Dichen Lachman talks starring and producing her new film “Lust for Love”

Dichen Lachman is best know for her work in Joss Whedon’s science fiction drama TV show “Dollhouse” as Sierra. She also played Suren in Syfy’s hit series “Being Human”. Her latest film is “Lust for Love”, which is directed by Anton King and reunites her with a lot of cast from “Dollhouse”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the film with Dichen and what was it like working with friends.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved to star in “Lust for Love”?
Dichen Lachman: I don’t know if a lot of people know this but Anton (King), the writer/director, and I used to be in a relationship. We moved to LA and were together for a very long time. Anyways, life happens and we went our separate ways. He went off to Vietnam to write scripts. We kept in touch and he ended up sending me “Lust for Love” and I really liked it. It was really fun, clever and quirky. He suggested that maybe we could make it. I thought that would be great but making a movie is very complex. Even though I have been working in the business for so long, I didn’t even know where to begin. All of the cast from “Dollhouse” all became very close friends over the two years we worked together and then on. I was invited into that “Whedon” world through Joss and my work on the show. So, I thought if we did it with our friends it would be fun.

MG: Tell us about funding the film on Kickstarter?
DL: Anton mentioned Kickstarter and we decided to look into that and we were able to raise some of the budget there thanks to the fans. The first and most important part was if our friends even wanted to be involved at all. I always thought that Fran (Kranz) would be great as Astor. I thought that he could bring something that wasn’t on the page. So we asked him to read it and he really liked it and it just grew from there. Our first table read was so much fun and it gave us the energy to keep going. Once we brought on a group of people, who thought it was a fun script, that is when we proceeded with the Kickstarter. If our friends didn’t respond it would have diminished the desire to move forward. Since they enjoyed it so much, we knew we had to do it!

MG: What was it like get back together with your crew from “Dollhouse”?
DL: It was so much fun. We would always hang out together after the show but it felt like we were hanging on to something that we lost. We got so close during our time on “Dollhouse” that it was extremely fun to revisit that place. The feeling that you have when you are on set with friends and collaborating, don’t get me wrong it was extremely difficult making this movie, but it was also very rewarding. Those moments you catch where you are doing a scene and you can’t get through it because you are laughing are wonderful.

MG: Yeah! I was going to ask, when you are working with friends like Fran; do you find it harder to focus especially for the dramatic scenes?
DL: Working with Fran is an experience that every actor should have the privilege of. He is a wonderful actor and person. It is just an extreme amount of fun. It is very difficult to get through a scene with Fran without laughing. There is one scene in the movie when we are sitting on the steps and trying so hard not to laugh. He is just riffing and bringing this life to the character that wasn’t there and because I didn’t read it, it is unexpected and spontaneous. It is so wonderful.

MG: What did you enjoy most about playing Cali?
DL: She was a great character because she is not typical. She is rather resistance to the whole romantic side of things, which I liked. She is also very practical. So acting while also producing on this project was probably one of the hardest things that I have ever done. You are trying to inhabit a character and then at the same time worrying if the caterer is going to arrive on time. I don’t know if that helped my performance since it got me out of my head and just made me do it. I didn’t have the distraction of doing too much acting. She was a really fun character and I liked her relationship with Fran a lot. She is also not a girl’s girl either and I liked that. She was like one of the guys and it was really fun to be in that place.

MG: You mentioned producing, is that something you plan to do more?
DL: I would love to, yeah! I have so much more respect for people that do that job now. It is one of those things that you have to understand every department. It is extremely difficult. We did have an incredible team though, Jack Wylson was so key and worked so hard with the other producers as well in terms of making this flow right. So I would like to do it again but I am not sure I would do it the same way though. I am excited and I hope that this opportunity will help me do more.

MG: I am not really a huge fan of romantic comedies but I was really surprised with this film and enjoyed it a lot!
DL: You can’t imagine how happy that makes me. It is definitely different and quirky. I think for people that ordinarily don’t enjoy rom-coms, there is something about this one that will speak to them.

MG: What can you tell us about your role in The CW’s “The Hundred”?
DL: I can tell you that how it came about because two writers from “Dollhouse”, Liz (Craft) and Sarah (Fain) asked me if I wanted to come play on this show. I said “Of course”. Jason (Rothenberg), the creator, is super talented and such a great writer. I spoke with him recently and he told me that “People have been asking me about your character on the show, make sure that you do not tell anyone about who you are playing” [laughs]. So in terms of that I guess I can’t say much. But I think people are really going to really respond to the show and that everyone involved is really excited about it. It is very dark, especially for The CW. I know they have stuff like “The Vampire Diaries” but this takes it another step further. After the pilot, it takes some really exciting turns, so I would say stick with it. I am very lucky to be a part of it.

Anton King talks about directing his feature debut “Lust for Love”

Anton King is an Australian writer-director, who made his started in the business by premiering short films to the film festival circuit. One of those short films, “Lust for Love”, was just turned into a feature film which packs a fantastic cast including Fran Kranz (“Dollhouse”) and Dichen Lachman (“Dollhouse”) and Beau Garrett (“Tron Legacy”). Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Anton about the film and how fans can see it.

Mike Gencarelli: “Lust for Love” was originally a short film you did back in 2007; what made you turn it into a feature?
Anton King: The “Lust for Love” short was one of the first films I made, it’s a sex comedy that played at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival a long time ago. I just always liked the title so I decided to reuse it.

MG: Tell us about how you financed the entire film from your Kickstarter campaign?
AK: We were blessed with the support of our Kickstarter backers and many volunteers who contributed to the production, however like most independent films Lust for Love took longer and cost more than anticipated. After shooting the film we obtained other investment necessary to complete and deliver it, although we’re still very proud of what we were able to achieve given our limited budget.

MG: Tell us how you got Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman and many others from the “Whedonverse” involved with the film including Enver Gjokaj, Miracle Laurie, Maurissa Tancharoen and Felicia Day?
AK: I think the performances in Lust for Love are definitely one of its best attributes, and we were certainly lucky to get such a great cast. I’ve known Dichen and Caitlin since they played sisters together on the Australian show “Neighbours”, and I got to know the “Dollhouse” cast through Dichen. I was even fortunate enough to shadow the director Félix Alcalá for one of the episodes of “Dollhouse”. Maurissa asked me if I wanted to direct the music video for her song “Remains” and we cast Fran in that too. When Dichen and I were casting “Lust for Love” we just chose great actors we knew that were available, so the cast is a mix of people she’d worked with on “Dollhouse”, and some Australian actors we knew. We also cast Karim Saleh who’s just an endlessly entertaining close friend of ours and Beau Garrett who Fran recommended.

MG: Honestly, I am not a big romantic comedy fan but you blend the two so well; tell us about this achievement?
AK: With both I just tried to keep it organic and not to overplay anything, but of course it’s difficult when you’re working in a genre that has no real darkness. It’s no coincidence that two of the most respected romantic comedies “Annie Hall” and “(500) Days of Summer” are actually about couples that aren’t supposed to be together and that don’t end up together. I also think that Lust for Love is helped by the fact that it’s about one guy chasing lots of girls rather than just one girl.

MG: Love the music in the film for example Jed Whedon and Jack Savoretti; tell us about that aspect of the film?
AK: The music supervisor Brienne Rose and I worked really hard to find the right songs for the film and Dichen came up with quite a number of selections too. While our composer Darren Morze created many wonderful pieces. It was a long process of trial and error, but for a film like this the music’s really important. Jed and his wife Maurissa were really supportive of the film and let us use both “Tricks On Me” and “Heat Of A Match” which are two of my favorites from Jed’s album “History of Forgotten Things”. We were also contacted through Kickstarter by Ryan Darton who allowed us to use songs from his album “I Am A Moth”.

MG: You juggled quite a few hats with this film; what was your biggest challenge?
AK: Perhaps the biggest challenge in making “Lust for Love” has been dealing with the sheer volume of work and the fact that it continues for so long. With such a small team and budget there’s been a lot we’ve had to do ourselves. Creatively, screenwriting is of course endlessly challenging, and we spent quite a bit of time in the edit making sure the non-linear narrative was clear.

Tell us how and where can fans see this film and what do you have planned next?
AK: “Lust for Love” is available on VOD and iTunes from Feb 7 in the US and Canada with DVD and foreign releases coming soon.

Enver Gjokaj talks about reuniting with “Dollhouse” cast in “Lust for Love”

Enver Gjokaj is know best for his role of Victor in Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse”. He also appeared in a small role in “The Avengers”, again with Joss Whedon and the new TV series “Witches of East End”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Enver about his new film “Lust for Love” and reuniting with his “Dollhouse” cast.

Mike Gencarelli: How was it reuniting with your “Dollhouse” cast members for “Lust for Love”?
Enver Gjokaj: We have always been good friends even after “Dollhouse” ended. “Dollhouse” was one of those jobs that spoiled you on every other job. You get a job and it is your first job and you think that every job will be like this…but it is not [laughs]. I have made though so many great friends from that show. Dichen (Lachman) and I are practically best friends. So we have been hanging out for a while and that is from where the inception of the film began. We were always looking for another project for all of us to do. We also wanted to figure out how much we would be able to do on our own. This was one of those projects. Everyone involved just wanted to see what we could do and it ended up being quite a lot actually.

MG: When you work with friends, do you find it more challenging or easier?
EG: It depends. Of course we love each other, so we had a ton of fun. When you are shooting something on a budget, there is no one hat so to speak. Dichen, who was the main actor and also producer, would go from setting a table for lunch straight to in front of the camera [laughs]. She wore many different hats but for me I just got to be an actor for this, which was a total pleasure. Anton (King), the director, gave me total layaway and I made the character my own. I went in a pretty comedic direction with him.

MG: Jake was definitely a funny character, tell what you enjoyed most about him?
EG: I loved it because nobody really lets me do comedy [laughs]. I have done a lot of auditions for comedies but in terms of stuff I’ve gotten hired for, I do not think people are aware that I am able to be funny [laughs]. It has been quite a few years since I was able to do quite a broad character. Anton was great and very encouraging. I would do something and it would be way over the top and then I would come to him after all apologetic. He was like “Are you kidding me? Go farther…more…more”. So that was a total pleasure since you do not often get to take the limits off a character and get to do whatever you want. There is a part where I slapped Fran (Kranz)’s character with a piece of chicken and all of that just came out of the moment. Also for me playing a lovable dickhead is right in my pocket, so to speak [laughs].

MG: What is your technique when preparing for a role?
EG: For this character, I really found him at the table readings. At first I didn’t know what to do with him. I feel like a lot of time you read a role over and over and it eventually shows itself to you. I do not think anyone planned for this character to be so broad. You really don’t plan it though and after a while it just comes out naturally.

MG: What else do you have in the cards for 2014?
EG: Right now, I am excited for “Lust for Love” getting released. Also we are in pilot season now and everyone is casting the new TV shows. I am out there auditioning for a lot of stuff. So I will see if anything comes out of it.