Everybody Has A Plan - Ana Piterbarg interview
Feature by Jack Foley
ANA Piterbarg talks about the experience of working with Viggo Mortensen on thriller Everybody Has A Plan and some of the challenges of shooting the picture, including working on boats.
She also talks about why she wanted to become a filmmaker in the first place and whether she would like to swap places with another person’s life.
Q. What is Everybody Has A Plan about?
Ana Piterbarg: It’s a thriller that happens in a particular area of Argentina called Tigre E Sedalta; it’s close to Buenos Aires but it has a different way of life – people live on islands, sometimes isolated. It’s the story of a man who needs a change but he at first doesn’t know how to change or what to do. Then in a strange circumstance, he takes the place of his twin. The heart of the film revolves around the idea that there are two sides to everyone and how difficult it is to make them work together and integrate the two sides. With the twin characters, played by Viggo, in the film you can see the sides graphically, yet you can find the theme of duality in all of the characters.
Q. What challenges did you find with shooting the twin characters at the same time?
Ana Piterbarg: We were working in two ways. For Viggo it was technically very difficult because he had to portray the twins differently at the same time yet act like they are brothers. Viggo was great because he made the scenes of the twins convincing, so he had to be aware of how the other twin was acting around him, without him actually being there. In regards to the camera, it wasn’t too hard, we shot one brother, then the other and put them together to create the shot.
Q. Do you think there is good and bad in everyone?
Ana Piterbarg: Yes, of course, and I firmly believe that it is a bad idea to fight them because I think it’s impossible to be a purely good person or a purely bad person. It’s like Rosa says in the movie: “We all have some evil inside.” And you just have to embrace it.
Q. Would you swap lives with someone else if you could?
Ana Piterbarg: Maybe, it could be fun.
Q. How did you find working with Viggo Mortensen?
Ana Piterbarg: He’s such good company and we’re great friends now. We had a lot of fun on set and, as he got involved in the movie from the beginning, we worked with it a lot so when we began shooting, we knew what we wanted from the film. He’s a great artist and when you make a movie, you don’t know whether personalities will work or in what ways an actor will contribute, but I was surprised with how much Viggo did contribute to movie and how he benefitted the finished piece. When I saw the movie edited, I was surprised with the character curve that he made, it’s a difficult character, he’s not a likable character and it’s hard to create a curve with an unsympathetic character, but I liked very much what he did to him.
Q. A lot of the scenes occur on boats, what were the challenges with shooting on water?
Ana Piterbarg: It was more difficult than the twin aspect actually! We were there for six weeks and every day we had to take everything and everyone we needed on and off boats, make-up, cameras, actors, it was tiring. It was really cold in the nine week winter shoot and the tide rose and fell throughout the day which was a problem for continuity. It was pretty arduous but I think it looks great on camera.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from in cinema?
Ana Piterbarg: I’ve always loved visiting the cinema because you get to experience different feelings there. When I wrote the screenplay I mostly began with some images and themes that I am interested in and that I know will provoke different feelings. I like to be surprised by movies I watch.
Q. What is the first film you remember that peaked your interest in cinema?
Ana Piterbarg: When I finished secondary school I began studying medicine, but was taking part in some theatre at the same time and I was also very keen on media and communication, it never really came to mind then that I would become a filmmaker. At one point I had a bit of a crisis about what I was going to do with my life and during that time I watched a lot of movies. I watched mainly David Cronenberg and David Lynch so I feel that they now influence me but before and after that I saw a lot of movies that also excited me. I watched many films in my childhood and a director who was, and still is, really important to me called Leonardo Favio I remember admiring when back in the 60s and 70s; I feel that he is now the main inspiration for modern Argentinean filmmakers, let alone myself.
Q. Do you think foreign films are more accessible now in the UK?
Ana Piterbarg: Yes, I think people can find a Spanish-speaking film much easier now than a few years back which is great because we have something to say and we have stories to tell. At the same time, I only think the first wall has come down in terms of accessibility and acceptance into mainstream cinemas.
Everybody Has A Plan is released in cinemas on May 31, 2013.