So Cal, what was your feeling about going to the audition? Did you just go with Andre for the hell of it?
Robertson: Yeah. He told me it was a coming of age movie and I had already been in a few commercials and done a bunch of auditions in New York, so I initially didn’t want to do it.
So when did you guys find out what the film was really about?
Keuck: Ben had sent me the script before the audition.
Coccio: I had a feeling that he would be pretty good. Just from our contact over the phone, I don’t think Cal ever read it (laugh).
Robertson: No, I never read it.
How much was improvised?
Coccio: Every scene you see in the movie is in the script except for the braces and the New Year’s Eve footage. The dialogue that they say in the movie is similar to what’s written, but my intention all along was to have them improvise. They didn’t really have to read the script as long as I knew what was going on. Occasionally I’d tell them they’d have to say a specific thing.
Keuck: I’d be driving and he’d be in the back seat saying you guys have to say this or that and we’d continue the scene.
Were you and Cal doing the camera work?
Keuck: It was all three of us.
Coccio: I tried to do as much as I could. But there were times when it had to be one of them.
Keuck: We had a series of hand gestures made up so Ben could stand off camera and I’d just look at him while the camera was pointing at Cal and he’d give me a sign for a head shot, another to zoom out.
How did you direct the supporting actors? ^ Coccio: I tried to avoid telling them the full context of the movie. I would just tell them the scene.
How did it come about that both Andre and Cal’s parents would be in the film?
Coccio: I just wanted the interaction between the kids and the parents to be natural. I had some other adults ready to come in, but when we did the scenes with their real parents it worked.
There are obvious comparisons to “The Blair Witch Project,” but were there any other film that inspired the way you made it?
Coccio: I was inspired by a lot of movies. I think the thing about “Blair Witch” is it’s a great use of first person narrative. I was only inspired by the technique. It convinces you that this supernatural thing could possibly exist and that’s a great scare. The scary thing about this is that we all know that this has happened and that it’s just trying to suspend your disbelief and this is the vehicle to suspend disbelief. There were a lot of other films that have inspired me.
Robertson: You gave us a list of films to watch. I remember you said to watch “Taxi Driver.”
Coccio: I gave them a list of movies to watch. I don’t think they got to watch any of them because we started right away.
What was on the list?
Coccio: Yeah, there was “Taxi Driver,” some Cassavetes films. He was a big inspiration.
How old were you guys when you filmed this?
Keuck: I was 16 (now 18) and Cal was 15 (17).
I know you guys have seen the film dozens of times, but is it weird seeing your selves on the big screen?
Robertson: Last night I actually sat back and really watched it carefully and I was really surprised I had that in me. I couldn’t believe those kinds of emotions could be inside me.
Are you both persuing acting?
Keuck: I’m going to George Washington University in the fall.
Robertson: I just shot a few episodes of “The Sopranos,” now I’m going to go to the mid-west and be a nomad for a while.
What has been the reaction at festivals? Has anyone voiced their objection of the violence and you guys showing how to make pipe bombs?
Coccio: I don’t think this film will inspire anyone to do this kind of stuff. If anything, it will turn people off from doing it.
Keuck: We’re not showing anything new. If someone wanted to do the things that we did, it’s real easy to find out.
Robertson: I mean, it’s called a pipe bomb. If I wanted to make one that’s all I’d need to know; pipe and some gun powder.
Posted on October 21, 2003 in Interviews by Jason Guerrasio
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- THE “ZERO DAY” CLUB
- BEN COCCIO: AIMING FOR “ZERO DAY”
- ANOTHER KIND OF GORE AT SLAMDUNK AWARDS CEREMONY
- BEN COCCIO: AIMING FOR “ZERO DAY”
- IT’S “ZERO DAY” AT HAD TO BE MADE
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