Passion Play Exclusive Interview
Rebecca Wang scored a stellar cast for her theatrical directing debut, Passion Play, including Oscar nominees Bill Murray, Mickey Rourke and femme fatale Megan Fox.
Rebecca Wang's Passion Play is a romantic thriller that follows a down-on-his-luck jazz musician (Mickey Rourke) who, after trying to steal a car, winds up in the desert at gunpoint. By the most incredible of circumstances, Rourke's character escapes death and finds safety in a mysterious circus where he meets Lily (Megan Fox), the Bird Woman.
Just as their romance gets going, Happy Shannon -- a shady businessman played by Bill Murray -- makes his presence known and threatens to destroy each of their lives.
Female filmmaker finds success
SheKnows: What was your inspiration for making Passion Play?
Rebecca Wang: Passion Play is a unique story focusing on the power of forgiveness and redemption. These virtues are both rare and powerful, I wanted to put that out there, remind viewers in these difficult times that we have the power to help those around us.
SheKnows: When the cast was set did you have to pinch yourself? What a group of talented actors!
Rebecca Wang: I was excited. The film boasts Megan Fox alongside two Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Mickey Rourke. Megan held her own up against these two acting giants which was very impressive. The entire process of filming was very interesting. It was a joy to see it unravel before me on a daily basis.
SheKnows: What made you first want to get into the tough field of filmmaking?
Rebecca Wang: As a filmmaker you have the power to express yourself on a much larger scale. It is very easy for us to forget what is important in the day-to-day routine and be overly self-involved. Due to the trends in social mediums we seem to have entered into what, translated, the French call the age of 'Hyper Me.' I want to be in a position to create films that are both entertaining and able to communicate important messages in keeping with current, contemporary trends and feelings.
SheKnows: Who are your filmmaking idols and why?
Rebecca Wang: There are several talented filmmakers that have inspired me. Some of these include Clint Eastwood, Kathryn Bigelow and Sofia Coppola. I have chosen to highlight these due to their collective ability to transfer their personal visions onto the silver screen whilst retaining a sense of their identity. Some filmmakers are forever associated with speedy car chases and "Hollywood-esque" explosions but these directors have transferred an identifiable identity for viewers to relate to and the sensation is comparable to looking at a painting and knowing instantly that it is a Picasso rather than a Georges Braque from the very first moment you lay your eyes on it. Another filmmaker that I admire is Harvey Weinstein. Harvey knows the movie market like no other. He has seen it all and drawn on that experience to great avail. His ability to grow a production house is unrivaled. His taste in films seems to perfectly reflect the current mood of the public, ensuring box office hits of the great.
SheKnows: What do you want audiences to take away from Passion Play?
Rebecca Wang: A sense of enjoyment along with the understanding that no matter what our past may be composed of that the present always provides new opportunities for love, redemption and personal betterment.
SheKnows: What's next for you?
Rebecca Wang: A second film. We are currently looking for our next project. We are focused on finding either an English-based or another American-based production. Passion Play was a real learning curve and I would like to apply that to my next project. Where or what that project is to be is yet to be determined but one thing is for certain I am ready for the challenges it will bring.
SheKnows: Is filmmaking always a learning experience?
Rebecca Wang: Like any job, I believe! The ever-changing teams and new projects that accompany this profession mean that the learning process is an always evolving experience -- the learning curve is steep and intensely demanding. The filmmaking process alone is different for everyone and is dependent on their role. Unlike the cast my presence was from beginning to end and continues to be today. It is my studio, Rebecca Wang Entertainment, that is presenting the film so I must be aware of everything that goes on with regard to the production. Many of the experiences I have had are new so the learning process at this stage is intensively constant.
Being with BillSheKnows: Specifically working with Bill, what did you personally take away from the experience of working with a legend?
Rebecca Wang: I walked away with friendship before anything else. Bill and I have a mutual respect for professionalism. If I were to give just one answer it would have to be with reference to his ability to enjoy his work 30 years after he began his journey. Bill was never pressed for time or stressed by what was going on around him. He always seemed to be happy, relaxed in his surroundings -- that must be a wonderful place to be professionally. Not only is he an extremely talented actor but a lovely person, very humble and respectful. He really is a living legend.