Nicolas Cage stars as Colin Price, a flawed politician who tries to move beyond his past whilst keeping up with his career and marriage.
The Knockturnal attended a special screening at Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Avenue) on Thursday, August 6. Following a pre-screening of the The Runner, Director Austin Stark held a Q&A to give more insight on the film. Currently you can find one of his independent films, Infinitely Polar Bear, co-starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana in select theaters nationwide. Stark’s production company Paper Street Films was responsible for bringing that indie to Sundance and then the big screen. The Runner takes place after the BP oil spill and provides an in depth look at the underbelly of politics in America. The after-party was held at Up&Down.
On the creation of the movie:
In the summer of 2011, I spent two weeks on the Gulf Coast doing research for The Runner. The BP oil spill wasn’t part of my original concept – the story was simply meant to be a portrait of a politician whose career is destroyed in a scandal, and I’d chosen to set the film in Louisiana due to its rich culture and scandal-plagued political history. But, during my research, I found that almost everyone I met with – people in local politics, media, fishermen, restaurant and hotel owners – had been touched by the disaster in one way or another. One year after the Macondo well had been capped, the spill was still very much on the forefront of people’s minds in the region, while it had been tragically swept under the rug in the rest of the world. By the time I returned to New York to begin writing my screenplay, it had become clear to me that the BP oil spill would function not only as the backdrop of The Runner, but the heart of it. I felt this was a story that someone needed to tell…
On the influence of politicians:
I drew from many real politicians to form Colin Pryce (played by Nicolas Cage) and various political scandals in our recent past. I think where Colin lands closest is a young Bill Clinton. He’s a well-meaning, talented politician who happens to be flawed, and it’s just the reality of the situation that we judge our public figures based on their flaws.
Well, Nicolas Cage was first. When I was writing the screenplay, I was thinking thinking a lot about him for the role. We sent him the script with no idea whether he was going to do the film, and three days later he came back and said he loved it. We hung out, connected creatively, and he was in… Once Nick came on board, we began thinking about the other roles. Peter Fonda is one of the actors who I feel is so under appreciated, such a phenomenal actor. I was adamant about working with him. And Sarah Paulson is another extremely talented, well-respected actress, who is so compelling in the film.
On The House of Cards similarities:
I began writing The Runner screenplay in 2012, a year before “House of Cards” aired, so I wasn’t influenced by that show. Any similarities people may pick up on aren’t intentional… I think the two are very different.
On August 5, Alchemy hosted a special LA screening of the film. Star Nicolas Cage, Bryan Batt, Ciera Payton, director Austin Stark, producers Bingo Gubelmann, Glenn Williamson, Erika Hampson, executive producers Noah Millman, and co-producer William Goldberg were joined by additional celebrity guests Thomas Matthews, Amanda Plummer, Weston Cage, Vinicius Machado, Gail Bean, Evan Brinkman, and musician Katja Glieson at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Following the screening, the cast and filmmakers made their way over to Wood & Vine for cocktails and canapés.