Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Everything's Gone Green

With a screenplay by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland, Everything's Gone Green revolves around Ryan (Paulo Costanzo), who in the opening minutes of the film is kicked out by his girlfriend because of his laid-back attitude, and loses his job because of the suicidal poetry he left on the company computers.

Ryan's misfortune doesn't last long, as he soon is hired by Alan (Aidan Devine in a great role) to work at the British Columbia lottery commission, writing for Winners Magazine, which features stories about all the big lottery winners. And then Ryan meets Ming (Steph Song) one day on the shore next to a beached whale. But soon. troubled by thoughts of being in a dead-end job for the rest of his life, he falls in with Ming's sleazy boyfriend Bryce (JR Bourne) and his money laundering scheme.

Running in the background is a theme of reality, what's real and what isn't. Steph's job is to disguise Vancouver for films and TV shows so that it looks like anything but. Ryan's brother sets him up in an empty condo tower that's just an investment vehicle for wealthy Hong Kong Chinese. Bryce designs golf courses that nobody plays on. Even Ryan's parents and friend have their own secrets.

I really liked this film. The dialogue, the characters, and the Vancouver setting were very Douglas Coupland. Even the set design was reminiscent of him, from Ryan's Expo 86 shirt, his killer whale phone, his souvenir totem poles, or the wrapped stack of patio chairs sitting in his living room.

Paulo Costanzo's character wasn't too different from other roles he's played in A Problem With Fear, or heck, even Joey, but he was still an engaging character who you could root for even as he goes off the rails. Steph Song was also great as Ming, who accepts Bryce's underhanded schemes even as she hopes that Ryan is something different.

Director Paul Fox and actors Paulo Costanzo and JR Bourne did a Q&A after the film:

  • Someone jokingly asked Paulo Costanzo if he ever slept with any of his co-stars, to which he simply replied, "Yes". Then JR Bourne added, "it wasn't very good".
  • Producer Chris Nanos approached Douglas Coupland, as he liked approaching artists that we already well-known in other mediums, like painters, sculptors, musicians, etc. Coupland had already written a screenplay, but it was languishing in a drawer. Of all the scripts Nanos had, only Coupland's really worked as a film. After that, Nanos brought Fox on-board.
  • Coupland wasn't heavily involved in the film. He had never worked on a film before, so once he handed in the script, he was content to step back and see how it went. Coupland showed up on the first day of filming, when they were shooting in Ryan's apartment, and Coupland quipped that it was "freaky, it was like stepping inside his own brain", and Fox took that to be his seal of approval on the project.
  • There was very little improvisation in the film.
  • On the music in the film: in the editing room, editor Gareth Scales, who is the same age as Ryan in the film, has a good handle on the Canadian independent music scene, would bring music in, and then they would piece it together with the film. Then David Hayman from Vapor Music (the music supervisor on the film) came in and added to it.
  • The soundtrack will be released by Lakeshore Records, and will be the first Canadian film so released by them.
  • Fox commented on the Douglas Coupland obsessions that made it into the film, like Pocky and detergent bottles.
  • It was a long process to get made, and was on-again-off-again for a while. Fox actually went off to shoot The Dark Hours, then came back and started shooting almost immediately.
  • JR Bourne commented that shooting on US TV shows is more of a job, US movies are pretty good, but that Canadian movies seem more like a complete collaborative effort amongst the entire crew. Paulo Costanzo said he didn't find much difference between US and Canadian movies. He was surprised that everyone on the crew was so into the film; even Teamsters were coming up to him telling him that they loved his character.
  • The shot on Grouse Mountain was supposed to be on a sunny day, but on the day of shooting, it was completely socked in by fog. So they had to wait for the gondola to break through the clouds and then they had to get the scene exactly right, since they'd have to wait another 30 minutes for the gondola to show up again.
  • Shooting took only 19 days.
  • On any difficulties for Paul Fox, a Torontonian, shooting a movie about Vancouver, Fox said that Coupland and David Frazee, the cinematographer, both had a great eye about Vancouver, but that as an outsider, he could see things the others had long since taken for granted.


My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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