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Recently I was lucky enough to speak at length, thirty minuets to be exact, with director Jake Scott who’s career is mostly compromised of Music Videos and commercials. His resume includes REM’s Everybody Hurts, which won multiple MTV Video Awards including best director. His resume in commercials is equally impressive with spots for Nike Move, which won an Emmy, AICP and Andy award, as well an Adidas spot, which he has won two Clio’s for the same brand spot. His second feature film Welcome to the Riley’s is an intimate portrait of three individuals who are all struggling to overcome a tragedy the best they know how. The cast includes some of my favorites, James Gandolfini, Melissa Leo and Kristen Stewart.
The film captures some very raw performances can you talk about the casting for the film and in particular casting Melissa Leo? She has such a powerful but understated performance that as a mother is so easy to relate to. Jake:

Ya I mean she is mother, she as a son who is twenty three and I am a father of four and Jim’s a dad, actually Kristen lives in a somewhat funny, extended family…there are other kids too, so we all came to it with the knowledge of our own lives . It is raw, but I like to say it is authentic. I strived to be as authentic as I could be to these characters, without resorting to what I see a lot… where it all gets a bit melodramatic, or gets a little bit heavy all time and you get these sort of endless scenes of these people weeping and shouting... That is a problem for me. That was a danger. That you would end up, in a self conscious gritty realism as well… you know what I mean.

I read that you and Kristen took a kind of field trip to some LA strip clubs for her performance and Melissa Leo has said that Kristen got so into character that when they met before filming she did not recognize her.

Jake:

Melissa said that really? I think I remember hearing that. The strip club thing in LA… I thought it would be a good idea, to go with her and see how she responded and give her a sense of what it was, so that she could start to, you know get it. Kind of get out of the intellectual, the preconceived notion of what it is and actually see it for real…because movies I think..most of the time, portray that world wrongly. They do it badly or they glamorize it…A lot of those girls are really damaged, to be doing that in LA it is one thing, on sunset strip…but when you go to New Orleans, in these back street places, that get very, very dark, very quickly… I thought to take her to the one in LA…I kind of wanted to see how he does… it was like water off of a ducks back, she was really interested actually and I actually had this girl, not because I asked for it, but this girl actually came over where we were sitting and started dancing all over me. Kristen was giggling and I was so embarrassed, it is like shit man, I don’t know that my actors should see me doing this… it was a nice way for us to kind of, to sort of bond this way as well.

Source: Tonight at the movies
 


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