Cruz Angeles - A Mother's RevengeQ: Your main character is Andrew Dotson…a Midwestern teenager. Your background is nothing like that…what did you learn about him?
I knew a lot of guys like Andrew growing up - the guys who didn’t quite fit in. Andrew had just moved into a new neighborhood and a new high school. He had to feign a hard exterior to survive in a new environment. Andrew was in a period of transition. We all go through this in adolescence. And sometimes we try to force ourselves to be who we are not. But what I learned about the real Andrew, from those who knew him closely, was that he was kind, funny and loving. He clearly was a good father and loved his son dearly. He could be shy and reserved at times, especially around adults. But around his friends he was the life of the party. They all remember him as being hilarious - a prankster. He loved fast cars – but the old classics. He had a pet alligator named “Snoop” and loved music by The Notorious B.I.G. Andrew was trying to find his way and needed direction. But he had a great heart, meant well, had never hurt anyone and realized that he quickly needed to get out of what he had gotten himself into. Unfortunately, it was too late.Q: What was it like shooting in Columbus, OH?
What was surprising about Columbus was how beautiful it is and the variety of different locations so close to each other. Our company moves were never more than 30 minutes away and we shot scenes in the city, the suburbs, a wooded area and a rural area where we found our cornfield. Having so many different locations within close proximity made the production easier. But we wouldn’t have known any of this without our amazing Cleveland-based location manager, Christina Groszik, who shepherded us throughout the process on a demanding schedule with tons of location needs. Q: Tell me a story about one of the locations you found…
We were shooting a scene in a nightclub and we learned it was the actual club where that scene we were shooting had happened in real life. The establishment had changed ownership and so the club had a new name. When one of the club employees was talking to our producer about Andrew’s story, he told us that the crime had in fact happened at that club, that it was the same place. He told us the previous name and sure enough it matched the name we had read in the court documents. We had been looking for this club all along and completely by chance ended up shooting at the real place. How’s that for accuracy? Q: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
It was fun shooting the scene where Andrew and his girlfriend take a ride in his car. We had a special camera mount inside the vehicle and were able to shoot some dynamic shots inside a moving vehicle. The sun was setting so we had that magical golden light pouring into the vehicle. That sequence turned out beautifully. Q: And what is your favorite scene in the finished product?
Andrew’s last moments inside the Jeep Cherokee. The combination of Jonathan Gaietto’s nuanced performance; Paul Marshall’s and Andreas Burgress’ lush photography; and Christopher Dillon’s precision editing and the ethereal music by Family Band and Perfume Genius make for a very evocative scene.
Q: Tell me about one memorable day on set.
I was a bit nervous about how well we were going to be able to pull off the scenes of Andrew and his son. We were lucky to find such a charismatic toddler. I had Jonathan play with him as soon as he arrived on set. As they were playing together we quickly set up cameras around them and started shooting whatever they were doing. I would feed Jonathan lines and then in the middle of shooting all of this the little boy started calling Jonathan “daddy.” That was really touching.