This weekend, tomorrow in fact, I'm heading to Georgia for Dragon-Con. I could give you the line about going for work (I work in comics) but if I'm honest this trip is about 80% for Torchwood fun. Appearing at the show are Gareth David-Lloyd and James Marsters two of my very favorite actors in Torchwood and otherwise. I'll put an emphasis on the "otherwise" because today I have a non-Torchwood treat for you.

Gareth David-Lloyd, who as we know has a huge fan base within Torchwood is much more than our dear Ianto. In addition to giving us that character, Gareth fronts a band Blue Gillespie (proud Gillespian) and has had a number of roles in movies, TVs and theatre. Through a little bit of luck I've managed to snag an interview with Gabriel Strange Writer/Director/Co-Producer of Casimir Effect an upcoming independent film starring - you guessed it - Gareth David-Lloyd.

So if you want to know about Casimir Effect, Gareth's involvement, Blue Gillespie's contribution and an unexpected #BarrowBit read on!
          
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For those who haven't been stalking your website (shame on them), tell us a bit about the film. How did it get started and what exactly is the Casimir effect?

It was initially an idea to do as a final year film at university, after some deliberation and discussion it was deemed that it was too ambitious for us to do as part of our course. So we went independent and started gathering resources though blagging and crowd funding. Trust me there was a lot of blagging, and you never want to have a battle of wits against a passionate filmmaker, when life is on the line... Opps wrong film, but you get the idea.

Casimir Effect is a love story, a bit like Romeo and Juliet but instead of the two houses it’s two time lines. That about the 10,000th time I have said that… To all budding film makers a good tag line should never get old as you will be saying it over and over again. Anyway the film is about a scientist named Alice who is thrown back into her own past to try and change the time line so a paradox can be avoided. But with all time travel things everything goes pear shaped, I prefer cumquats. The Casimir Effect is a microgravity (small yet strong attractive force), that is responsible for holding much of the universe together. It can be (in theory) harnessed for creating wormholes through space, also for generating free and limitless power.

Our readers are primarily Torchwood fans so what can fans of the show look forward too? What similarities, in themes or otherwise,  do they share?

Well this is a very different bag of fish, and deals with the big questions of what if, where as TV tends to deal with smaller more personal issues. However on a character level there are similarities of unrequited love. Not to mention some of the locations we use have also been used in Torchwood and Doctor Who.  The general theme is about fate and the fact that a person cannot change their own fate but through action can cause another to change their fate. I guess in a way it could reflect that story of Captain Jack, who fate is tied to the universe but he needs others around him to guide him to his future. I think the big thing Torchwood fans will see is that Gareth really digs into this roll and puts on a top notch performance, with passion and emotion.

The movie started as an ambitious student film, how has it evolved since the initial conception?  What was it like taking the development from student film to independent production?

I think the biggest change was in attitude, it went from being something to do for university to a professional production. The story and script evolved through natural means when we found locations actors and crew. Also the budget increased from nothing to whatever we could get our hands on. We initially wanted to try and make this as professional as possible even as a student film, so nothing much changed. One advantage we did have was time as we we’re no longer bound to the universities time scale. 

Also now we own the rights so we can do additional things such as release the novella, also we have an independent comic book company working on an interpretation of the story. That’s all looking good I have just signed off the art work so should be getting the text version through soon.

You managed to put together an incredible cast including Torchwood's Gareth David-Lloyd as Dr. Robert Cameron. How did that happen? Seriously, who did you sleep with and can I have their number?

Well I have a list of people I had to sleep with and it’s not pretty… Well actually there was no sleeping with, just the aforementioned blagging and a damn good script. I worked with Gareth on ‘A Very British Cover Up’ (Dir. Ian Smith) and got chance to mention the film to him there and it all moved forward from that point. Once we had Gareth it was easy to get other actors interested. Neil Rayment is a nice guy and was at a point in his career where he was looking to reboot is acting career. And everyone else fell into place from there.

I’m always of the philosophy of if you don’t ask you don’t get, and the worst someone can say is no, at that point you move on to the next person. It was the philosophy of the film even in post production we’re always asking for things just to see if we can get them.

Was Gareth your first choice for the role? Did he deliver as you expected?  Did anything surprise you about working with him?

At the point I met Gareth we hadn’t thought about casting as we had only just completed the second draft of the script. I mentioned it to him and he asked to see the script, he loved it and was interested in playing Dr. Bob. It wasn’t so much as first choice as fate really. 

He dedication to the story and script and making everything work was the most impressive, he spent a lot of time working on the character and his drives and motivations for each scene and through each rehearsal and read through refined the character to create Bob. He also worked very well with the other actors and had the right chemistry with them all.  He also offered his musical services and his band Blue Gillespie to write some of the songs for the film.

Making this film you had quite a go in regards to budget. A lot of money came from fundraising efforts furnished by Gareth and his fans. What has it been like having that support? Tell us a bit about the effort and please, I can't resist, elaborate on the #BarrowPants campaign.

We tried everything we could to make money, we weren’t afraid to try anything and we were surprised to find out how interested people are in seeing independent films and helping them get made. Gareth’s fans have given us a lot of support, even good moral support in times of need as sometimes you just need to know what you are doing will have an audience. A fair few of our fundraising and promotional ideas came from the fans themselves, if someone showed an interest in something and I would ask around and see if the fan base was interested and if we could sell them and make a suitable profit margin to go into the film.  We even had fans donating old items of fan memorabilia, getting items signed and going to conventions with buckets and badges to get funds sorted out and meet our goals.

Well when someone offers you John Barrowman’s Boxer Shorts, you have to go that extra mile for promotion. They were awesome shorts and a lot of people just wanted to try them on, some wanted to try them on their head. Anyway we had to set these pants up to be the next greatest thing since the invention of Spray on Cheese, so some photo manipulations and a legend later we created the Barrow Pants campaign.

Dana interlude - If you guys remember John's Children In Need performance of "Old Time Rock & Roll" those boxers were the ones used for this campaign - HOW DID I MISS THAT?

Speaking of fundraising, you have a pretty impressive online merchandise stock and a donations section on the website, do you have any additional fundraising efforts planned? Maybe another auction?

Most of the fundraising was a natural development of the film making process, selling off items as and when we have finished with them. We still have a few items left from them film which will auction off as we progress further through post production. We also have a few ideas under our hats as we get more scenes locked off.  We are aiming to do a special edition DVD and Blu-Ray for fans with some finished film stills and extra exclusives to this set.

What about supplements to the film? Tell us about the Casimir effect Novella and Comic Book and how they fit in.

The novella is what we used to develop the script; it’s what we used to let out imagination wander with no restraints on budget or length. So some of the elements of the Novella never made it to the script others had to be changed for budget or location reasons. In essence the Novella is the original story.  The Comic book is being developed by an independent Australian company called Flying Tiger Comics, they approached us wanting to do an adaptation. I’m always up for encouraging new talent and interpretations of my work so this was an opportunity to get a different view of what was written in the script, novella and what eventually made it into the film.

In essence everything is an adaptation or interpretation of the Novella, each offers a different way of looking at one story across various different media.

The soundtrack seems like a big project all it's own. You've incorporated music described as "Choral Techno" as well as 2 songs from Gareth's band Blue Gillespie, explain what the sound of the movie is like. Are all the songs original compositions for the film and are they available for purchase anywhere?

The Coral Techno idea was one of our original concepts for the music, however as the feel and tone of the film changed it was clear a more industrial soundtrack was needed to set the tone right.  Now we’re working with Clarky from Blue Gillespie on an original score just for the film, this incorporates elements of the two excellent Blue Gillespie tracks. Now it’s feeling more like a film soundtrack with themes and sub themes carried through the entire film. Once it is complete and we’re all happy we are looking to release this through the website. However like we have always said we will delay as long as it is needed to get everything right.

For someone technologically slow like myself break down the use of CGI and 4D camera tech in the film?

Because some of the locations we used weren’t perfect, but not much of Cardiff looks like 2101, we have has to use some virtual sets and set extensions. Basically creating each room in a computer and populating it with props but making it looks like the actors as there.

The 4D camera is experimental technology, only just starting to find its way into the creative industries. It essentially captures each fame as a 3D model and makes it easier to capture real emotions and facial movements for 3D characters. It helps break down the uncanny valley seen with most CGI in films, as you get every small and subtle facial movement from the actor performance, it makes them look less plastic.

Independent films are hard for fans to keep tabs on, what is the status of the film now? Has it officially premiered and when can we get a copy?

We’re still in post production, things are going slow as you can’t always throw millions of dollars at projects like these, so it’s all down to the time and effort of those involved. This includes hard grafting and late nights. We’re looking to have it finished towards the end of this year and get it out for people to see next year. If all goes well we will release the first 10 mins online as a teaser for fans. This should give everyone an idea of how everything is looking, sounding and hard work gone into the film.

Lastly, anything you want to get off your chest? Deep dark secrecy surrounding production? Something else we ought to know?

A rather large and grumpy tabby cat who like to sleep on my chest, and I don’t think this is the place for dark secrets it needs to be much more intimate…

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That's it! I can't wait for this film, if you're excited too keep up to date with the latest Casimir Effect news on the official site www.casimireffectfilm.com and follow them on their Twitter and Facebook

For more on Gareth and Blue Gillespie check out www.garethdavid-lloyd.co.uk and www.bluegillespie.co.uk and Gareth if you read this, would love to talk to you at Dragon-Con or any other time about all your work!

Expect a post Dragon-Con blog of Torchwood goodness! xx

<3Dana

 


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