Arman Darbo got his film career started in China, where he lived for nearly a decade after being born in France. He appeared in films like Kung Fu Man opposite Tiger Chen and others before relocating to America. He may have found his breakout role in And Then I Go, a film adaptation of Jim Sheperd‘s novel “Project X”, now available on VOD and Digital HD from the Orchard.
World Film Geek had the opportunity to talk with Darbo about the film.
First of all, thank you so much Arman for talking about And Then I Go. The film was really great and you truly pulled it off in your role as Edwin.
Thank you so much!
Did you get a chance to read the book Project X by Jim Shepard (above right), the book that this movie was based on? (Ed. note: Shepard co-wrote the film adaptation)
Yes, I did.
I actually just read it last week after seeing the film and felt both were great in terms of depiction and as I read it, after seeing the film, I just envisioned you from the film and it couldn’t have fit any better.
That’s great to hear. Thank you so much!
What attracted you to the role of Edwin?
I liked how it was written. It was written, basically like what every kid goes through. And I liked how he is a part of the tragedy that results from everything he goes through. He’s just a normal kid that goes through a lot and he decides to do something about it.
What was it like working with Melanie Lynskey and Justin Long, who play your parents in the film?
They were great! Melanie Lynskey is pretty soft-spoken. She’s really sweet and really nice. She’s the nicest person ever. And Justin Long, he’s pretty funny! He did a lot of improv on the set, something the other actors didn’t do. But, he would add to his lines and the way I would react is genuine because I wasn’t expecting him to say certain things because he improvised them and it would be the first time I’m hearing them, unlike the other actors. They were really nice off-set as well and I enjoyed working with them.
That’s one thing I noticed because I usually saw Justin as a more comedic actor and this film truly brings a welcome against-type cast with his role. So to hear that he improvised a lot of what he said really makes that interesting.
Yeah, it was actually really cool.
I understand you lived in various parts of the world, notably China, where you started your film career. With the film’s central theme of bullying, did you ever experience anything like that while living there?
I actually did. I’m half-French and at the time, I didn’t really know English, so I went to a French school. It was a really weird system because you had high school, middle school, and elementary school all in this one campus. It was really intimidating because as a fifth-grader, you would see these high schoolers and getting into brawls. I guess everyone at one point will experience bullying because that’s a part of life. You just have to try to deal with it. Some people can’t and that’s all right but yeah, I did have my share of experiences with it.
What do you hope people will get out of seeing this film?
I just hope people will get a different perspective of a tragedy that can happen. It doesn’t matter if they agree with it or not, but I’m glad people are seeing it from a different angle and to understand there are different angles to a story. There are many factors that go into tragedies.
What struck me about both the book and the film is that none of it is glorified like other works. This brought a more realistic approach to the point where it can even make people wonder, could this be a true story. Has this actually happened? Things like that. And I thought it was great and I think more people need to see this.
I definitely agree with that. It’s more than just me and the other actors playing characters. It became really authentic as these are what people go through with the times. I mean, take the last scene for example, there were really people in that gym. It didn’t feel forced. It felt really genuine and realistic, truly bringing that authenticity to the film.
Well, I am already recommending this film to some of my peers. Finally, are there any new projects you are working on?
I just completed a film called Greatland and all I can say about it is that it is a dystopian sci-fi film.
That’s great and you had me at “dystopian sci-fi” so I’ll be on the lookout for it. And Then I Go is now on VOD and Digital HD. I always tend to say every actor has had a breakout role and I can say, Arman, this film is your breakout role. Everyone needs to see it not just because of your role but the film’s theme and message is truly a real issue in today’s world.
Thank you so much! And thank you for having me talk about it.
A special Thank You goes out to Katrina Wan PR and Arman Darbo for making this interview possible.