Spoiler Free Review & Interview with Convergence Director/Writer Drew Hall
Dark Sky Films
Directed By: Drew Hall
Starring: Ethan Embry
It is hard for me to talk about this film without spoiling it. So be patient with me as I try. Once again I had the pleasure of watching another great independent movie. Convergence is a thriller/mystery movie that will leave you gasping for air. With a major plot twist mid-way through this film that will stun you with a moment of silence.
We meet Detective Ben Walls (Clayne Crawford) as he is having a great family moment at his house with his wife and daughter. Everything seems to be a Hallmark card kind of life for Ben. That is, until he receives a phone call thrusting him back into the hustle bustle of life on the force. He is sent to a horrific explosion at a women’s clinic to try to figure out what is going on. As him and Captain Miller (Mykelti Williamson) head to a building next door to look for evidence, another bomb goes off. Both Miller and Walls are in the hospital and want their questions answered. Something about this hospital is just not right. Well maybe Daniel (Ethan Embry) will have the answers they are looking for.
I can not praise the acting effort of Ethan Embry enough in this movie. I still picture him as Preston Meyers from Can’t Hardly Wait. Well that vision quickly left my mind the minute I saw the terrifying eyes of Daniel. Lets hope we get to see more roles for Ethan as a madman or a slasher in a horror movie.
This movie is now out on DVD, Blue-Ray, and Digital Download
After seeing this film I had a chance to ask Drew Hall the director and writer of this film a few questions. Here is how it played out:
GWW: First off let me say that I really enjoyed this movie. Where did the concept for this story come from? Was it a bizarre nightmarish dream you had? Or did you just sit down and let the creative juices flow?
Drew Hall: So the honest truth is that I walked out of my house one day and forgot my glasses. At the time my daughter was a newborn (She’s actually the baby in Convergence) and I met my wife in the garage as she handed them over – truth is we had an argument and I walked out for work…only to have to come back and get my glasses. The other part of it comes from where and when I grew up. During the late 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s there were a series of bombings, assaults, and kidnappings in/around the area where was I raised. It has always bothered me – this idea of killing someone in the name of religion – and for me being a spiritual guy – it was scary. The truths I accepted on faith were being manipulated and used to negatively transform people into killers. Its horrifying. I was also going through a bit of a grieving process. I had recently learned that my very dear friend Ben Walls had lost his battle to cancer. The real Ben was one of the most gracious and inclusive men I knew, so I started writing Convergence as a catharsis. But as a writer, I just get these triggers – a moment of my real life, mixed with a haunting memory of the past and a motivation. That’s how my scripts come to life.
GWW: You did the writing and directing on this film. Which one do you find more enjoyable? And why?
Drew Hall: You know…that’s tough. I would call this my FIRST feature in many ways. It was the first that I wrote on my own and the first that got me directing without any restrictions. Prior to Convergence I had directed 3 other feature films as a for hire director. I share a writing credit on one due to a series of events in which I had to re-write on the fly. AFTER Convergence I directed a comedy, again as a work for hire.
I LOVE directing because I love being on set. I started my career on the crew side – bouncing around on the back of the callsheet, until one day I earned enough trust to start picking up positions on bigger shows. That said, I LOVE to write as its the purest form of the cinematic process. A draft of a screenplay that’s yet to have been covered or picked up or noted is the truest 90 + pages of full of hope and dreams. Its almost like being a kid again. It’s not cynical yet. I am not an auteur director, instead I like to let other artists add their thoughts to the project while I steer them into a final concept. I take full responsibility for the film, but filmmaking is a team sport. So to finally answer your question – if I had to pick one…directing, but I’d much rather do both.
GWW: Being the writer/director did you find yourself behind the camera and second guessing a scene and come up with a better version in your head and rewrite it?
Drew Hall: I second guess myself all the way through post production. I am confident in my shots on set. I know what I’m after, but there are always moments of doubt. I always have a contingency to the contingency as this business is sometimes give and take. I’ll often trade an extra set up for more time in another scene. The truth is, all of the cast, all of the crew, has just as much a right to ideas as I do, in the end its just up to me to make decisions that work. That said, I’m really good at adapting – I think it comes from the years spent playing tabletop RPGs. Quick story – we were about to shoot the scene where the Nurse, The Brute and Ben meet. We shot the back half in the kitchen area first. Well when it came time to shoot the front side, the lights we had rented from were late – so much so that we had to scrap that scene on the day – BUT we lost one of the actors the next day…so…I rewrote the scene to be between the Nurse and Ben – that night. It’s not an immediate shift, but it was one that had a major impact on the film. its one of my favorite scenes. I also believe that everything happens for a reason – so I tend to roll with the flow more than loose my mind when I don’t get my way. You just gotta be clever.
GWW: It seems that independent movies in the horror/ mystery / thriller categories have been upstaging the big budget studio productions lately. Why do you think that is?
Drew Hall: Passion. Indie films are fueled by a tremendous amount of passion – whether its an actor taking a pay decrease for the role out of passion, the crew working the long hours out of passion, or the filmmakers at the helm committing everything to the project out of passion. Don’t get me wrong Studio films have tremendous passion as well, its just the competition within the Indie community to be seen is bigger. We are going up against the big brands – so our product must innovate to thrive. We are our own stakes character and have to fight to accomplish it.
GWW: I have been so good as of not spoiling this movie for anyone and I believe this is not spoiling it. When I first saw that Ethan Embry was going to be a villain I did not believe he could pull it off. (By the way he is excellent in this film) What did you see in him that believed he could make the audience terrified?
Drew Hall: We talked back and forth about a ton of different actors, but Producer Scott Robinson really put Ethan in the front. He just had a feeling that Ethan would take the character to new heights. When Ethan and I met to talk about the script he made it clear that he didn’t want to play a villain, but a man deeply committed to his convictions. If Daniel did something nice, its because he believed it was nice. If Daniel did something brutal he believed that it was what he was supposed to do. I just knew that Ethan has these kind eyes. They radiate this warmth from them – they’re inclusive, but I had no idea how vicious he could make them become. He is so insanely talented. It was an easy sell to me as I’m a huge fan of Ethan in Cheap Thrills.
GWW: Finally do you have any upcoming projects that we should be aware of that will have your name attached to it?
Drew Hall: I have a couple of projects coming up. I’m teaming up again with Producer Scott Robinson for another supernatural film called Black Eyed Kids which is based on this urban legend about really creepy children. I also have been working on a proof of concept film called Aether: The Rise of Specter which is a steampunk inspired, science fiction epic that people describe as Mad Max meets Firefly. You can find more out about it at http://www.AetherPrologue.com.