Home Interviste Matt Pearson: waiting for “The negotiator” (English version)

Matt Pearson: waiting for “The negotiator” (English version)

Matt with drone
Matt in suit
Matt in suit

Cari lettori, questa intervista potrete leggerla in una doppia versione, all’inizio la traduzione in italiano, a seguire la versione originale in inglese dell’intervista a Matt Pearson.
Dear readers, this interview you can read it in two versions, first the Italian translation, to follow the original English version of the interview to Matt Pearson.

Ciao Matt, nice to meet you, how are you?
I’m excited, nice to meet you too, thanks for having me.

How long have you lived in the US and why did you leave your country?
I have only lived in the US for 3 months earlier this year to start building a foundation there, I am now back in New Zealand and Australia for a little bit. I am planning on heading back to LA in a couple of weeks. Ever since I was a kid I have loved California and knew I would live and work there.

Our “sources” in Hollywood tell us that you are a young director but very talented and guaranteed success (fingers crossed!). Why, in your opinion, do people think that about you? What did you do that sparked this interest in your work?
Ha, well if my success is guaranteed then I’m buying the drinks! Haha… It’s an amazing life to follow your dreams and take action to make it real, just doing that has a certain successful feeling to it. I realized a while back that the best part of it is getting to journey with other people and work together creatively and passionately, so any success I have will always be because of other people doing it with me.

How did your career start? What difficulties did you find?
My career started when I was 19 years old, I had just completed a 2 year certificate in Mechanical Engineering but my heart was screaming at me to follow my dreams of Hollywood movie making, it wasn’t whispering, it was yelling!. I visualized my future if I continued with engineering, even if I had lots of money, a large house with 2 cars in the driveway, a safe life… I would always be wondering “what if” I had followed what I really want to do and who I really want to be in life. I am from a small town in New Zealand and I even told some of my friends about my aspirations, I’ll always remember the response one of my friends gave me… “Yeah right” he said, as if it was the craziest thing he had ever heard. I went away and thought about it, my inner voice just said “People make movies and I’m a person so therefore I can make movies”. I’m certainly glad I’ve always had a loud and strong inner voice that overrides other people’s “play it safe” opinions. I then flew to Sydney Australia with a suitcase of clothes and $200. I started working day jobs and making short films on the weekends.

How did your passion for cinema begin?
I’d say I was born with a Passion for cinema, I certainly can’t remember a time before loving the magic of movies and the excitement of show business.

Have you ever thought to leave everything? Did you ever think of giving up?
I’ve thought about it plenty but the truth is, I don’t know how to give up! That was something I never learned as a kid and it stuck with me as an adult! I would be happier dying trying than living giving up.

What did you tell to your parents when you informed them that you wanted to do this work: hard, difficult and full of pitfalls?
They thought I wanted to do film making as a hobby, they didn’t really understand how I could realistically do it as a career until I made my first feature length action movie and it got picked up for distribution. I totally understand their fears as they are “play it safe” people… me… I’d rather die in a blaze of glory than get old having never really lived.

Since you started what is the best thing that you love to remember? And the worst thing?
It’s hard to choose just one because I’ve had so many amazing experiences. Completing my first short film for me will always be great to remember. Suppose a film director from New Zealand went to Sydney (Australia) where they do not sell plastic toy BB guns because they are illegal. In that case the director he could call his sister in New Zealand, where these are legal. His sister could go into a local sports shop and easily buy two black plastic toy guns. Then, she could take them apart and send them piece by piece by post to her brother. At this point of the story, the director could reassemble them in Sydney and use them in his film. Sure, It might happen that the shooting would have been filmed on the roof of an apartment, and that a stranger from the laundry on the roof of the apartment, where he went to wash his clothes, could see everything and could have called the police. The police might take action immediately, but not knowing that there were two plastic guns, they could have only confiscated one of them, and leave the other in the bag, and once the police had left the set of filming, the director at that point could take the second gun out to finish the film. Only then the director could break the rules to finish his movie … this could be, and I repeat could be, a funny story that happened to me!

Overall, my biggest love for movie making is when I get to work with people I really connect with and also the indescribably satisfying feeling you get whenever you finish a film, it is literally a magical feeling.

Have you ever had to make compromises in order to get ahead in your job? In Italy often and unfortunately this is a “must”. What was your experience with this?
I have certainly made lots of sacrifices! I was always called by the distant lights so I travelled away from friends and family to fulfill my calling in life. I get to visit them but I spend most of my time moving around and living in different places and learning as much as I can about life while on my way to settling in California.

When you were a child, what were your myths in the world of cinema? Who were your teachers? Who inspires you as a director with proven experience and great successful?
When I was a child I was full of amazement and wonder, actually I still am now as an adult! Cinema certainly captivated me as well as new technology and space travel. The belief that anything is possible really resonated with me. I was hugely inspired by anyone striving to be the best version of themselves. In cinema, my favorite director of all time is James Cameron, I have totally lost count of how many times I have seen Aliens, Terminator 2 and True Lies! Absolute GOLD!

Which are the actors who you would want in all of your films? There are directors who cannot do without their favorite actors and call them always. Do you have actors or actresses who you want have always in your films?
Actually I do! An amazing person and actor Jason Energy Lewis. He was born in Hawaii and raised in Sweden. We met years back in Wellington and hit it off straight away, we ended up living together and making lots of shorts films. We had movie posters all around the house and images of healthy food on the walls in the kitchen and I always had my camera set up on a display shelf so we could spontaneously run out and film something. We had no money but we were having a ball, he would often call me up at 1am when his crappy scooter would break down on his way home from security work and I would drive to pick him up, then we would get home and I would show him the latest editing and visual effects I had done on the last thing we filmed and we would both jump around excited like little kids!
Jason is so great to work with as he is so enthusiastic as well as intelligent and talented. He can wear anything and look good and he has so much on screen presence. He can break-dance, do martial arts and his own stunts including flips, very versatile. We have had countless adventures together and I look forward to us living in the same city again.

Ours is an Italian magazine read mainly by people of show business and cinema. What do you think of Italian cinema in the last five / six years? Been to Italian cinema of today?
I watch mostly Hollywood films so I don’t know much about Italian cinema but a few years back I was dating a Belgium makeup artist and she got me onto European films. I loved the rawness and realness of the drama but I did find a lot of European films to be sad. I think a lot of people find it easier to connect with “real” films that mirror society but I’d much rather be uplifted and inspired and feel like anything is possible.

Do you have an Italian actor or actress that you would like to work with you in one of your next film?
Yes I do, when I was in LA earlier this year I met an awesome actress Monica Vallero and I worked with her on a short film I shot while I was there. She was great to work with and I could tell she could do a lot more than the small role she played in this short film so I would love to have her in more of my films and explore her in bigger roles.

What are you working on now? When will we see your next film?
I am finishing up on the action comedy short I shot in LA called “The Negotiator” just waiting on the music score to be completed. I am also in development for my next action feature film called “Salvage”, if all goes well I will get to film it early next year.
Matt, the two movies of which we’ve talked about with such enthusiasm, the one you have almost done, “The Negotiator”, and the other of which you will begin filming in early 2016, “Salvage”, can you tell us something with respect to the cast and when the movies will come out in the cinema in the US and Europe?
The cast of “The Negotiator” is made up of actors who I met in Los Angeles after just arriving. It will be a surprise to discover the cast in the short film when it comes out. When “The Negotiator” is finished, it will be loaded on social media like Facebook and YouTube. The feature film “Salvage”, I’m working on, is in the early stages of development and I do not want to say any more: let it be a mystery!

How do you manage the emotional life, the love, the hard work and intensity of what you do?
I am very passionate so yeah it can get intense but it’s a pleasurable intense. There are definitely times during making a movie that are extremely stressful and you get run down but that’s only because you care so much about the film being as good as it possibly can be so you push and push and even when you’re exhausted you just push harder. It is all a choice though, no one is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to make movies, I have a burning desire to do it so that is how you deal with the difficulties, you just think about the fact that you still want to do it even when it gets tough. Then when you finish a film you get such a great feeling that all the hard work and sacrifices are worth it.

Would we see you in one of our Festivals? Do you prefer Rome or Venice? And if so, when?
Wow, I would be honored to have a film in a festival there, I have never been to any of Europe so I couldn’t choose between Rome and Venice… I might have to flip a coin! I definitely want to travel around Europe soon! I hear Italy is beautiful and amazing! Look out for me, I’ll be the guy running around with a camera rounding up anyone enthusiastic to make a movie!

Thank you for taking your precious time for our magazine, and good luck for your work.
Wow, thank you for having me and good luck also for your magazine!

Sono un appassionato di cinema, e come tale, quando guardo un film, mi lascio trascinare dalla narrazione e dalla successione delle scene. Guardo il film con ingenuità percettiva, non condizionata e non inquinata da sovrastrutture e preconcetti culturali, che non siano ovviamente quelle della mia personale esperienza di vita con i suoi vissuti e le emozioni (gioie e dolori) che hanno caratterizzato la mia storia e delle quali certamente non posso spogliarmi. Quello che a me interessa, quando guardo un film, sono solo le emozioni che ho provato. Quello che poi cerco di raccontare è il messaggio che mi è arrivato, le emozioni che ho vissuto e “subìto”, il pathos che mi è stato trasmesso durante la visione del film. Il cinema è l’espressione artistica contemporanea più completa e straordinaria che l’uomo potesse inventarsi. E se un film è in grado di suscitare emozioni, allora quel film non ha età. Come non ha età un brano musicale, come non ha età un dipinto importante, come non ha età una scultura straordinaria. Chi potrebbe, infatti, mai dire ascoltando un brano dei Beatles che quella è musica superata? Chi potrebbe mai dire guardando un quadro di Van Gogh che quello è un dipinto antiquato? Chi potrebbe mai dire guardando “La pietà” di Michelangelo che quella è una scultura anacronistica? Il cinema, così come qualsiasi vera arte, deve essere svestito dell’elemento tempo e della componente commerciale usa-e-getta che gli hanno appiccicato addosso i grandi produttori, le potenti lobby dei distributori internazionali, e talvolta anche alcuni registi che puntano più al business che alla qualità del prodotto. Il concetto commerciale di “consumismo” non appartiene e non può avere nulla a che fare con l’opera d’arte, e quindi neanche con il buon cinema. I film che io commento non tengono conto dell’anno di produzione e non tengono conto del tempo che è passato dalla sua prima proiezione. Il mio “sguardo” non è certamente quello dell’esperto critico cinematografico professionista che, essendo un grande conoscitore di film, registi, attori, tecniche di montaggio, fotografia, costumi, etc… etc…, ed avendo visto migliaia e migliaia di film, ha inesorabilmente perduto la spontaneità e l'innocenza osservativa ed emozionale dello spettatore comune che va al cinema, o vede un film a casa, con il solo intimo obiettivo di provare delle emozioni e distrarsi dalla sua quotidianità e dalle sue preoccupazioni. Il critico, con le sue complesse ed erudite sovrastrutture cinematografiche, ha perduto la componente più spontanea che un uomo, un osservatore/spettatore, deve possedere: l'innocenza dello sguardo e la libertà di lasciarsi trascinare dalle emozioni che si sprigionano da un’opera d’arte e ti colpiscono dritto al cuore ed alle membra. L’arte è qualcosa che sta tra l’oggetto e la persona. Non si trova né nell’oggetto, né nella persona: ma si materializza emozionalmente nel loro reciproco incontro. Da questo punto di vista, i critici cinematografici sono imprigionati in griglie di lettura che li costringono ad una amorfa parcellizzazione e settorializzazione dell'opera d'arte cinematografica e, pertanto, non sono più in grado di vedere la componente emozionale olistica e al contempo gestaltica del film. Quello che io penso è che non dobbiamo “fidarci” dei critici cinematografici professionisti, ma dobbiamo imparare a fidarci di noi stessi, di quello che sentiamo quando vediamo un film. Ognuno di noi, che ama il cinema, dispone degli strumenti necessari per capire se un film è bello oppure no, se è un’opera d’arte oppure no. E lo strumento di cui disponiamo è la nostra mente e il nostro cuore: il film ci ha regalato delle emozioni forti e vivide? Se la risposta è sì, allora è arte cinematografica. Se la risposta è no, allora non è arte. E’ un’altra cosa. Andrea Giostra