people that I had a conversation with early on asking “are we going to do nudity when we do our sex scenes?” “Are we going to do it tame?” We both talked about it and said no this is a movie where it should be a little more real.

Ryan: Yeah, I mean everything’s real in the movie you have to do that real. Rebekah Brandes was great as Courtney. How did you meet her?

Evan: Tyler went to school with her when he first moved to Hollywood. When we were having casting calls for another short film we were making he recommended calling her in because he said she was interesting. So we worked with her on a couple different things so after that I got to know her a bit and it clicked, “she would be perfect to play Courtney.”

Ryan: And she is and you were especially fantastic as Woodrow. Anyone that says that you shouldn’t have worn as many hats as you did is completely wrong I hope that you keep doing that because I think it adds so much more to the film.

Evan: Thank you!

Ryan: After seeing the film I’m constantly telling people that they have to see it. I’m also telling people that they shouldn’t read anything about it. Was it your intention to give it this post-apocalyptic feel, a Death Race type theme and then when you get in there it’s something completely different? Did you mean to have all the mystery surrounding the film?

Evan: No, No, I always actually imagined that it would be presented in the exact opposite way. Where people would think that it was just this indie romance. Then they would start the movie and get hits of what it really was and that they would be hit really hard in the second half when it changed. As far as all that stuff I had been asking people after if they felt like they were prepared in the wrong way or it mess them up for them. It seems like it hasn’t ruined the movie for anyone.

Ryan: I think it totally adds to it. Because all I heard down at SXSW was about the car and the flamethrower. Even everything out of Sundance seemed like that’s all anybody wanted to talk about. The spin of taking it and putting the post-apocalyptic theme into a relationship was just brilliant.

Evan: Oh, Awesome.

 

Ryan: At the end of Bellflower it literally left me speechless. Is the idea behind the ending to give that choosing your own ending feel? What do you hope happens to Woodrow after the credits roll?

Evan: In my mind after the credits roll Woodrow has moved forward in life. Doing something hopefully fun.  It’s a funny thing because for me it’s not meant to be for people to choose, but that’s obviously the way the world works.  I’ve heard people’s different versions in ways of how to break down the film. And some of them line up with how I feel about the film and some of them are totally different. But they also make sense. To me it was never meant to be a puzzle. To me the main motivation for the way the film was structured and the way that it is was always to just try and take the experience of watching it and take you on the proper emotional curve.  The first idea that came in about the movie was to try and illustrate what it was like to have your heartbroken for the first time. So, I think everything else was there to service that.

Ryan: Yeah, and it’s brilliantly put together. I think the people that start separating the way it ends is a glass half full glass-half empty type of thing. Either you really want to see him covered in blood getting his revenge or you want to see him just moving on. I love that aspect of it. So, what is next? When do we get to see your next film?

Evan: Soon hopefully. I have a script, it’s written and I don’t have a name for it yet. I wish I did so I could tell people about it. I don’t have an easy way to describe it but I’ve been talking to people and I’ve met people in the past couple months that are wanting to produce it. As soon as stuff slows down a little bit on Bellflower then I’m going to start working on that.

Ryan: Well I hope things don’t start slowing down on Bellflower. Because I hope it just sky rockets from this point. But what is the theme of your next film going to be?

Evan: Oh, that would be cool! The theme, guess I could talk about that. If Bellflower was about relationships, I feel like I’m not even qualified to say what the main themes of Bellflower are. This one would be more about ambition.

Ryan: Great. So how are you going to take that spin on ambition like you took the spin on romance and love in Bellflower?

Evan: (Laughing) You’ll have to watch the movie. I’m really excited about this new film. When I get ideas in my head I get really excited. So if people think that they had a good experience with Bellflower I imagine they will have a similar experience with this one. I think that it’s an exciting and intense project.

Ryan: Well I’m excited and I’m a huge fan now and Bellflower is amazing and I think that everyone should go see it. I have nothing but hopes for good things for you in the future. Thanks for doing the interview man.

Evan: Thanks no problem. Thank You.

by Ryan Davis

About Ryan Davis

Ryan is the Founder of Lost in Reviews, a member of The Kansas City Film Critic's Circle, and a key component in the movement to digitally restore the 1986 classic film The Gate. Ryan is also the co-host of Blu Monday a DVD and Blu Ray review show which Lost in Reviews co-founder Angela Davis also appears. While he may be a film and music snob, that doesn't mean you can't be friends. Well it could if you don't like the same bands or films he does, overall it might be best to avoid the subject all together.

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