Sean Stone is the son of well-known director Oliver Stone. Sean is not only directing but also writing and starring in his film “Greystone Park”, read our review here. Media Mikes had a chance to find out what it was like working on the film, with his father and what we can expect next?
Mike Gencarelli: How did the concept for “Greystone Park” come about?
Sean Stone: Well, it was about the same way that you see in the movie. I met Alex Wraith in October 2009 with my father, since he worked on “Wall Street 2”. We all had dinner one night and found that that Alex had been breaking into Greystone for like three years prior to meeting me. He would bring a camera to record his experiences; otherwise he said no one would believe him. He had an idea for a movie based on these experiences. The whole idea was based around that location itself, which was just so perfect. When he told me about it, I thought it sounded cool and had always wanted to have a ghost hunting experience, so I checked it out. When we went the first time, wee did get end up getting lost for real like in the movie but luckily we got out after an hour or so, once we found a door that wasn’t locked. But we said what would happen if we got lost inside and couldn’t get out. Then we kept writing the rest of the story based on that. That became the basis for about 80% of the film.
MG: How was it not only directing but also writing and starring?
SS: Challenging [laughs]. It is a big challenge to really immerse yourself into that world. In one sense it is easier if you are doing a documentary. But if you are operating the camera, giving lines and acting at the same time, it starts getting complicated. The hardest part was that there were certain things that we had to have staged. We had to make sure the camera was in certain places to hit right at a specific moment. That was really the tricky part from the directing point-of-view. Luckily, I was able to trust my actors to use the camera as their eye, for example. Then I would be able to be in a scene acting and still be able to cue, let’s say, a footstep or a door closing. I would have to be able to be conscious in and out of the scene. It is like a magician, having a hand out and trying to setup a distraction for the reveal.
MG:What do you feel that the film brings new to the found footage genre?
SS: Well, ours is based on a true story. We actually broke in, went to these places and had these experiences. I have never been a big fan of the found footage genre. It is one thing to tell a story based on real events. It is another thing to just concoct a story and pretend it is real. I feel that “The Blair Witch Project” was the worst offender is that regard. Even the “Blair Witch” itself, I thought there was a real witch myself [laughs]. That was the age before internet, you didn’t know that stuff. But with “Greystone”, I don’t think we belong bunched in with films like those. We broke in, actually had these experiences and this is our story.
MG: How did you get your father, Oliver Stone, involved in this project as well?
SS: That grew organically out of the fact that I was going to play myself. Originally when we wrote it, I was going to have my friend play my character and just focusing on directing. But then the producers, Alex and a few other people I trust pushed me to play myself in the film. They said it would be more interesting. What happened next was that I called my father, their already was a character written for the father, and just asked him. At first he was hesitant, since he was thinking that people would say its nepotism or be extra critical about it due to that. But we decided just to do it anyway and he went with it. I think that there is a reality TV quality to that and I find it very interesting.
MG: Having worked with your father directing on numerous projects, tell us about your director style?
SS: What is interesting that before we even started shooting and just had the script, one of the investors said he told this project felt like “Natural Born Killers” meets “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. At first I didn’t understand that until we shot it and cut it. It does look like “Natural Born Killers”. It is uses a lot of cuts, a lot of edits and even some stock footage. We used a couple different cameras on the shoot also to get a different feel. The overall effect has this hallucinogenic quality. It was not intended that way. The one thing that I learned from my father would be to shift styles depending on what kind of movie you are trying to tell. He has always been able to do that by telling one story in a classical shooting fashion and then tell another with a different avant-garde post-modern way.
MG: What do you have planned next?
SS: I am working on a martial arts comedy. It will be an homage to 70/80’s action hero cinema. It is called “Enter The Fist”. We have a website (http://www.fistthemovie.com/) up currently, you can check it out.