Our next round of podcasts from SXSW 2011 is a double feature with writer/director Aaron Rottinghaus and actor Josh Danziger of Apart.
Here’s the film’s synopsis:
Noah Greene (Josh Danziger) awakens from a two-year coma. His memories are hazy; even as he rehabilitates himself, he remains lost in his own life. As Noah digs deeper into his half-remembered life, he is forced to confront the suspicions of those around him, as well as a pair of shattering tragedies that both bind him to and drive him away from the girl he loves. The first of these – a school bus accident when they were young children – has forever connected him to his playmate Emily Gates (Olesya Rulin). The result of the accident is a rare but real disorder called folie à deux (referred to as ICD-10, F.24), where the traumatized Emily suffers disturbing and precognitive visions for the rest of her life – visions which Noah also experiences, but only in proximity to Emily.
As Noah returns to his hometown, determined to discover the cause of his injury and memory loss, he re-connects with Emily. Together, Noah pieces together the nature of the relationship they enjoyed as teenagers: warm, familiar, achingly tender… a closeness that should have blossomed into romance, save for the catastrophes of the past.
In the podcasts, Rottinghaus discusses with me his personal depression he was experiencing as a struggling writer in Los Angeles working in a post production office, which gave him the inspiration to put finger to keyboard and write the screenplay for Apart. He also discusses: how the first draft came in at more than 200 pages and how that got whittled down to the shooting script; how he used friends and resources to cast and get the film made; and his advice to writers trying to make their mark.
After I interviewed Rottinghaus, I was joined by the film’s lead actor and Rottinghaus’ writing partner, Josh Danziger. While Danziger credits Rottinghaus with actually writing the script, it was Danziger’s idea to use a real disorder called folie à deux (referred to as ICD-10, F.24) as the lynchpin that, they both claim, really made the screenplay come together. Danziger also talks about his heavy involvement in the film as not only the lead actor, but also researcher, location scout (they shot in Danziger’s home town), and his help in finding producers willing to finance the film.
Both interviews were conducted at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, TX.