I recently got the chance to talk to Graham Sibley about his role in ‘Robotropolis’. Here, Graham talks about how he got involved in the project and about his ongoing voyage in film-making…
Hey Graham. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film ‘Robotropolis’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Robotropolis’ is an intense drama set during World War II where a mentally handicapped Jewish woman tries to save her family from the Nazi’s. But there is a twist… the woman is not actually handicapped – she’s a robot programmed by her “father” to fall in love with Hitler’s perverted assistant who has some top-secret fetish. It ends with expensive explosions and the American’s saving the day. I play DEAD NAZI #2.
I’m kidding. It’s a killer-robot movie we shot in Singapore.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play the camera operator dude. He’s the guy that tries to keep the mood fun when robots start squashing people.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
It’s kind of a funny story. A couple of years ago I was at this copy shop in North Hollywood printing up some reviews from a film I was in called ‘Zombie Honeymoon’. This guy came up to me and started looking at these reviews… and we sparked up a conversation and exchanged information. We stayed in touch and became good friends. This guy happened to be Chris Hatton, the writer/director of ‘Robotropolis’.
How would you say this film is different from other sci-fi films? Would you say it’s a bit ‘Terminator’-esque?
How is it different? It is the only movie in the world where someone head butts a robot. I can guarantee that. Is it ‘Terminator’-esque? I don’t know. Sort of. I mean it is about robots that take over the world but its different. The film takes place during a live broadcast so there is this additional element to it.
The film stars Zoe Naylor, your good self, Edward Foy, Lani Tupu and Tonya Cornelisse – what was it like working with the cast and crew on set?
It was hot as hell. Singapore is right on the equator and we shot most of this film in the sweltering heat. Zoe is great, you know. She and I fell in love with Singaporean slang. We really bonded over learning swear words. It was awesome. Ed and Lani were great. I didn’t have as many scenes with them but we did get to share many laughs about the smell of durian. Tonya and I are best friends in real life. We’ve been creative partners-in-crime for almost ten years. We had a blast working together as always.
Let’s talk a bit about you Graham. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I don’t know. There is a really honest answer, which is probably inappropriate for this interview, so I’ll just say… I think I was always an actor. I originally went to film school to direct but fell in love with studying storytelling from the acting perspective. So… I kept going with it.
You’ve had a number of roles in different TV series and shorts – who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given you the best advice?
My favorite actor to work with is without a doubt Tonya Cornelisse. We pretty much know everything about each other and really push ourselves when we get to work together. We just did a live show, which we co-wrote and performed. It took over a year to develop the characters and another year to write all the music and learn how to play our instruments. Two years man, but we did it. I learned how to play guitar and Tonya learned how to play drums. In terms of advice… I call on my good friend and mentor, Garrett M. Brown, for advice all the time. We met on my first television job and have become really great friends over the years. I feel lucky to call him my mentor. He’s been an artist for a long time now and he always says, “Focus on the work and the rest will follow”. So that’s what I do.
As we’ve mentioned you’ve been in a number of shorts – how important do you think the indie industry is right now?
The independent film scene is vital for the progression of cinema. It is the only way filmmakers will be able to take risks, discover new techniques and develop their artistic voice. AND cinema plays a vital role in social change… so support it.
If I was a genie and could grant you three wishes, what would they be?
- I’d like a healthy family… and a lake house.
- I’d like to see a system put in place where by any artist could write a really good e-mail to email@example.com and their project would be immediately funded.
- World peace.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would they be and why?
This is a hard one. I’d love to meet, sit down and eat with a bunch of people. I’d love to meet the Dali Lama…. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, George Washington, Thomas Edison, Ghandi… Jesus. Who would I have over for dinner? This is hard.
Okay… I don’t know if I’d really want to join this dinner but I’d love to observe because I think it would be hilarious.
Orsen Welles (way before the champagne commercial), Anna Nicole Smith (the night of her drunken cluster-mumble at the VMA’s) and Neil Armstrong (right after he got back from the Moon) would be my guests of honour. Donald Trump would be our waiter, serving a grand tasting menu of fifteen courses.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
Well, 2011 is almost over… so I look forward to spending the holidays with my girlfriend and family and recharging for 2012. Next year looks like it is going to be pretty busy, which is awesome. I’m collaborating with some incredible people on various projects. I’m trying to get my first film off the ground. I have always wanted to direct and I’ve been working on this script for 5 years that I’ve written called ‘The Resurrection Of Pastor Dan’. It’s about a youth pastor that is forced to deal with his past in order to find the truth behind his mother’s murder. I’m working with some very talented peeps. We’re putting together an awesome package so next year will be the hunt for money.
Tonya and I have a bunch of stuff that we’re always working on… we just shot our ‘Crack Whore Galore’ pilot, which is pretty cool. That’s the live show music thing I mentioned earlier. We play these UK transplants that met in rehab and adventure to Hollywood to be rock-stars. We have co-written a bunch of really dirty rock songs that we play together. It’s so much fun. So… we’re cutting the pilot now and that should be floating around next year. Hopefully someone picks us up! We also have written a feature together called ‘Frank & Jules’ that we are finishing up and trying to get off the ground.
I’m also working on my first graphic novel with an amazing artist named Hillary Bauman. It’s called ‘Cirrus’. We’ve been working on it for a couple of years now and I am very excited about releasing it at some point next year.
And then at the end of next year, I’ll have another film that I am in coming out called ‘Saving Lincoln’. It’s this epic Abraham Lincoln movie we shot this summer. We filmed the whole thing on a green screen! It’s going to be very cool!
Thanks for the interview!