Star Leaf has been all over the web the past couple of months. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about… well, producer Robert Leeshock (yes sci-fans, he of "Earth : The Final Conflict" fame) is happy to fill us in!
You’ve managed to make an unpredictable, original sci-fi flick. How did you manage that?
I’d like to say that we smoked a big fat ‘blunt’... but in actuality we didn’t smoke anything. We tried to infuse some thrilling elements into a horror skeleton, coupled with a few practical aliens and some ‘trippy weed’ and voila... a veritable genre soup! Good characters, some fine acting and just your typical ‘noodling’ with the space/time continuum and there you have it! Okay, we have no idea how we actually got here... well, we sort of had a hunch. But now we’re here and we’re going to celebrate the process of getting here.
Which films influenced – if even in a small capacity – this movie?
Subconsciously, American Sniper. I think this is the story they should have told as a door into the psyche of the soldier who eventually killed the hero, Chris Kyle. In hindsight, once we were editing some films sort of emerged... Midnight Cowboy. Blair Witch. Oh yeah... Up In Smoke & The Breakfast Club. Or wait... perhaps every film we’ve ever seen in our cumulative lives!!
Did you put a lot of thought into coming up with creative ways to torture your characters?
There is a fair amount of psychological torture in the story but I feel that in part, the characters simply brought it upon themselves. The rules were laid out and they had to deal with what was karmically coming to them. It feels justifiable, I mean the extent to which they must suffer.... pardon me if that is somewhat sadistic. Have I become numb...?
What kind of feedback have you had?
It’s been really enthusiastic... even from my friends of many years who have grown cynical to much of the ‘storytelling business’. Yeah, our VFX don’t have the ‘big budget’ cachet we wished they could have.
We’ve screened the film with our colleagues and the locals in Washington state. There are some people watching it multiple times and quoting parts of the movie which we found silly and delightful from the start. One review refers to it as maybe.... just maybe, a ‘cult classic’. We can only hope! Another calls it a blend of Jacob’s Ladder meets Harold and Kumar.
The location is splendid. Where is that?
The Pacific Northwest! Washington state is a bona fide character in the film. The rain forest we shot in is freakishly awesome!
How much did you rely on practical effects vs. CGI?
We really put a lot of emphasis on the practical and let me tell you... I lost a lot of sleep wondering when those effects would wind up being exposed for the ‘latex’ they were. I never really believed that we would pull off anything even remotely frightening. I was ready to bail and make it into a slapstick horror film, totally willing to poke fun at the practical effects that would surely undo our film.
Do you think your Earth : The Final Conflict fans will dig Star Leaf?
You know... I really hope they do. For years fans would ask me, “So what are you up to? What projects are you working on...?” And to be honest, when you’re simply an actor it ties your hands creatively. Working on a show doesn’t necessarily mean that you fully condone the ideas or ethos. But now, we have the chance to share our sense of humor and our unique ideas of storytelling. We finally have a chance to show the fans of Earth: Final Conflict some insight into the creative mind behind Liam Kincaid. Perhaps it’s best to think of it as the ‘key’ into his vaulted and weird sensibilities, hidden deeply in a Taelon legend... or is it in fact, his history and legacy...?
What are the UK release plans?
We’re working on it as we speak. It’s vital that we get the viral word out, even just ‘hits’ on our YouTube trailer would be tremendous in influencing the process. We’re an independent film company trying to compete with the ‘BIG BOYS’ so we need to employ mercenary tactics. We have a really super cool husband/wife team at Leomark Studios, a creative/distribution company here in Los Angeles who are currently working to craft a strategy to distribute Star Leaf in the UK. They work with innovative filmmakers to produce dynamic content and creatively find ways to market those ideas to the appropriate territories. We’re expecting great things from them!
Star leaf is currently available on US DVD exclusively through the website http://www.starleafmovie.com/