Read what Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan, Composer Tamar-kali had to say about their new film “Mudbound” at the New York Film Festival.
Speak about bonding with Mary J. Blige.
Rob Morgan: I think if anything, we related just from life styles. We didn’t have to really hang out. We did do the exercise that Dee did with everybody else where we sat in a room and looked deeply into each other’s eyes and repeated, but we didn’t hang out in particular. We just basically came prepared. Mary J. Blige is a professional and I was fortunate enough to work with her and that she was prepared and I came prepared and you got what you saw.
Can you speak about immersing yourself in the period? Did you read the book? What did you do?
Rob Morgan: Well, I read the book, 1. I read the script over and over and over again, 2. I pulled from my own personal experience of having family from the South. When I was 5 years old to 13 years old, every summer I was sent from Washington D.C., to New Bern, North Carolina and Pollocksville, North Carolina, to work in the tobacco fields as a young kid. I know that experience to work in the mud, in oppressive heat, so I drew from that also. Then just the fortunate thing about this movie is that we weren’t shooting in a studio. We didn’t remake the field inside of some air conditioned facility. We were out there on plantations for real. You know what I mean? We were really out there in the mud, getting rained on for real. So that helped draw back and then also, I have to give a shot out to Youtube University.
How did you prepare?
Jason Clarke: I listened to Shelby Foote. He’s in the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, but he wrote an incredible tone on the Civil War, and that was really key actually. Understanding the Civil War, and that whole period. Henry was a child of the Civil War and out of that came the mess that was sharecropping after emancipation.
What do you want audiences to take from this?
Jason Clarke: Usually in history we go straight from Civil War, Emancipation, Lincoln, jump that to Martin Luther King, and civil rights. I think sharecropping is a forgotten part, a not educated part of what happened to 7 million people that had no education, no jobs, no money, no help, in a part of the country that had been destroyed by Civil War, and had no economy and no finances. It was a big mess.
Speak about working on the score.
Tamar-kali: As a director and as an artist in general, Dee has very clear vision and she pretty much has an idea about every aspect of the project, so she spoke to me about it in advanced. She knew that she wanted strings. She had some familiarity with my work with strings and she thought that I would be right for it, and we discussed some of the things that she wanted to convey with the score, and we worked from there. I read the book in advanced, and then when I was watching the reels, it was so inspirational. The cinematography was gorgeous, the story was amazing, the work was so solid and powerful that it made my job easy considering the very short amount of time and resources that we had. I did do some humming with my score. Yeah I am a vocalist as well.
What was a challenging moment scoring wise for you?
Tamar-kali: The climax of the film was the most challenging, and what I realized I had to do was that I couldn’t approach it from a compositional angle, a standard compositional angle, and I really had to just watch the scene over and over again, and build in an improvisational fashion, and that’s how I built that track and composed that piece. Whereas everything else, I kind of had an idea but this one I really had to go with my gut feeling and being present to the scene.
What do you hope audiences will take away?
Claudio Laniado: I think this movie will open doors of dialogue, to help connect with “the other,” and we should not be the other. We should all be one, the same. We all have suffering. We all came from people who were suffering.
Tell us about your role in the movie?
Lucy Faust: I play Vera Atwood, the wife of the overseer who works on the farm, that the McAllen’s buy. She has a bit of a struggle, I don’t want to give too much away but that was the role in a nutshell.
Who did you get to work with primarily?
Lucy Faust: Primarily I got to work with Carey Mulligan. We had our scenes together and she was lovely. She was really wonderful to work with, it was a real pleasure.
How was working with Dee?
Lucy Faust: That was fantastic. She communicates so well with her actors and she makes everybody feel so at ease on set which was great, because all of the subject matter is so sensitive, so having that guidance was really helpful.
And you filmed in New Orleans?
Lucy Faust: We shot a little bit outside of New Orleans. My shooting days were primarily on the plantation. It’s like two hours out of New Orleans and it was beautiful, beautiful setting.
And how did you get your start in acting?
Lucy Faust: I’ve been acting since I was very little, primarily in theater, and then jumped into film and TV about 8 years ago or so, and I just kind of never looked back.
And what’s coming up next for you?
Lucy Faust: Next is a film called Out of Blue starring Patricia Clarkson. That is actually filming in New Orleans.
Mudbound will hit Netflix on November 17, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty/Netflix)