The civilized world owes a lot to the country of Sweden. Our Scandinavian counterparts gave us the three-point seat belt, tasteful and affordable options for home furnishings (despite their confusing assembly instructions), and the bright and charismatic actor-turned-director, Casper Andreas.
“Acting is my first love. Producing….that’s not really my favourite,” Andreas admits from his home in New York City. “But with directing, you can have so much more control over your career path.”
Filmmaking is a tough business; a fact Casper Andreas and many other actors can attest to. Once a frustrated actor himself, Andreas decided rather than struggle alongside hundreds of his counterparts, he’d take his career in his own hands. After scribbling out his first screenplay, Andreas met the next challenge head-on: find someone to direct said screenplay. Unfazed by the challenge, Andreas did what was logical. He picked up some books, did his research, and began teaching himself how to direct.
Andreas’ path is not unlike many others, granted Andreas may possess more drive than most. So, when the opportunity to direct a Hollywood success story arose, Andreas took it and made it his own. Based on the literary work of a personal acquaintance, Andy Zeffer, Andreas directed the 2011 film, Going Down in La-La Land. The film follows a struggling actor, Adam, as he moves to Hollywood and tries to break into the film business. With his friend Nick’s urging, Adam takes a role in front of the camera and becomes an instant success…in the gay pornography industry.
“It’s the gay Pretty Woman,” he says. And he’s right. “It wasn’t meant to glamorize the porn industry in any way, but I needed to show how (Adam) gets seduced by it. Adam loses control,” states Andreas.
The director took some creative liberties with the story, successfully showing the audience how dreams sometimes aren’t what they seem and how Los Angeles can often take advantage of a young and wishful actor. Engaging directly with his film, Andreas also takes on the pivotal role of Nick – the friend who gets Adam involved in the business and later re-enters his life suffering from drug addiction.
“I had to ask myself, ‘should I take the role?’ A big role in a film like this makes directing more complicated,” admits Andreas. Not a supporter of drug use himself, Andreas reached deep to find inspiration from people who had experience and could share the story of drug use and addiction. “I had to find the emotional journey,” he says. It worked. Even while delivering a key performance, Andreas also managed to direct an excellent film.
In recent months, Casper Andreas has been working with writer David Michael Barrett to secure funding for a new film project titled, Kiss Me, Kill Me. Inspired by classic “whodunit” pieces from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie, Kiss Me, Kill Me is a bit of a passion project for Andreas and Barrett, both of whom enjoy film noir and suspense. Not surprisingly, this project is, “something I’ve never done before,” says the eager and inspired Andreas.
Having worked for years in the film industry, and in particular, the niche sub-industry of gay themed films, Andreas and Barrett immediately recognized the challenges of getting the funding and distribution a project like Kiss Me, Kill Me will require. And so, they turned to audience support. “If you want to see a film like this, (you) need to support it in advance,” Andreas points out.
With so much free and bootlegged entertainment available digitally, Hollywood has tightened budgets in recent years and is taking fewer risks on creative projects, such as a gay themed murder mystery like Kiss Me, Kill Me. Taking fewer risks stifles creativity in the film industry, which is why it is so important for audiences to participate and support projects they’d like to see come to fruition.
Realizing the challenges of securing funds and the convenience of a digital age, Andreas has worked to include his audience in his most recent project. Backers who fund just a small amount like $35, will actually gain special access to the first showing of the completed film, from anywhere in the world. “People will be a part of the premiere!” Andreas gleefully points out.
Once again, Casper Andreas takes something that appears out of reach and makes it attainable, which is just what we’ve come to expect from this talented actor-turned-director.
Support and contribute funding to Kiss Me, Kill Me on Kickstarter
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Casper Andreas