We introduced you to this amazing project in May this year. Now, a couple of months later, 5th Passenger is ready for take off. The movie is in post production now, and I had the chance to meet director Scott Baker and producer and writer Morgan Lariah for an interview. And as a special goodie, we’ve got some exclusive pics from behind the scenes just for you.
Scott grew up in Northern California. He holds a degree in History from Sonoma State University. His focus then was on US/Soviet relations and the Cold War. From 2000 to 2001 Scott was a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan. A man of many talents, Scott is a self-taught filmmaker, working as Writer, Director and Steadicam Operator. It is the story-telling that fascinates him most. After “The Diary of Anne Frank of the Dead”, an award-winning short movie, 5th Passenger is Scott’s first feature film.
Morgan Lariah is an Actress, Producer and Writer. She studied acting at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts-West, speaks English, German and a myriad of dialects, is trained in singing and dancing and has special skills in horseback riding, firearms and croqueting – among many others. You will remember Morgan from her roles in Springtime in Hell, La Negra, Waiting in Blue or Lost Heroes. I personally remember her best on stage, for “Deutschland – Ein Wintermärchen”. Besides writing and producing 5th Passenger, she is also starring as Eve Miller.
DG: “Hello Scott, hello Morgan, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. After having a brief conversation with Manu on FedCon this year, I couldn’t wait to find out more about 5th Passenger. You combine SciFi and Horror, and while I love SciFi, I personally am so easily scared by horror movies, that I do need to find out what made you combine the two genres.”
SB: “Well, I love SciFi and I love Horror movies. And 5th passenger is about – well … It is set in an escape pod, after the eruption of a volcano, capturing people in an extreme situation. How this story came about I think is the idea of putting people into extreme situations and see how they interact with each other. And I think there is a very frightening element in human nature and this is what this film is about. What people would do to survive and sometimes that’s frightening.”
DG: “It is indeed. Morgan, how did you get to join the crew?”
ML: “I met Scott a couple of years ago in an independent filmmaker group. He had brought a couple of scenes to workshop. He was then writing the script, he had an idea. And he approached me with this idea and he asked me if I wanted to help him write it. And I loved it, I really saw the value in it. I thought it was such a smart idea. And I agreed to help him and well – I did.”
DG: “Now, you have a really impressive cast. How did you get all those people together? I guess it isn’t that easy to rouse interest, and you managed to get a very exclusive cast for your movie.”
SB: “I met Manu on a shoot where I was on steadicam work. I didn’t know he had been on Star Trek. We just started talking like two people on set talk and I was telling him about the Science Fiction script that I had. And then he told me he’s in Star Trek and he seemed like he was good for one of the roles, so I sent it over for him to read and he liked it, and liked the role that we were writing and when we showed him how serious we were about this project and what we wanted to do with it, he started reaching out to the other Star Trek actors that he knew because he is going to all these Conventions. And not just being on Voyager but being on these Conventions he gets to know the other actors and things like that. And also part of this is, you know, the great thing about LA and Hollywood is – I am working film, doing steadycam, cinematography and editing and things like that – so I am on set and meet people from other productions all the time. It becomes like a community of filmmakers and you start to know everybody. Science Fiction is an even smaller community. And these actors who act in Science Fiction do it because they are initially drawn to Science Fiction because they love it or they start acting and find out they love it. And it becomes like a family. Once you’re tuned in to the Science Fiction community here in LA there’s a lot of really talented people that keep working together.”
DG: “This is really great. SciFi people generally seem to be a tightly knit community. Is there any favourite anecdotes that happened on set for either of you?”
SB: “It was a pretty smooth shoot. There wasn’t a lot of terrible drama. We were on such a small budget and we were really pressed for time. People were just really working hard and doing their jobs. Yeah we joked around and we had a good time, but there was such a sense of urgency, because everybody knew there was so much work to do. For me as a director there were a lot of moments of feeling surprised of how good the performances were. When you write the script it’s all on paper, it’s all visions in your head and then you get the actors there and they start acting with each other. You know, on day one Manu is fighting with the other actor, Ryan Husk, in the hallway. As it’s written it’s just one line, Manu trying to get past Ryan in the doorway. But then when they started acting it up, they started pushing each other, really hard. Even before the camera was rolling Manu started pushing Ryan to get that physical contact, the feeling, to get them prepared. They had the energy up and to just see them both putting up 100%, seeing Manu actually trying to get through that door and Ryan really trying to stop him and you see them putting in that energy. It’s like they weren’t acting, they are fighting in front of the camera and it’s looking tremendous. And it looks real because it is real. They were actually trying their best to stop the other person.”
DG: “Everybody I have been talking with so far was fascinated by that energy you just mentioned. Manu told me about the amazing energy between the actors, Tim did as well. Will 5th Passenger be in the movie theaters or will we be able to watch it on DVD only?”
SB: “We’re hoping to have some theatrical release, but you know this is “just” a small independent film as far as budget goes and we’re not associated with the studios. We don’t have any distribution locked in place yet. So we are focussing our energy on making this film and making it good. So once the film is done we will just see what happens. We would like to see it in theatres, we would like to see it on conventions and festivals. Nothing is set in stone yet. We’re trying to make it as big as we can, hopefully we’ll get it in theatres and scifi-channels, there are quite a few fun places for people to see it.”
DG: “We’ll cross fingers for ourselves then. Do you have any plans to have the movie translated in different language?”
ML: “Yes absolutely we’ll get it translated. I personally love Germany, and we’ve had so many amazing people that supported the movie from so many places, so for the full effect we’ll have to get it translated so you guys can see it in your mother tongue.”
DG: “You have Tobias Richter on board in the SFX/VFX department. I’ve been able to see some of his work in May, and he’s amazing at what he does. What kind of effects can we expect from 5th Passenger?”
SB: “The story is about an escape pod after a big ship blows up so we have both exciting explosions as well as quieter special effects, about that pod drifting into space and so on. We’ve had a lot of green screen and there’s 3D graphics and that kind of stuff. Computers, interfaces, so there’s a good mix of SFX and VFX and yes, Tobias is really amazing at doing spaceships. That’s the part he’ll be doing for us. We’re really excited to have him on board.
DG: “Thank you very much for this interview. It was amazing talking to you, and I can’t wait for 5th Passenger to finally be released. We are crossing fingers for your Campaign to raise the funds for the SFX/VFX. ”
With the campaign starting tomorrow, make sure to visit 5th Passenger and support this really amazing movie! Donors will not only have the opportunity to get a copy of the film, but access to exclusive content and even props and costumes from the film signed by the actors.