Monday, November 30, 2015

Action! MOMENTUM hits DVD -- and a short chat with its director, Stephen Campanelli

When MOMENTUM arrived in theaters six weeks ago, TrustMovies was more than a little impressed with its fine action sequences, as well as its overall visual sense. (His original review can be found here.) So, when the opportunity arose to have a quick chat with its director, Stephen Campanelli (shown in the photos below), TM said, "Sure!" and the result can be found here -- with TrustMovies' questions in bold and Mr. Campanelli's answers in standard type.

TrustMovies: You have a real facility for action – making it fast, quick and most important understandable. 

Stephen Campanelli: Thanks. I’m really happy to hear you say that because I wanted to make the movie exactly that, a smart, fun action film that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

TM: How did you choose this project? Did it fall into your lap, or did you find it and help push it through.

SC:  A bit of both, actually. My composer who did the score recommended me to the producer, and they sent me the script. I liked it. It needed some work, so I gave them my ideas, which they went with. And it just happened.

TM: That sounds like it was pretty easy, overall… 

SC: Yeah -- things don’t normally work that well. This was a very rare thing.

TM: I liked the overall visual sense in the movie – as well as how you made the action both comprehensible and real.

SC: I’m a very visual person so I tried to give it the most visual impact that I could; And keep the movie short, too, so that people would remain engaged for the whole ride.

TM: And we were! Boy, James Purefoy makes such a great villain. 

SC: Doesn’t he!

TM: And Kurylenko was a great choice here, too. She manages to make her lean, lithe body look like a real weapon. 

SC: Olga was a dancer and a model and so she’s slim. I wanted her to seem like a normal person who has these amazing skills so that any woman might say, hey, maybe I could do that!

TM: What are you working on now?

SC: I did a second movie which was a 2-hour pilot for Fox that we shot in Brazil. It's called Rio Heat, a kind of Moonlighting type show about two cops working together who argue all the time, with Harvey Keitel, (above, right)  playing their boss in a kind of Charley’s Angels manner. This is more of a comedy action film than Momentum. More light hearted.

TM: When might we see it? 

SC: It’s still in the process of being sold. We just finished editing it, and we're now trying to get it to different networks. We hope to see it out within a year. The stars are Victor Webster and a wonderful and beautiful Brazilian actress, Thaila Ayala.

TM: How did Momentum's South African location come about?

SC: The script was first based in any North American city, but because the producer and some of the money was South African, we decided to shoot it there.

TM: Shooting in a city we don’t see a lot is more interesting, I think. I also like the way you handled the violence in the movie. There’s plenty of it, and it is – particularly the threat of it – pretty awful. And yet you never quite overdo it. This is a difficult line to walk without toppling over in either direction. 

SC: Thanks. That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to bury the viewer in gore and guts. I wanted to show the violence as part of who these people are, but not to glorify it and make it gratuitous. I could have toned it down more, but because this was a smart movie, I didn’t want to have to do that. But I also didn’t want to use it to titillate.

TM: What about a sequel? Momentum leaves itself wide open—in fact, it practically promises us one! 

SC: We’re hoping the film does well enough, overall, so that this will happen. Olga would do it in a heartbeat, and if we give Morgan Freeman (shown above, left) a bigger role, he will, too. So I already have some good ideas for this. I’d love to do it again. A sequel might be able to deepen things, too. We would probably do the closure on the second one, rather than make a trilogy of it. But, again, if it got popular enough….

I also love it when a film has a strong female protagonist in the lead So, yes, I really hope we can do the sequel.


Momentum, released to Blu-ray and DVD via Anchor Bay Entertainment, hits the street tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1 -- for purchase or rental. For more information, click here.

No comments: