Thursday, June 13, 2013

TV STORE ONLINE talks with actor Oscar Torre about his role in The Hangover Part 3



TV STORE ONLINE:  Hi Oscar... We're really excited to talk to you about THE HANGOVER PART 3.  What was the whole shooting experience like?

TORRE:  It was a lot of fun.  Whenever you get the opportunity to be part of a proven franchise, like THE HANGOVER films... It is a good day!  It was a real pleasure working with those guys and Todd Phillips, the director.  He creates an environment on the set where you feel like you're playing...You're also not afraid of trying things or making mistakes.  

TV STORE ONLINE: Had you been a fan of the previous HANGOVER films prior to becoming part of this new HANGOVER film?

TORRE:  Just like you guys...I'm a big fan of THE HANGOVER films.  I've seen the first HANGOVER about three or four times, so when I was invited to be part of the third film, I was thrilled!

TV STORE ONLINE:  I'm sure you've got a funny story or two from working with those HANGOVER guys...Can you share anything with us?

TORRE:  As you can imagine, there was a lot of laughter on the set. I do know that a moment that might make the blooper reel is when I'm outside the police station and I'm trying to light a cigarette. The wind was blowing hard and on my cue...I was supposed to be lighting this cigarette and a limo appears in front of the police station to pick up the guys and there are a ton of background actors walking by the street and take after take, I couldn't light this cigarette!   In one of the takes, I was so frustrated and determined to light the cigarette, that I forgot about the scene and didn't answer Bradley Cooper's character when he asks me,  "What is this?"He is referring to the limo picking them up outside the police station in the scene.  So Bradley Cooper says a second time, "Excuse me, what is this?" And I looked at him very intensely and said, "This is me trying to light a fucking cigarette!" Then, I proceeded to throw the cigarette on the ground in frustration...laughing  It was the first scene I shot in the film, and I was having a horrible time shooting it because of that stupid cigarette!   Luckily my other scenes were a lot more fun.

TV STORE ONLINE:  What are you watching on television these days?   What are your favorite shows and why?

TORRE:  I have a few shows that I'm hooked on, but I'm currently watching Orphan Black. It's a BBC America show and I must say it's terrific. The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, plays about eight different characters.  She's really amazing to watch and as an actor and is very inspiring.

TV STORE ONLINE: Many fans were disappointed with THE HANGOVER 2.  For those that haven't yet seen Part 3 that may be reading this, what can fans of the franchise expect with this final installment?

TORRE: This third installment stands on it's own.  You don't need to have seen the first two films to enjoy this one.  Although, if you have seen them, you'll find that the third one ties loose ends up that you might have not even noticed while watching the first two.  Obviously, I'm a little biased, but as a fan of the first two films, I really enjoyed the third one. It is a good ending to the trilogy.

TV STORE ONLINE:  So I've just watched the trailer online for PRETTY ROSEBUD (2013).  How did this project come about for you?

TORRE: This is a film that was written by my wife, Chuti Tiu, who also stars in it.  I remember first reading the script and thinking that it was very well written but it might never get made because the lead character was very flawed, and her actions could make her unlikable if not handled correctly.  It's the story of a woman in an unhappy marriage, and in the process of finding herself and her happiness, she makes unconventional choices and breaks societal taboos. 

We decided to produce the film ourselves, so we began looking for a director, and the more we talked about it, my wife felt that I'd be the best person for the job.  She trusted me to tell this story, because I realized that even though it's a story written about a woman, it could be about anyone who doesn't have the freedom to be themselves.

TV STORE ONLINE: Growing up with an interest in acting and I'm sure directing, what were some of the films that may have influenced you and who were some of the directors that may have influenced you?

TORRE: I became involved in acting while attending college.  I took an acting class as an elective and was soon hooked.  At the time, the directors that  I became attracted to the most were Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, and Arthur Penn. Their films were edgy and the actors seemed real, as if they weren't acting.  I also loved that the characters in these films seemed like roles I could play.

TV STORE ONLINE: It's become so easy to gain access to digital film equipment these days and to find an outlet for your film too.. But how much of a challenge is to get your film actually seen?  Great films slip through the cracks often...What steps are you taking to make sure that PRETTY ROSEBUD gets seen by it's real audience?

TORRE: We started by identifying who our target audience is.  In our case, women or anyone who feels trapped in their lives because of family, cultural or religious pressures.  Then with social media, we start targeting these groups. This is just one of many steps we're taking to get the film seen. We just started submitting to film festivals.  Obviously, we'll also be seeking distribution, but if that doesn't happen, with the internet we have many options for self-distribution.  We're just starting this process, so we'll see where this road takes us, but the one thing that I'm confident of is that the film will be seen.   

TV STORE ONLINE:  PRETTY ROSEBUD'S subject matter isn't something that we normally see in the US mainstream in the multiplex in 2013.  When I watched the film's trailer, it reminded me of some of the wonderful  and important work that Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono is producing in terms of subject matter.    Do you think that there is a different cultural aesthetic in regards to certain films subject matter?  Sono tells these brilliant stories about females and we don't see that here in the US....

TORRE:  Sono is a terrific filmmaker I have to say.  It's really just a different aesthetic between mainstream Hollywood films and independent films. Hollywood films are driven by commerce.  The first question a studio asks when green lighting a film is, "Can it make money?"  And this makes a lot of sense, because they're investing a lot of money in making them.  Independent films, for the most part, are motivated by story first.  It starts with a filmmaker wanting/needing to tell a specific story, despite knowing it might not make a penny or ever get distribution.  There's also a certain freedom in that, because you're more willing to take chances. The downside is that you might be limited by budget, but this also forces you to be creative and tell your story in a entertaining and interesting way.  

Chuti Tiu with “Pretty Rosebud” Director Oscar Torre
Photo Credit: Domenic Yov
Two of my favorite directors are Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar Wai.  I love the realism in Soderbergh's films and the poetic visuals in Wong Kar Wai's.  You'll find that in PRETTY ROSEBUD. I try to incorporate both.  I tried telling the story as simply as I could.  Many times throughout the story I found myself getting rid of dialogue and using an image to replace the words.

While shooting PRETTY ROSEBUD (since it's the story of a woman), I made it a point to have as many women as possible be part of our team. My producer, assistant director, line producer, director of photography, editor, production designer, costume designer, make-up and many PA's were all women.  This brought an energy to the set that I wanted.  I wanted the lead actress (Chuti Tiu) to be able to be as vulnerable as she needed to be, without shame or judgement. 

TV STORE ONLINE:  What's next for you?  Any plans on directing another feature?

TORRE: I'm attached to several films that are scheduled to shoot this year, as well as a film entitled  LUNARTICKING  that I co-wrote with a friend and my wife, Chuti.  I'll play the lead role in that one.  As for directing, I have a few projects in mind.  This is something that I will definitely do more of.  I enjoyed the experience a great deal.  I love the challenge of telling a story in a creative and entertaining way.