Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Filmmaker interview by Jason Knight
For those who haven't seen it yet, what is Dual Action about?
Dual Action is a short story about a dying gangster, confronted by two mysterious figures in his final moments. It's sort of a Reservoir Dogs meets Christmas Carol type of story, where the main character is forced to face his own mortality and define the meaning of life. He's tormented by guilt and repentance and must come to term with who he really is. It's a fun twist on the gangster genre.
What motivated you to do this film?
Two actor friends of mine (The fella playing White and the lady playing Black, Joel Bernard and Elyse Price) reached out to see if I'd be interested in adapting a play they did in highschool. The playwright sent me a copy of the script and I felt like I had to shoot it. We all make mistakes, and I think that this film shines a light on the stories we tell ourselves about those mistakes. How do we define ourselves? How do we excuse our own bad behavior? I love these types of stories, so naturally -- I said YES! I did some rewriting, and two months later we were on set.
What did you find most challenging about the experience?
The film was shot inside a tiny shed in Queens, on one of the hottest days of the summer. I think it was over 100 degrees that night. You can actually see how sweaty the actors get, it's ridiculous. Aside from the scorching heat, the echo and hollowness of the space contributed to a very challenging sound mixing process. A big chunk of the film's budget ended up being spent on sound engineers to try and fix the audio. It was a nightmare.
How would you describe the cast? What was it like working with them?
Well, I've worked with Joe Trombino, Elyse Price, and Joe Bernard before on my debut feature film, Pickings, they're amazingly talented. Joe Trombino blew us all away with his performance! (he has a mostly uncut, 4-minute monologue in this movie, and he nailed it!). We rehearsed the film a couple of times and then shot it all in one day. As for Lauren (Skye Stracke), she was a delight to work with, we casted her off Backstage. I even gave myself a little cameo in the film, my very first one!
What do you like most about filmmaking?
That's an interesting question, I love almost every part of the process (with the exception of dialogue editing, never again! I'll leave that up to the pros). If I had to choose I'd say my absolute favorite part would be directing the camera and working with actors, but then again without the writing process there's nothing to direct, and without the edit the story can't come together. So I think it's safe to say I love it all.
What are your plans for the future?
As for future plans, I'm releasing 2 short films this month (October) -- one is an award-winning horror short I wrote, directed, and produced called Trapped Inside, and the other is a psychological thriller I co-directed with Katie Vincent called Windblown (you've actually reviewed it: https://www.ukfilmreview.co.uk/post/windblown-short-film-review). In addition, I'm in post for 2 short films and will shoot my biggest one yet in April of 2021 (it's an insanely ambitious horror film). Lastly, I have 2 feature films in development, I'm hoping to shoot the first one in 2021 if the whole Covid situation will allow it, and the other one the following year. You can follow along on my Instagram @ushermorgan or on my production company's website www.darkpassagefilms.com
Is there anyone you would particularly like to work with?
Wow, the list is long. Honestly my biggest dream is to work with Bill Murray, in any capacity.