I recently went to a press screening of the film Traitor, before it hit the UK screens (it had it’s US release in late 2008). I had been feeling quite ill that day and was considering leaving after the first 10 minutes, but the film was extremely gripping and I stayed the whole duration. It was indeed disturbing in it’s subject matter of terrorism, but provoked thought in it’s treatment and the prowess of the direction, the acting and the general idea of breaking stereotypes.
The music by South African composer Mark Kilian also worked well with the storyline. I was interested in many aspects of the film and had the opportunity to interview the young director, Jeffrey Nachmanoff. I’ll be posting a link to the piece when it’s in print, but in the meantime, I thought I would put up the questions I sent him (with some details added for the purposes of this blog):
– How did you get into movie making and Hollywood? Was it a childhood ambition?
– What was it like, working with Roland Emmerich on Day after tomorrow and did you expect it to turn out so realistic?
– How did you choose the subject matter for Traitor?
– Which directors inspired you, especially when you chose your directional debut to be Traitor?
– I hear that you’re a man of the world – one who has his ear to the ground, so to speak – was this one of the reasons for the subject matter in traitor? Also, I hear there was a Steve Martin connection on the story side?
– Did you feel worried about making a film that shows two sides of Islam?
– How did you cast for the film and having seen it, I think it was spot on…
– As a director, creating a movie that is not just gripping, but also showing authenticity is always the hardest part, that too, for a debutant like you – tell us your process. Also, you had to jump continents and several cities (17) in the making?
– The casting of Alyy Khan intrigued me, as he just seemed so composed and so good-looking to play the part, someone who the audience may overlook as the threat he actually was. How did the character come by and how did you cast him?
– You grew up in London – how did this shape the subject matter of Traitor? how do you feel the London/UK audiences will react to the film?
– Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Saïd Taghmaoui (Lost, Kite runner) and ‘that villain from Desperate housewives’ (Neal McDonough) were your male cast and you had Archie Punjabi (Mighty heart, East is East) as the sole, pivotal female – what was the whole acting team like, working together?
– Don was also producer – how was that dynamic, for you both?
– Interesting yet short perspective about the Black-Asian relationship between Samir and Chandra – this could be a spin-off in itself – any thoughts?
– What are your thoughts on Indian cinema? Any influences?
– Though it looked like a million bucks, it was actually a low budget film of sorts – how did you achieve the brilliance without the money being pumped in by Disney?
– What’s in the future for you, as a young, vibrant voice of Hollywood?