Adam Egypt Mortimer is well verse in the horror genre. After some short films, he made his feature film debut on the revenge film Some Kind of Hate followed by an installment of the anthology horror film Holidays. Mortimer returns with Daniel Isn’t Real, which comes to theaters, VOD, and Digital on December 6 from Samuel Goldwyn Films.
World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Mortimer about his latest film.
Thank you so much Adam for talking about Daniel Isn’t Real. I was totally blown away with this film. I felt like it tackled the real issue of mental illness along with reminding me of an underrated 90’s film, Drop Dead Fred, reimagined as a horror film. Overall, a great film!
Thank you so much! You know, that’s interesting. Everyone was talking to me about Drop Dead Fred and how it was about an imaginary friend. So, before we began shooting this film, I actually watched it for the first time. I think both films could make a good double feature.
You co-wrote the film with Brian DeLeeuw, who also collaborated with you on Some Kind of Hate. What was your inspiration in bringing this story to life?
Well, it’s based on Brian’s novel, and I was really excited to work with him when we did the first film. What I wanted to do with this film is to make it a horror film, a dark fantasy that would be about the psyche of the human mind and how it affects us all within. We all have interior secret struggles that shows us how human we are. It was about how to bring two personalities of one person to life. So, while it was based on a novel, I wanted to bring it in a realistic and physical as well as visual way to bring the story to life.
The film’s driving forces were Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger, the latter who really surprised me with this titular role of Daniel. It’s clear he is going through a different route in terms of acting and this is, in my opinion, one of his best roles yet. What was it like working with these two on the film as well as the rest of the cast?
Patrick is a very hard worker. He would ask me what I wanted in terms of his character and he was also into the technical aspects of the film. The camera angles, the lighting. He’s about a physical actor so he was very much involved with the project. As for Miles, he’s a live-wire empathy machine. He likes to improvise, and he wanted to bring a little bit of comic flair to the role, so he would tell jokes but at the same time, he was very understanding about his character and the state of mind of his character. It was a pleasure working with him.
As for Sasha Lane, I had seen her in American Honey years ago and I said I have to work with her. And the great thing about Sasha is that she is totally natural as she is just like her character of Cassie. She really understood the character as both use art to see the visual mind of their subjects. She was really great to work with.
The film tackles a serious issue in mental illness. As the film is a horror film, there are specific scenes involving Claire and Luke that one can’t help but sympathize with them. Can you say this film could bring some sort of awareness towards mental illness?
That’s funny you said that. I was just asking my psychiatrist the same question and she said to me, any form of media that discusses mental illness is a win-win. What I was intending here is depicting the reality of the mind, bringing in a sense of authenticity, even though this is a horror film. It is about relating to feeling of empathy and the struggle to survive within.
Finally, are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about?
Yes! I am actually working with SpectreVision again. We are doing a dark superhero-crime film that is starring Joe Mangianello. It’s described as Leaving Las Vegas meets Superman. (Laughs)
Daniel Isn’t Real comes December 6 and not only should anyone see this for a tour-de-force performance from Patrick Schwarzengger in the title role, but it does bring up a serious issue as well, all wrapped up in a nice, demented, little package. Thank you again Adam for talking about the film.
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it!
A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Adam Egypt Mortimer for making this interview possible.