Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2084: An Interview With Maurice Kelly

Maurice Kelly a Regina native, scriptwriter, and producer takes some time to share his thoughts on sci-fi thriller "2084." Talking about the influences of George Orwell's "1984," on the film and the current influence of government in the lives of its people Kelly adds further insight in this project along with a few laughs. Have a look at this four question interview from Kelly Blumetti Entertainment Group partner and filmmaker below.

(Michael Allen) Does "2084," pay homage to George Orwell's novel "1984," or is the film a reworking of the novel on some level?

(Maurice Kelly) "The idea was not to rework or redo "1984." In the Orwell story, the driving force was overtly political in nature and dealt with the government causing a dystopian world for its own power hungry reasons; whereas, for us in "2084," an uncontrollable global pandemic causes a dystopian world and the government simply reacts out of necessity using far reaching legal powers to try and cope. But as we see, the government is useless to compete and far from successfully wielding control, the society slowly falls apart.

The choice of the date was partly because when you hear a date ending in **84, you know things are not going to go well."

(Michael Allen) Government and society play a large part in "2084s," premise; how does the film approach the future role of government in society?

(Maurice Kelly) "When George came up with the short story several years ago that “2084,” is based on, he was always into exploring the problems that would invariably unfold if a global virus were to sweep the planet (that is just him). We both knew that between the media, the medical world and the government, things would get really bad before they got better should there be a truly fast moving virus. The way the government would react was something we considered a lot based on the way at least the US government has dealt with the various crises so far. The story also deals peripherally with how other world governments deal with the crisis as well. As we see the people in charge try their best, but that is not always enough.

The crazy thing is that after we had wrapped shooting a month ago all of a sudden there is a global viral pandemic and lines of dialogue we had written for the newscasters to say are actually being reported by the media."

(Michael Allen) "2084," was magically made for a budget of $55,000, which is almost unheard of in Hollywood. What were some of the ways you were able to stretch your budget in order to make the film?

(Maurice Kelly) "Lots of favours. The fact that the reason “2084,” got made in the first place was to help out troops in Iraq. They invested their danger pay to get this project happening. Our friend Tom Kim had joined the military as a medic and got his buddies there to pool their money to do something. George and I had already been working as writers and film makers for several years already both independently and for Paramount for the last ten years or so. Tom asked if we could do one of our scripts on the cheap and we made some calls. The fact that it was to help out troops goes a long way. It also helps to live in Los Angeles and be able pick up the phone and next thing you know you have lights, cameras and a soundstage for almost nothing because of friends. The response was amazing. Award nominated crew as well as a wonderful cast who all jumped on board based on the initial reason for the project. We also like to think the script had something to do with attracting such great talent as well. In the end no matter how much people want to help out, if the story sucks, you’re on your own with a camcorder in your backyard."

(Michael Allen) I wanted to ask a follow-up on the films premise of a government failing to solve the crisis of a viral pandemic. Do you think citizens, military need to be wary of government and their role in peoples' lives, or is the films premise primarily out to entertain?

(Maurice Kelly) "In the end we see that in an Orwellian way, as things get progressively worse due to the viral pandemic, the government exercises more and greater control over the information getting to the citizenry as a way to maintain calm and control. They never really bring themselves to tell the whole truth to the people and continue milking it for as long as they can. I guess it does not cast the government in the best light as our saviours, but as they say, the government ultimately is made up of us and we only deserve the government we elect. That said, the steps taken by the government in “2084,” in reaction to the pandemic, are not totally wrong or heavy-handed, on the contrary, they do try and play catch up after not taking things seriously for far too long. The moral of that aspect of the story is that it is just too little too late as it is with so many of the problems the government deals with. It is the lack of concrete solutions preemptively acted on that leave us wide open to getting our asses handed to us whenever a crisis develops.

And when you have quarantine, death, dwindling rations and delusional characters, it cannot help but be entertaining."

(Michael Allen) Sometimes on-set things develop romantically between cast members, or things do not go according to plan. What was the most fun you had on set while shooting?

(Maurice Kelly) "Probably watching Jaimi Paige and Matt Alan shove fistfuls of spam into their faces over and over. It doubled as our canned rations. This would also be where Jaimi and Matt answer that it was the worst thing they had to do in the film. It did not help that the entire crew were killing themselves laughing either."

A second production still of Maurice Kelly (upper-right) with business partner and director George Blumetti.

Have a look at "2084s," homepage until a trailer comes about:

2084 Homepage


Unknown said...

Wow, this sounds even better now!

- Zac