I recently got the chance to talk to Alain Goulem about his role in Eric Bana’s new film, ‘Deadfall’. Here, Alain talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and about his experiences working in video-games…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The basic story of ‘Deadfall’ is that Addison and Liza – (Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde) are a brother and sister who rob a bank. While making their getaway their driver crashes the car and they have a shoot-out with state police. Addison and Liza decide to split up and meet in Canada. Along the way Liza makes friends and Addison makes enemies. I won’t spoil the story but they both meet up with some very interesting characters.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play a guy called Bobby who is a trapper with a young wife and daughter living in a tiny cabin in the wilderness. Bobby is an abusive alcoholic. When Addison comes across our cabin in the woods he intervenes on a domestic squabble. He essentially saves my wife and daughter from my violent outbursts. It doesn’t end well for Bobby!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
The film was shot in and around my home town of Montreal. I got a call to meet with Stefan and it went from there. I did a pre-casting audition with Eric Bana and that went well, so off we went to some freezing cold location north of Montreal called Sacacomie.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
‘Deadfall’ is a nice throwback to the great films of the sixties and seventies. The anti-hero driven movie, ‘Bonnie And Clyde’, ‘Mean Streets’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’. It gets inside the heads of the robbers, it tells their side. Movies nowadays, Hollywood films anyway seem to need a moralistic centre, few American movies, outside The Coen Brothers like to get dirty in a moral way.
The film stars Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Patrick Kerton, Kwasi Songui, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek, John Robinson, Job Daniel, Jocelyne Zucco and Treat Williams – with Stefan Ruzowitzky onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
My scenes were very much out on their own in the secluded cabin so I only worked with Eric, Sarah Hansen and Teale – (who played my daughter). It was very intense, and sensitive. Teale was around 9 years old when we shot it and she witnesses some very offensive language and incredibly intense emotion. We were all very careful to do the scene justice but to make sure the little girl actor wasn’t traumatized. It was also very cold and very loud with wind machines and blowing snow. When we got to the final stand-off between myself and Eric it was quite intense and to be honest a lot of fun. Eric is a visceral and honest actor, with real technical chops as well so it’s always a pleasure to work with a talented pro. What was less fun was the next scene when he gets rid of my body by dragging it through the woods and throwing it into the almost frozen river.
Let’s talk a bit about you Alain. What made you want to get into the acting industry in the first place?
I’ve known I wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember. I had a pal who did some commercials when I was about nine years old. I told my mom that’s what I wanted to do. I asked my buddy how he got to be in an ad, he gave me a pamphlet for an acting school for kids (Children’s Theatre Montréal) and I signed up. I got my first commercial before I even took a class, and I’ve never thought about any other career path. I’ve since studied at Drama school and taken many classes and workshops and worked for years in the theatre.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
Anyone who ever asks me about going into the active business gets the same answers. You better love it for better or for worse, you better be okay with rejection, because there is a lot more no than yes in the biz. And if you think making a movie is all glitz and excitement…talk to me after your first shoot…it can be deathly boring, so much waiting around. That is the skill I’ve seen that the best actors have, staying focused and being ready when it’s time to shoot, because it can be hours between set ups.
You’ve been in a number of different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with and why? Any good stories?
My first good job after theatre school was an amazing Canadian mini series called ‘The Boys Of St Vincent’. It looks at the sexual abuse at a Christian orphanage and the aftermath. Working with Henry Czerny was an eye opener. He played the senior priest at the orphanage and his focus and attention to detail was incredible. He showed me how to conserve energy and save it for the shot. He also had humour and humility, qualities that aren’t always in full view on a movie set. Beau Bridges was also a joy to be around, I worked with him on the PT Barnum story.
Christopher Plummer is one of the great Canadian actors who gets better and better with age, which is scary because he was so good when he was younger. I’ve had the pleasure of being on two sets with him. He is a true gentleman and a great actor.
You’re also a voice-over artist as well on some great gaming projects – which game and character have you most enjoyed voicing on?
Working in video games is becoming a big part of our job landscape and becoming more and more enjoyable as well. Now we actually act the scenes, we put on motion capture suits and helmets with cameras to capture our facial expressions, we interact with the other actors in a strange sci-fi green screen room. The latest projects that have been great to work on also became very successful so that was a bonus. I played Agent Willis in ‘Far Cry 3’. A fun crazy role and it took a long time to put it all together but when it hit this year people went mad for it. Same with ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, in which I have a smaller role (as Barrett) but it seems that it is one of the biggest challenges for gamers. It’s a bit surprising to me the enthusiasm and knowledge, gamers have for the minutia of these worlds.
What’s currently on your I-Pod right now?
Like so many others I’ve been listening to Mumford And Sons, Of Monsters And Men, The Lumineers and ‘The King Is Dead’ by The Decemberists. And I always, always have Wilco on there.
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose?
My ultimate dinner party would have to include Joe Strummer, Albert Einstein and Meryl Streep.
Which film was your favourite of 2012 and why?
My favourite film of last year was ‘Life Of Pi’ – (not because it’s set in Montreal). It was so magical and beautiful. The acting was pitch perfect. The themes were large and moving. The execution was flawless. I said to my wife when we were watching the Oscars, Ben Affleck did a good job with ‘Argo’, but Ang Lee could have made ‘Argo’ in his sleep and there is no way Mr Affleck could have made anything as radiant and masterful as ‘Life Of Pi’.
What’s coming up for you in 2013?
This summer I’ll be playing Bottom in ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ in Shakespeare In The Park. I have a French Canadian film in the works and I have several scripts I’m developing for television.
Thanks for the interview!