Premiering at the Iris Prize Festival 2011, we got the chance to watch the fantastic new film by Casper Andreas, Going Down in LA-LA Land, which we gave 4 stars to, and star Allison Lane was awarded ‘Best Actress in a Feature’. With the film now available on DVD in the UK, we had a quick chat with Andreas about the film, the Iris Prize, and how to adapt a novel.
SSG: Are you excited about Going Down in LA-LA Land being released in the UK?
Andreas: Yes I’m very excited! I think the British audiences will enjoy the film and I can’t wait for them to see it.
Being the fourth film you’ve written, how do you feel you’ve progressed as a screenwriter and a director?
I never did go to school for writing and/or directing. Instead I started as an actor and kind of just started writing and then directing my own projects. So I’ve definitely learned from doing. I’m very happy with how Going Down in LA-LA Land came together and I do feel that it’s my best film to date, so I’m hoping I will continue to develop both as a screenwriter and as a director.
How close to reality would you say that Andy Zeffer’s portrayal of the Hollywood film and porn industry are, and just how destructive it can be?
I think the novel was very close to reality, especially because it was based on his own experiences. He lived that life. Though I had no personal experience of the porn industry, I did recognise a lot from the novel in terms of what it means to be a struggling actor in Hollywood, since I myself lived that life for three years, not counting the years I was a struggling actor in New York.
Were there any particular pitfalls in adapting a novel for film?
Well the tricky part is always trying to figure out what should stay and what should go, as there is no way to fit into a film everything that one can fit into a novel. But I actually really enjoyed the process of adapting and figuring out how to make it work for the screen. One problem was that the script was too long, as I tried to fit too much story into it. I should have cut another 15-20 pages out of it before we shot the thing. In the end we ended up leaving several scenes on the cutting room floor. We could have saved a lot of time and money by not having shot them in the first place. But at least they are on the DVD extras!
How willing were Alec Mapa and Perez Hilton to get involved in their cameos?
Alec was very excited about playing a bitchy version of himself. Perez was also excited about playing a character in a film and not himself, which he has done in the past. Both of them just came in for half a day, so it wasn’t a huge commitment from either of them. I don’t know if Perez has seen the film, but Alec really likes it.
What was the most difficult factor in getting this film made?
Shooting in LA! I live in New York and produced and directed five features in New York prior to this. New York is very supportive of film production and give you huge tax breaks, free permits, and free access to streets, parks etc. In LA they charge you for everything and it’s expensive. I knew this going in, but this film is such a film about Los Angeles and Hollywood that it just couldn’t be shot anywhere else. In the end we ended up spending tons of money on permits, parking, etc, and unless I have a much bigger budget I don’t think I will ever shoot there again.
What does it mean to be involved with the Iris Prize Festival, especially as they hosted the UK premier of Going Down in LA-LA Land?
The Iris Prize is a great director festival that really support and help develop gay filmmakers with their short-film awards. It’s run by lovely people and they have been very supportive of me since they started. The Iris Prize actually played four of my films over the last four years and invited me to be on the jury for the short film award twice, so I love them!
And are there any plans to use the gorgeous Matt Ludwinski again in any upcoming films?
I would love to work with Matthew again! He is so sweet, hardworking, and a true joy to work with. I absolutely adore both him and Allison and would love to work with both of them again at some point. In the meantime I hope other directors take notice and hire them!
Going Down in LA-LA Land is available to buy on DVD from Amazon UK.
Featured Image: Casper Andreas. Photograph: Courtesy of Iris Prize Festival 2011.