Interview with Anthony Stabley

Everlasting poster

@lcfremont interviews…

Off the back of @lcfremont’s review of Everlasting (click here), she also interviewed the films’ director Anthony Stabley and you can read all about it below.

Everlasting is not your first film to explore the less glamorous side of Hollywood. Is there a
specific reason behind why you want to expose the pitfalls of pursuing fame?

I’m attracted to this other side of Hollywood because, in many ways, I find it the most interesting.
The reality is that less than 5% of actors actually make a living at their craft. So the day to day of
the actual Hollywood is much darker than this glittery façade that we buy into. And that includes
this rarely seen underbelly that’s filled with so many desperate and parasitic personas. In many
ways it’s a perfect setting for me – I find it fascinating.

You say that the Hollywood we see in Everlasting is the “imaginary” city of Los Angeles that you encountered personally in your early years. Can you elaborate on this? 

I love Los Angeles and I’ve had my share of amazing experiences in the film industry. That being said – I also met some pretty shady characters when I first got into town. And when you are in your 20’s, wideeyed and eager – it’s quite easy be led astray by the glitz or self-importance of it all. You have to really be on your toes and if you are not – it can certainly be a slippery slope.

You have an impressive cast on this film. Notably, Michael Massee, Pat Healy, Robert LaSardo,
Elizabeth Rohm and Bai Ling. How did each of these actors come to be in Everlasting?

Back in 2005, I Production Designed a feature called Dirty for Sony Pictures. Pat Healy and Robert  LaSardo were both on that film – so I was familiar with their work. Robert did such an amazing job on Dirty that I became an instant fan. Pat went on to do Compliance and after watching it – I immediately sent him my script. Elisabeth Rohm, Bai Ling and Michael Masseecame via our Casting Director. I will always cherish those meetings. The common denominator for all the actors is that they appreciated the script. They genuinely connected with Everlasting on an emotional level and in the end, that’s what you want when you are collaborating.

Finding two leads who could carry a film that is so full of complex emotions is a serious task. On top of that, they needed to be able to hold their own against the previously mentioned actors. Valentina De Angelis and Adam David more than met this challenge. How hard was it to find each of them?

Everlasting image

We had over 2,000 submissions for these roles so we saw a lot of people. I was really fortunate to team up with Shannon Makhanian who had cast the features Brick, May and Mysterious Skin. She is really tuned in when it comes to talent. Still – it wasn’t an easy task, because our Jessie had to be believable as both a High School student and a Fetish model plus the film was just so intense. In the end, we decided on Valentina de Angelis (The Midnight Game) as our Jessie because I could see that she had a full command of her character. After that, we organized a series of chemistry reads to find the best couple, which led us to Adam David (The Stranger in Us). He had such an authentic approach to his acting; and that’s exactly what I was looking for. I could not have asked for a better Matt and Jessie.

You’ve crafted a story of young love that is both timely and endearing. How important was it to
you that Jessie and Matt have a strong relationship?

Their emotional bond is what this movie is all about. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been worth the journey and film would not have worked. There’s a lot of creepy, dark stuff in Everlasting but it’s Matt and Jessie’s true love for each other that resonates with audiences.

For me, the greatest take away was that Matt really wanted people to know who Jessie was,
rather than focus on her killer. Do you find that, in general, society has become too focused on
the wrong aspect of stories like this? 

I think it is human nature to be drawn to these dark aspects of society. Horror movies constantly help quench this morbid desire. That being said, I felt that it was important in Everlasting to spotlight the victim and in doing so it helped the audience become emotionally engaged in the film.

The ending of the film is a rather interesting choice. Without spoiling anything, why did you
choose this specific narrative? 

I didn’t want Matt to become corrupted with Darkness. I wanted him to stay pure, noble because, in the end, we go back to an important moment with Jessie that really embodies the core of the film.
Lisa Fremont
Twitter: @lcfremont
Images courtesy of Supergrandefilms

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