Interview with Ryan Barton-Grimley

ED- The Eerie Digest is really excited to interview Producer Ryan Barton-Grimley to all our readers. Ryan, tell us your days before coming to the states.

RBG- Actually I’m a writer/director first and a producer third, and mainly out of necessity I might add. Anyway, I was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in southern Africa in the mid-seventies. I lived there until the mid-eighties and saw it transform from an apartheid-esque country into a free democratic country. Unfortunately, soon after we left it regressed into a brutally despotic regime run by the dictator Robert Mugabe.

Life there as kid was pretty scary and sad at times. Wars for independence and poverty are never easy or pretty. Segregation and blatant racism were very real and very ugly. But on the flip side, it was also very exciting. I mean we could travel just outside of town and see Lions, Elephants, and Giraffes in their native habitats. The raw spirit of Africa is very real and alive and affects everyone who lives there. There’s nothing like it. Life and death are right there. Civilization is merely millimeters thick. My experiences there were very formative.

ED- How have you adjusted to the life-style here?

RBG- I can honestly say that I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin here until I actually laid down some roots and started my own family. That being said, the United States is incredible and I’m so thankful for the freedoms it affords. You really can do whatever you want here, you just have to work your way through it.  It’s weird, but there’s just so little structure here that you can get lost if you don’t stay focused. There’s so much going on, so much stimuli here, it took me a while to build up my filters so that I could hone in on my voice and process it all. Time would be the answer I guess.

ED- We also found out that you are an avid writer and painter. How are these attributes reflected in your career goals?

RBG- I’ve always painted. My grandmother was a painter. My father sketches. Art has always been part of me. I see the world in that specific way. I approach filmmaking from that perspective. I always try to add something cool or challenging into everything I do, wether it be something visual or an angle on the content. It’s all from the same point of view that evolved out of my exploration as an artist and as a painter. it’s something I’ll probably always do, as it feeds all of my work.

Writing for me evolved out of wanting to quantify and explain the world, the characters and their motivations, that existed around me growing up, specifically from my own perspective. My life growing up was filled with the stories and histories of my family and the places they’d lived. Europe, India, Africa, Asia, the destructive effects of World War 2 and fascism, Colonialism…. How could I make any sense of it for myself, living as an immigrant in the United States. Writing was the key.

ED- Tell us about your early days in acting, and some of the films that you played in.

RBG- Acting for me was a natural outlet that allowed me to explore different people and different stories from the inside rather than from a detached overviewing perspective. Experiencing that ultimate lack of control, serving the material, being a cog in the machine is very humbling as an artist and can only make you a better writer and director. I studied with some of the top acting coaches in LA. I played roles in tons of independent projects, most of which have never seen the light of day. I struggled alongside everyone else auditioning, rehearsing, and I learned a ton being on set over and over again. It really was the spring board for me to jump into directing.

ED- You have now decided that you truly belong behind the camera. Tell us about this change of venue and how your acting career has helped you with this.

RBG- At some point my instinct to control the image and the theme and the overall voice of my work started to supercede my being an actor. The artist in me is too obsessive and detail oriented not to want to control the story and the images. That being said, my own experiences acting, as well as watching some of the most brilliant minds in the industry mold other actors and direct them, informs every aspect of my directing and writing. I’m an actor’s director, despite my obsession with the image.

ED- We understand that your debut will be made in the soon to be released film ‘The Truth’. Tell us about the theme behind this movie and what inspired it’s making.

RBG- THE TRUTH is about just that… “the truth.” It’s completely subjective, it’s irrational, and it can even be used as a weapon. Yet it is what we base our identities on… so I’d say the theme of THE TRUTH if there is one at all has to do with those concepts and seeing how they play out in a pressure cooker of a situation. My inspiration was to make a contained, explosive film that explored that.

ED- Can you tell us about the actors in the film and the roles they played?

RBG- John Heard plays Jonathan Davenport in the film and he is the quote/unquote victim or mark in the film. He’s an amazingly instinctual actor that loves to torture young directors! No, I’m kidding. John is a journeyman and taught me a lot about letting go and allowing your work to come alive.

Brendan Sexton III was one of my favorite young actors and I was so happy we got to work with him. He’s so real as the character of Gabriel Doyle, it’s scary. Just a natural talent. We had a lot of fun and he really trusted me to take him on the journey.

Daniel Baldwin was always my favorite of the brothers. He’s the oldest one and has been doing it the longest. He’s got this magnetic power on screen in everything he’s ever done and we were very luck to have him play Gabriel Doyle’s father.

Lastly, Erin Cardillo plays Dana Davenport/Christine and she is just amazing. What can I say, we were looking for that old school femme fatale with a modern twist and we found her in Erin Cardillo which is very ironic seeing she’s the lead on a Disney kid’s show! Erin literally sunk her teeth into this role and never looked back. Her work is completely unpredictable, startlingly real, and really raised the whole production!

ED- Tell us all about the crew that is behind the camera with you.

RBG- I had a fantastic producer in AJ Gordon who I’d worked with in the past on other projects. He had my back like only a true producer can. My DP was a fine and extremely talented fellow by the name of Eric Adkins whose credits include “Sky Captain and the World Of Tomorrow” and “Mars Attacks”. Having him on our small film was a real blessing. Production design was handled by my good friend Douglas Mueller, a director in his own right and one with a keen eye for design and all things visual. Our incredibly complex and amazing score was the work of Adrien Capozzi, also a friend and a well-known electronic artist.

ED- Tell our readers where, and when, they can see the film, and how they can contact you to learn more about it.

RBG- THE TRUTH will be available through local cable carriers in the OnDemand section under PREMIERS throughout North America in mid-July 2010. Netflix will also be streaming it as well as Amazon and iTunes. Additionally, the actual DVD release will be August 24th 2010 and it will be available to rent or purchase pretty much everywhere! You can check out our official website: www.thetruthisalwayscomplicated.com or check out our Facebook page Thetruth Movie for trailers, pictures, and more information.

ED- Ryan, we want to thank you for your time, and wish you the best of luck in your new endeavor. Please keep all of us informed about the films achievements and all the new projects that you look to do.

RBG- My pleasure and thank you so much for checking out the film and giving me an opportunity to talk about myself!!! No, but really, thanks it was fun!