Lead-actor William Mapother recently spoke to us about his upcoming film, The Atticus Institute.
Out on home entertainment release from the 23rd March 2015 (in the UK), The Atticus Institute is a horrific, possession thriller starring William Mapother and Rya Kihlstedt. In the film, we follow a group of researchers at a parapsychology lab and the consequences of their newest test subject being possessed by an evil entity. Upon this, the U.S. Government intervenes and takes total control. The research institute's founder, Dr. Henry West (William Mapother), and his team soon uncover that the government's intention is to weaponize the demon and make use, for military purposes, its uncanny powers.
Firstly, congratulations on creating a very creepy film. Given the scary tones, could you explain what it was like on set with an atmosphere?
The atmosphere was generally very business-like. We had little time and money so we had to be focused and efficient. Chris Sparling was very prepared and very aware of what he needs. However once the cameras started rolling, the atmosphere became more like what you see on-screen. It was a bit ominous, a bit unnerving. Especially when Rya was on set and performing in possessed-mode!
Are you a believer in such things? (Possession, exorcisms etc).
I would put those in the same category as ESP. I don’t think we know. It seems every week, science is discovering things previously considered impossible and I think it’s too soon for us to conclude what the limitations are for humans and for this universe.
Having worked with names such as Oliver Stone and John Woo in the past, could you explain what it was like to work with Chris?
Chris was remarkably composed for a first-time director, very prepared and very clear on what he wanted. He was however also open to hearing other ideas and willing to use them if they were an improvement.
From working with the different directors, do you notice anything in particular with their different styles, or how they relate with the actors?
Yes, I absolutely notice a different in approaches among the many directors. I tend to prefer to work with a collaborative director. The example I give is if my character is like a house, I can tell you what paintings are on the wall, the condiments in the fridge. However I am less confident about the facade, I am not always certain about what is being communicated or seen and I prefer having a director who can help me adjust that.
Having worked in both TV and film, the differences between them are now closing, budgets and scales are now becoming similar. Do you have a preference to which you do most?
No, I like them both; they each have their own advantages. There tends to be more work in television and your work is more likely to be seen and seen more quickly. The advantage of film is that usually there is more time than in television so there is more time to experiment and explore. Also often in films the stories can be quirkier because they aren’t being tailored or sold to as large an audience as TV usually requires.
The craft of the film has current day interviews and footage from the past which in a way makes it feel very authentic and documented. Yet the film is fictional. There are lots of comments online reading 'Is this true?'. Do you feel that it is easily mistaken given the films style, or was it intentional to make it that way?
I think it was made to be taken as a true documentary about an actual event and I think that is a very understandable reaction to the film. I felt that way after reading the script and I think it’s testament to Chris’ writing and directing that it comes off that way. It’s difficult enough to make any film seem real and to make a period film about the parapsychology phenomena seem real is even more difficult.
Could you talk us through you involvement in the film industry aside from acting?
I am the co-founder of the first online film finance market place. This site allows people to actually invest in projects and participate in the project. We connect independent film makers with investors. We have about 2500 projects online – with Oscar winners, Oscar nominees. As a side benefit, we have created the first entertainment-industry only social network, we have over 20,000 users including Actors, directors, agents, producers, distributors and below the line. We want to increase the flow of capital to independent films and bring some transparency to the film industry. We support projects of multiple languages. Slated.com – running for longer than 2 years.
The Atticus Institute is released in the UK on DVD & Blu-ray on March 23rd, 2015.
To purchase on Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/ATTICUSUK