When it comes to harrowing and intense genre work, nobody is more prolific than filmmaker Adrián García Bogliano. Having created a wealth of scary memorable movies both past (see the eerie “Cold Sweat” and “Penumbra!”) and present (“Here Comes The Devil” revels in uneasiness!), Bogliano has carved a quite a name for himself in the field of creepy cinema. His latest outing “Scherzo Diabolico” (out now on VOD and iTunes from Dark Sky Films) is no different combining thrills and chills but with a surprisingly dark sense of humor. The films stars “Here Comes the Devil” alum Francisco Barreiro as an average man in a dead end job with ho-hum family life who sees a way to have it all – kidnapping, backstabbing and revenge ensue. We wanted to highlight the amazing work by Bogliano with a sit down one-on-one chat with the fantastic filmmaker and his leading man movie muse Barreiro to discuss all things “Scherzo Diabolico” – from concept to characters. (Plus there’s a little “Late Phases” Nick Damici character action chat – love that performance!) Continuing our dedication to those who make movies we adore here are…
DIRECTOR ADRIÁN GARCIA BOGLIANO FRANCISCO BARREIRO
Adrián, can you talk a bit about the genesis of “Scherzo Diabolico” and your inspirations behind it?
Adrián García Bogliano: The genesis of this was we were trying to make another movie with Francisco also and it was going to be a big production with the US and it didn’t happen. At the last minute we couldn’t make it happen, so we were kind of frustrated because we were so close to actually shooting the movie and we were like what are we going to do now? So I came up with the idea that we should do something anyway and I started writing this film that was about the frustration that I felt at the moment. But it was also about friends and a lot of people that I knew that were at a moment in their lives – 30’s and 40’s – where they think it’s their time to get things they deserve no matter what it takes. Like if I don’t succeed now it’s not going to happen – so from that perspective I thought it was interesting to do an exaggerated vision.
Francisco, on the one hand you’re character is someone who is a bit of a doormat and nervous to buck the stats quo, but on the other a focused bad guy especially when he dons the mask – can you talk about playing such extreme sides?
Francisco Barreiro: For me it was a very interesting character study because even from when I read the script it was always really complex. And what I tried to do with Adrián was character work and build a relationship with each character in the film. And I’m in the same age range and have frustrations, but there are a lot of things I haven’t experienced like I’m not a father…
Yet you’ve played one twice in this and “Here Comes The Devil” very convincingly!
FB: (Laughs) Yeah! But the thing is to bring something very complex. But the role was one in a thousand for me – as actor if they offer you such a character piece it’s wonderful.
I was fascinated not only the unconventional kidnapping/torture events inflicted by Francisco’s character but the reaction by lead gal Daniela Soto Vell – Adrián can you talk about writing such a unique spin on familiar material?
AGB: I knew we had to go through these situations where she was captive and she’s suffering, but didn’t want to put an accent on the torture elements. I wanted the people to understand the suffering so you would understand why she snaps. But I didn’t want to go with the conventional moments – not only the torture porn elements I wanted to avoid but the clichéd movie moments. So when we cut to the moment where she kills the rat a lot of people are thinking she’s doing it as a plan to get out of there and I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in how she was going crazy and that moment in the movie tells you what is going to happen. She’s going to kill this rat and then that rat – the human rat.
I’d be remiss not to mention that tasty mask Francisco wears during his torture time – can you talk a bit about finding it and using it in the film?
AGB: We were toying with a lot of crazy ideas – there was one point where it was going to be an all lady mask! (They both laugh) With big white hair and everything – it was really nuts. We thought it would be interesting because you have a guy wearing work clothes and coming with this silly mask – an interesting idea we thought but maybe it was too much. And then our producer went to this market that has ritualistic stuff and she found it – and I knew right away.
FB: The mask empowers the character and when I saw my face like that it was powerful. It helps to build another way of thinking and informed the way I walked and moved – I know that I’m scary. But it was also a little small, so if I held my head at a normal angle I couldn’t see anything and that also helped build the character.
You used a very different way of shooting this film – can talk about some of the technical challenges?
AGB: We used a technology that I don’t think was used in any other movie. We knew the crew would be small so we needed to shoot with a very simple camera and so we decided to go with a DSLR camera. But then we wanted it to look bigger, so we decided to shoot with an anamorphic adapter that takes advantage of the sensor in the camera. The adapters were not supposed to be used for shooting – they were used for films projectors back in the 60’s. You can’t do much with the ring and everything has to be a certain distance so it was in focus, so the actors couldn’t move back and forth because they would be out of focus. But I loved it and it set a certain atmosphere because the actors explosions had to have a contained energy – thought I wouldn’t do it again!
FB: It was difficult and you had to understand the distance, but it was interesting in that as an actor it was a challenge. And I hoped that it came out in focus…
AGB: The process was complicated in that we had to develop the footage to see it and it was like shooting on 16mm and we had to rely and hope it came out – it was a weird experience.
Past work – I have to talk about Nick Damici’s tasty turn in “Late Phases.” It’s a fantastic piece of character work. Can you tell me Adrián about working with Nick and how that performance came to be?
AGB: To me the key is always working with what I call hungry actors – the ones who put a lot of energy into what they do. When you work with actors who have a long career and they have a lot of recognition they work a lot more on automatic pilot whereas hungry actors want to do new things – Nick is one of those actors. He was one hundred percent onto the role and put everything into it. It’s really easy when you find an actor like that. Nick did a lot of research and he would do a ton of things like cook blindfolded in his house – and he burned himself! Most of the things you see he proposed though. On top of everything else he needed to show more age than he had and he had to go through a long process of make-up.
Any chance we’ll ever see a light flick from you Adrián – any romantic comedies in you perhaps?
(Both guys laugh)
AGB: (Smiles) There are a couple of things like that in there – but they’re always going to have some kind of dark element to it!
What’s next for you guys?
AGB: I’m preparing something new that’s coming together now. We’re not announcing anything, but I’ll be shooting something before the end of the year.
FB: I mostly work in theater, so I have my theater show that I will continue touring. And I’m working on the next piece and waiting for the next film from him!
“SCHERZO DIOBOLICO” IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES FROM DARK SKY FILMS.