Special Interview: Gianluigi Carelli – ‘Erase’ Film

theaussieword.com has a chat with Gianluigi Carelli, an Aussie Actor and Director who’s just released his first film ‘Erase’.

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You’ve diverted, in a way, from the traditional ‘Australian actor travels to Hollywood to make it big’ trope, instead splitting your time between LA and Vancouver. What does Vancouver hold for you, career-wise? Are there advantages (whether career-based or otherwise) to living in Vancouver that aren’t available in LA?
I left Australia in 2010 and had my sights set for Hollywood and I was very determined to get there. Things worked out very well. Honestly I never thought about going to Canada but certain factors were pointing me in that direction and initially I was going to try Toronto but decided on Vancouver as I signed with a great agency and I wanted to be close to LA. LA and Vancouver are very different cities; and I love them both for very different reasons. LA has amazing opportunities and its a thriving business with a lot of competition that comes with it. As for Vancouver; its quite similar to Sydney in the sense that its quite a small industry; however there are a lot more opportunities for film and tv. Both cities have their advantages and disadvantages. I found Vancouver to be a great stepping stone for actors who may not be ready for the ‘Hollywood’ thing.
How long had Erase been in the pipeline for? Did it take long to
write/plan/get a crew together/shoot?

Erase had been in the pipeline for over 7 months. The idea came to me last June and the script and concept kept changing even up until a few days before we filmed. The script took a couple of months to finalise. It took me about a month or so to get my cast and crew together. Filming was done over three days at the end of October and post- production took about 3 months.

You directed, wrote, produced and are starring in the film. Why did you choose to be involved in everything? That’s quite an accomplishment!
Thank you I sometimes can’t believe that I got through it! I always wanted to direct film and to be behind the camera. I had a very specific style/tone I wanted the film to be and I thought who better to direct the film than myself! At the time i also wanted to create a project for myself and be in total control of its execution. I’m quite the perfectionist and I didn’t want this particular story to be in anyone else’ hands.
The content and style is quite eerie and dark. Tell us why? 
Yes its quite dark and eerie and that’s exactly the style and mood I wanted. The story is quite a sad one and a journey of a person trying to deal and learn from his choices and other people’s choices. I wanted the audience to be right there with him; as if they were following him or inside his head. I wanted to convey the decay of the identity and the grittiness of losing yourself and what lengths one goes to in order to move forward. I wanted the film to have a dream-like quality to it. The mood was very important for me as I was dealing with the characters demons, insecurities and fears; and none of those things are light.

Seeing that you were the director and the lead actor; how did you direct yourself?

Haha..Well I did a lot of rehearsal prior to the shoot, so when we got to filming I knew where I wanted to be. In saying that we improvised a lot which I thought was important for my character in the scenes where he’s alone (which is a lot of the film). I work a lot on my instincts when I act and direct, so in the moment i found a lot of new techniques in the direction and the acting.
You mention in some of your press material that Erase comes from a pretty personal place within you. Was it a cathartic experience creating Erase? Did you feel like you excised some demons, or did the process re-open some old wounds?
It was definitely a combination of the two. On the one hand it was very cathartic to put all my energy and experiences into the film and on the other hand I had to go back to that place and revisit the wounds and demons so to speak; but in a weird way that was also cathartic. At times it was exhausting and I had set myself quite a challenge. Watching the film now as a whole i can truly appreciate it for what it is and I really hope people can identify with it.

What influences did you draw on when you were making Erase?

I definitely drew on experiences or people who influenced me at a certain time; films that resonated in me and seemed quite similar to the characters journey. I was definitely influenced and am constantly intrigued with that notion of battling or fighting with oneself and the ever-changing identity.
Who are some of your acting/directing/writing heroes? Is there a
particular filmmaker or actor who you would love to work with?

I very much admire Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan,
David Fincher, Anthony Minghella, Patrick Marber. Working with Naomi Watts or Ben Whishaw would be a dream.
Would you ever consider coming back to Australia to work? What are some Australian productions you wish you were involved with, or that you have your eye on?
Of course. If the right project came along I would definitely not turn my back on it. I was a huge fan of the series Love My Way and now really enjoying Tangle. Also if Chris Lilley asked me to be a part of one of his projects I would jump at the chance haha…
In your own experience, how are Australian actors received in the US film industry?
Honestly Australians are treated like royalty. They really do have great respect for Australian artists. Their so impressed that most of us are trained actors and they admire that we’re driven and ready to work. I had so many great work opportunities in LA and Vancouver; it was really refreshing to be somewhere that truly respected you as an artist and to be surrounded by people who WANT you to succeed.
What’s next for you? Are you planning on following up Erase with
another short, or even a feature length effort?

Yes! I’ve already started working on some new ideas for the next film.  I would love to do a feature and also direct a piece that I’m not acting in. The next film will be very different to Erase, although I would love to explore the main issues in Erase and make a feature.

What are your plans for Erase, in terms of a release? What festivals are you planning on submitting the film to? When/how will people be able to view the short?
Erase was released about a month ago online and will also be available for sale through Amazon. It has been submitted to various Australian and international film festivals; and has already being accepted into the Artisan World Film Festival in Paris, France.
I’m currently focusing on getting the film into film festivals and for the film to get as much exposure as possible.

What directors did you draw from in the creation of Erase?
I drew mostly from directors such as Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch & David Fincher.

You can follow Gianluigi on Twitter

Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Catch you on the big screen or podium at the Oscars!

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