Tribeca 2014 Interview: Noah Buschel's GLASS CHIN
As the music starts and the first scene opens up in Noah Buschel's Glass Chin, you may think you're about to watch the newest version of Rocky what with the running boxer at dawn, dramatic theme score and all. The story, however, is something altogether otherworldly and yet at the same time realistic in its aesthetic, bringing you down a road of lost morality and forgotten chances with some terrific performances by co-stars Marin Ireland and Billy Crudup.
At the premiere party I was able to catch up with Buschel briefly and cram a few questions in about his unique style of shooting and why his leading man, Corey Stoll (House of Cards) is the 'dude' of the moment.
Twitch: You have a very stylized, specific voice for storytelling. Is this something you find you do in all your films?
Noah Buschel: It's sort of going further and further in [this particular] direction, but probably started off... No, never mind. It didn't start off generic. It's always been like this.
There are a lot of one-shot scenes with very long takes. What appeals to you about that type of showcasing?
I could reference an old Japanese filmmaker or something like that, but I won't. Really I just enjoy actor movies, like movies that you maybe don't even remember who directed it, but you remember who was in it. Like Two Lovers - that is a James Gray movie, but really it's a Joaquin Phoenix movie. If an actor has the goods, I don't need to do a whole bunch of fancy stuff.
Which includes reaction shots. You stay fully with a character when they're talking.
When you edit actors you can't really get their rhythms unless you have two cameras, which I don't like to have. I like the musicality that they're coming up with on their own and I don't want to disturb that.
Were their influencers to writing and directing this film?
I wanted to take a genre that I'm fond of - old, noir, boxing films - and then mix it with things that were going on in my life.
Were you being framed for murder?
No, (laughing) but there are other ways of feeling trapped - finances, breakups - and when you feel trapped you look for a way out. That's the feeling I wanted to convey.
[SPOILER ALERT] The ending - were there any other ideas for the ending?
We shot an ending where Corey's character is in a jail cell and gets a newspaper to find out whether or not the boxer he was training won. But that's not what the movie is about. It's about whether he sells the kid out or not [for his own safety and gain].
Why did you choose Stoll for this role?
I was talking to his father about this actually - there aren't many American dudes with big thick necks and that can conceivably be a boxer, but who can also act their asses off. That's why we keep importing these fucking Australians. I didn't want Gerard Butler playing this dude, [not that he's Australian] and he was brought up. I wanted an American and it couldn't be your standard pretty boy.
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