On Saturday, I had the pleasure of interviewing writer / director Herschel Faber and actor Chad Michael Murray on the Red Carpet at the Austin Film Festival about their new film Cavemen. The film is about four young men (Skylar Astin, Chad Michael Murray, Kenny Wormald, Dayo Okeniyi) living together in L.A. in the “Cave,” a large one room basement, with each bedroom separated only by curtains. The men are all about finding the next woman to bed, with the exception of Dean (Astin) who is looking for love, with the help of his best friend, Tess (Camilla Belle). He meets the girl of his dreams, Kat (Alexis Knapp) but is his one true love someone that has been there all along?
Hi Chad! So tell us about your character in the film.
Chad Michael Murray: Well, I’m Jay in the film. It’s the story about four men, all on very different journeys to find love. My character is more of the arch-type that isn’t necessarily looking for that. He is just living his life, floating along. He hasn’t met the one yet that would make him go “O.K., she’s it.” He’s just not there yet.
What attracted you to the part?
Murray: The opportunity to play something that was a little outside the box. I played a character on “One Tree Hill” that was the moral compass of the show, and that’s not Jay at all. That I could come in and bring my own ideas to the table, with a lot of ad-libbing, really appealed to me. To be able to be free to do stuff with our director, Herschel, really drew me in. It’s a light-hearted comedy that was fun to make.
What’s the difference between working on a TV show and a small, independent film?
Murray: Pacing, mostly. We had a very small amount of time and a very small budget to shoot this film. On a TV series, it’s more like an oiled machine, where you are shooting in a short amount of time, but everyone has been working together for a while, so you don’t fall behind. On a small film, it’s the same pace, but with a new crew, so you are shooting really quickly while people at the start are still trying to find their way and their roles. It’s a lot harder to do with film, it all has to come together so quickly. I personally like film because you have the opportunity to put on a number of different hats with different roles. This year alone, I have played a homeless heroin addict living on skid row in “Other People’s Children,” a racist redneck in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” a journalist with Nick Cage in “Left Behind.” So it’s nice to be able to play a wide range of roles and fulfill yourself as an artist.
Thank you so much and good luck with the film!
Thanks, it’s been a pleasure.
Hi Herschel. So you had this script in competition at the Austin Film Festival how many years ago?
Herschel Faber: It was 13 years ago, in the year 2000. It was a long time in the making.
So, how hard was it to get this film made?
Herschel: The interesting part of it was, I have had a number of producers over the years threaten to make the film but they never did. So, I came to a decision that, you know what, I’m going to make it myself. The script is near and dear to me because it’s based on a time in my life that was very important. It was just time to make it.
So what was the inspiration for the script?
Herschel: I lived in a warehouse which we called “The Cave.” It had no windows, no wall separating rooms, just curtains. I lived there with three of my buddies, and there wasn’t any privacy at all. So, I thought that was the perfect start to a screenplay. You know you have tons of conflict when you have no walls. It was an exploration of what guys go through. You know, looking for love with all the perils of dating in an environment where everyone knows what you are doing.
As you were shooting, did you do any re-writes?
Herschel: That’s the nice thing about being the writer and the director, if something is not working, I can just re-write it on the spot. It was really helpful to have that skill and not have to rely on anyone else. And making the film independently, it made me in control of everything, which was a blast.
Thank you so much. Have a great time here at the Film Festival.
“The Cave” is the name four guys living together in L.A. have called the one room basement with no windows that they occupy, the living spaces only separated by curtains. Jay (Chad Michael Murray) is the playboy of the bunch as he is either telling the rest of the guys his exploits or looking of his next conquest. Pete (Kenny Wormald) is continually in an on again/off again relationship with his long time girlfriend, Beth (Amanda Jane Cooper). Andre (Dayo Okeniyi) has a steady girlfriend, but she lives in New York, so he plays the field in L.A.. Dean (Skylar Astin) has grown tired of playing the field and is ready to commit to one girl. So he enlists the help of his best friend, Tess (Camilla Belle), to help find his one true love. This is a fun, though very predictable romantic comedy that is made better by a cast that looks as though they had a blast making the film. The film nicely contrasts the feelings of Dean with his other roommates, who give him a tough time when he declares he is tired of their “love ’em and leave ’em” lifestyle. Camilla Belle stands out in the cast as the girl who can hold her own in the Cave with the boys. She brings a fierceness to the role, which makes us like her even more. Murray, as the playboy who at times seems happier retelling his stories then actually living them, plays the guy who can have every girl in the room with a calm assurance. The film doesn’t bring much new to the romantic comedy genre, but it doesn’t fail to disappoint either.
My Rating: Bargain Matinee
The Austin Film Festival continues through Thursday, Oct. 31.