Director Hathcocks Blog

Interviews
We will be posting interviews with Director Jeff Hathcock, Producer William R. Jimenez and leading actress Jennifer Day.
"It's an eerie picture!"

That's a comment I've gotten from more than one person whose seen it, and I'm proud of that.  Yes, it is an eerie picture. That's what I was striving for.  I had people tell me it was scary, too, and yes, it is scary, but in a very realistic way.  The fact that a certain character in the story could be capable of doing horrendous things is not at all far-fetched.  I've read about people like that.  They actually exist, and that's the scary part.  It could be a neighbor, the mailman, the washer repair man or even a relative.  The power of the story comes from the fact that there are more people like this than we realize.  They appear quite normal but they have a very dark side and when they're behind closed doors that dark side comes out.  I knew when I wrote it that I was treading on dangeroud ground because the sub-plot is so verboten and had never been done to this extent in any American picture that I was aware of.  Did we cross a line?  Yes, I'm sure we did, but that's why the story is so riveting.  In every viewing I've had the audience is dead quiet throughout the entire picture, and when the picture is over there's silence for several minutes.  It's such a powerful story that people are shocked and mesmerized at the same time.  Is it a mainstream picture?  That, of course, remains to be seen.  But, it's a picture you don't want to miss.  It will affect you and disturb you and entertain you and you'll never forget it. Oh, and after you've seen it, take a closer look at the people you know.  See if you detect any clues.

Jeff Hathcock

Director, "The Two Pamelas" 

cat hair
In one of the locations we used, the owner is a cat lover- big time. There was cat hair everywhere. The cast and crew were sneezing like crazy. So, the owner decided that laying cayenne pepper on the carpet would alleviate the problem. Wrong! Now, people's eyes were burning and watering like crazy and their throats were becoming raspy. Finally, by around the third day, the owner had the carpet vaccuumed and shampooed and we were able to resume shooting without any side effects. I mean, it was really bad for a while! No complaints, though, because the location was perfect for what we needed and we got great stuff.
Using real whiskey in a scene

During a particularly difficult scene which takes place with one character sitting in a bathtub while sipping on whiskey and engaging in conversation with another character, the actor in the bathtub decided he wanted to strive for realism and asked if he could drink real scotch instead of the usual weak tea.  To my regret, I said okay and we sent out for a fifth of scotch- expensive scotch- because this actor wouldn't drink the cheap stuff.  In a scene like this, where you have dialogue between two characters, you generally shoot a two-shot, then closeups of each and hope that the actors do the same movement in each take and say the same things so that everything matches when it comes time to cut the scene.  Well, as this particular actor enjoyed his scotch from angle to angle and setup to setup his dialogue and movement began to vary from take to take and he began to blithely adlib.  I was beginning to wonder if I'd be able to match anything from any angle.  The scene took about an hour-and-a-half to film and then when we began to remove the equipment to the lower floor of the house this actor was extremely comfortable and content to remain in the tub with his now tenth of scotch, so we left him and went downstairs.  About a half-hour later we went back up and it was obvious he hadn't moved an inch and now had a goofy expression on his face.  I told the crew to drain the water just in case and we were able to coax the actor out of the tub for another scene.  Lesson:  Never allow an actor to drink real whiskey in a swcene- particularly, when there's multiple angles and setups.  Incidentally, it was gray and raining when we shot the scene but, through the miracle of lighting it looked like a bright, sunny day outside the window. 

FAQ's Part 3

Question: Who and what were some of your film influences?

Answer: I am a great admirer of Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir, Murnau, Sternberg and Ford. I also am drawn to early German expressionistic films because of the creative lighting effects which, incidentally, are the genesis of film noir lighting. The above-mentioned directors told their stories visually and that’s the way I work. Every frame, much like an animation cel, should tell a story. When writing, I work very hard to create interesting, but totally plausible and realistic dialogue that the audience will find intriguing.

Question: What are the most-important aspects of a successful picture to you?

Answer: The only important aspect is whether or not the filmmaker has made a picture that will entertain and hold the audience’s attention for 90-120 minutes.

Question: What other projects are you currently working on?

Answer: I have a comedy called “T and A”; a thriller called “The Corpse of Albert Cradette”; an untitled project about the ghosts that inhabited a legitimate theater I used to have; an adventure thriller called “Cult of The Cobra” and another as yet, untitled, about human trafficking down in Mexico. Three of them are already written and are in various stages of development. I write my own scripts.

Question: How did you get started making films?

Answer: I started in the 1980’s making little films: horror films, occult films and dramas. It was a great training ground and, of course, it didn’t cost much to make them, but I sold them all and they continue to sell to this day. Titles like, “Mark of The Beast”, “Streets of Death”, “Night Ripper” and “Victims”. Later, I made films like, “Children of The Road”, “The Alley”, a western with George Kennedy, called “Three Bad Men” and “The Devil Rides a Horse”. In between making these pictures I wrote for Walt Disney Productions, did free-lance writing for Academy Award winner Walter Matthau and Emmy Award winner Jack Klugman and also directed 173 plays.

“The Two Pamelas” is my favorite and by far my finest picture. It’s terrific!

FAQ's Part 2

Question: Where was the picture shot and how long did it take to shoot it?

Answer: The picture was shot in and around Los Angeles. It took exactly five weeks to shoot.

Question: How did you find your locations?

Answer: The locations had to have a particular “look” and so we took great pains and a lot of time to find exactly what we were looking for. “The Two Pamelas” is a neo noir picture; set in 2014, but, I wanted it to have the look and feel of the earlier film noirs from the classic period of the late 40’s and early 50’s. Locations also set the mood and so they are very important, visually, and “The Two Pamelas” is a very visual picture. Every camera shot tells a story within the broader story, but, with the effect that the audience is never aware they are watching through a camera lens.

Question: What kind of impact do you think the film will have with audiences?

Answer: The theme, or sub-plot of this picture is so powerful, so forbidding, that when we have screened it for several groups of people they were completely and intently riveted to the screen throughout the entire picture. To a person, they loved it. Thankfully, there were no negative remarks. The jarring and surprising sub-plot is so intricately blended into the plot-line that as a result “The Two Pamelas” is an extremely potent film and one, I believe will have a tremendous impact on audiences. Believe me when I say that audiences- American audiences in particular- have never seen a picture quite like this one.

A Few FAQ's

Question: How did you come up with the story?

Answer: I have a life-long love affair with film noir. I also wanted a story with a theme that’s so controversial that it hasn’t really been touched very much by Hollywood and absolutely never to the extent or degree that this picture does. So, I conceived a plot line that weaved itself around that particular theme and shot it in the classic film noir style, which only heightened the suspense and created a particular mood that augmented the storyline.

Question: How did you get your actors?

Answer: That was a most-difficult task because I wanted relative unknowns with faces that told a story. It took several months, but I was able to find actors who really looked like they could be the characters they portrayed. It made the film that much more powerful than if I had used well-known actors or stars. Casting is vital; particularly, in a film such as this, where the goal was to make it as believable as possible. In that respect, I believe we truly succeeded.

Question: You mentioned the “classic film noir style”. Exactly what is that?

Answer: In the “classic film noir” theme, there is almost always someone alienated from society; someone forced to exist on the fringe because of circumstances over which they may not have control. One of the strongest aspects of film noir is the low key lighting and interesting camera angles. Light, shadow and camera placement play a vitally important role in setting the mood and intensity of a film noir picture; and that is particularly so in “The Two Pamelas”. Literally translated, “film noir” means dark film.

 

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