Based on the absurd but true story
Mr. Robert Budreau has made various short films that has won film festival awards. His feature film, That Beautiful Somewhere(based on a novel Loon by Bill Plumstead), got nominated for Genie Awards. It was also shown at Atlantic Film Festival, Calgary International film festival, Montreal World Film Festival, and many more. His other film, Born to Be Blue, starred Oscar-nominated actor Ethan Hawke and the lovely Carmen Ejogo. It made a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival. Now, his latest film, Stockholm, has Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, Mark Strong, Christopher Heyerdahl, and Thorbjorn Harr in it. The film has already won an award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Awards. So, get to know this gifted director, screenwriter, and producer and go check out his film, Shockholm, on Friday, April 12th.
1. What drew you to write and direct Stockholm?
I was given an article in the New Yorker from 1975 by Daniel Lang called ‘The Bank Drama’ and was immediately fascinated by the rich characters and stranger than fiction absurdity. I was also attracted to working in limited locations with great actors.
2. How long did it take you to write the first draft of Stockholm?
This script came together quickly because of the article and the contained chronological of the story. A first draft came together over several months after doing some research.
3. Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get back on track?
No writer’s block on this one. Because I had tons of information, it was more about what to cut back as opposed to a lack of things to say. When I do get writer’s block, it’s usually more about focusing my attention. In order to get back on track, I need to ignore emails and life around me and concentrate on creating.
4. What is your writing habit in general? Do you write in the daytime or nighttime?
I try to write in the mornings and afternoons. With kids, my days are more limited now so I often put in a few hours in the evenings after getting them to sleep.
5. What research did you do when writing Stockholm?
The New Yorker article was my foundation since Daniel Lang already did a lot of research and interviews. I also went to Stockholm several times and reviewed all of the archives and court transcripts. There was a ton of information and photos. It was all in Swedish of course, so that poses its own translation issues…
6. What is your favorite line from Stockholm and Born to Be Blue?
Don’t really have favorites, but here are a few-
Stockholm: “How did the fish turn out?” / “They had meatloaf”.
Born to be Blue: “Miles told me to comeback after I’d lived it a little…”
7. On Born to be Blue, how did you get the rights to write a story about Chet Baker and what was your overall experience working with Carmen Ejogo?
Working with Carmen was great.
Because I based the story on information in the public domain, and because Chet didn’t really write his own songs, we only required the publishing rights to the music.
8. What was your very first short film? What were the challenges you face and how did you overcome them?
My first short was a black and white 1940s musical film noir called ‘Dream Recording’, featuring the music of David Braid who would later compose and score Born to be Blue.
The challenge on that film was shooting in negative 28 degree weather in February and being very green as a filmmaker.
9. Could you give a fun fact about your experience working with Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace , Mark Strong, and/or any other cast members in Stockholm?
Ethan’s such a consummate pro and generous actor we would run 2 minute shots even for tiny bit lines from supporting cast close-ups and Ethan would give 110%. And then finally jump into the shot realizing he wasn’t in full wardrobe. He’s such a contagiously positive influence on the cast and crew.
10. If you were forced to watch one movie (besides yours), nonstop, for a whole day in a locked room, which movie would you choose?
Raging Bull. My favorite film.
11. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter/ producer, how would one get you or any expert to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
By calling me or sending me the story or by sending or calling my manager or agent.
12. What piece of advice do you have for screenwriters starting out?
Write as much as possible to hone the craft. Be very patient. Don’t get caught trying to follow trends. Write with budget in mind for indie films. Keep it simple.
13. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?
Bob Dylan, Robert DeNiro and Obama. The first two wouldn’t want to say anything, but who cares. We could listen to music together and then they’d talk to Obama.
14. Which novel/novella/short story have you read that you would like to make a film adaptation?
All Through the House by Christopher Coake - amazing, but tricky to adapt.
15. Last question, (fill in the blank) if I wasn’t afraid I would_______________?
As the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. So, prepare yourself to see Stockholm, an unbelievable story that actually happened. All in all, I just want to extend my gratitude to Mr. Robert Budreau for taking his time to be interviewed by me. If you want to know more about his past and present film projects just visit this website: Lumanity.com Again, his latest film, Stockholm, will be release in theaters on Friday, April 12. Thank you for stopping by to read this and I hope you have a blessed and productive day.