“Daniel Gillies Releases Broken Kingdom/Kingdom Come Films”
By Michael Aaron Gallagher of StayFamous.Net
When it comes to making movies, Hollywood isn’t what it used to be. For independent filmmakers, advances in digital camera technology, social media and crowd-funding have made it possible to bypass the bureaucracy of the entertainment studio system and opened up new distribution channels, allowing films to be shared with international audiences with the click of a mouse.
Despite its many challenges, this brave new model is something Daniel Gillies is embracing. The actor who currently stars as Elijah on The CW series The Vampire Diaries and Dr. Joel Goran on NBC’s Saving Hope is set to release his new film Broken Kingdom online on Oct. 2, along with the companion documentary Kingdom Come, featuring commentary from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Both movies are currently available together for the pre-order price of $8 at www.brokenkingdomfilm.com.
In a recent interview with StayFamous.Net, Daniel talked about his new movie (which also stars his wife, actress Rachael Leigh Cook) and the journey that led him to become a highly-successful actor in Hollywood.
Watch the Broken Kingdom Movie Trailer:
Daniel Gillies: “My father is a doctor. He was doing some medical work in Winnipeg, Canada, right about the time I was born…. I got to almost the age of five and then my parents decided ‘OK, we’re going to go back to New Zealand.’ I grew up there, until my early twenties and then went to Australia and then went back to Canada, because I had that connection and that passport and the ability to travel there and work there. Then I went from Canada to the United States. In every country, there’s sort of a ceiling on what you can achieve. I just felt like in the United States there was no ceiling. It was kind of the obvious progression.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What made you want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?”
Daniel Gillies: “It was just sort of the only thing I was ever any good at, to be honest. I’m lazy. [laughs] I have zero respect for the idea of donning a suit every day for work. The irony being of course that I’ve ended up playing several characters who wear suits. I spent at least four or five years of my acting career wearing suits every day. At the outset of my career, I ended up playing a lawyer… and then Elijah on The Vampire Diaries is of course never seen without his suit. So I don’t know whether or not I succeeded in that pursuit. But I just never really had any desire to do anything else. I always wanted to tell stories. It was just something that I was doing from very young. Unfortunately, there’s no story of an epiphany or a moment of revelation, it just was something that I was always doing.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What is the backstory behind Broken Kingdom? How long did you spend writing and developing it before you began shooting the film?”
Daniel Gillies: “I started shooting Broken Kingdom in 2008. I started writing it in 2007. We raised and lost the money something like five times, which is the whole story told in Kingdom Come (the companion piece to Broken Kingdom). Broken Kingdom, we made right in the pulsing heart of the financial crisis in the world, so it was a devastating series of peaks and troughs.”
“I had already done some travel in South America. I knew that I wanted to tell a story that was outside of the United States and I wanted to sort of bring an awareness to another culture. All the signposts seemed to be pointed in the direction of Colombia. So I visited Colombia several times and I ended up writing a lot of the script there… creating a story based on some of the more impoverished areas that I had seen and I wanted to sort of weave it into an American narrative and tell a story about a relationship dealing with a tragedy, structured around these two very, very different cultures.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “What is the hardest part about making a movie outside the big budget Hollywood system?”
Daniel Gillies: “Well, there are several. I mean the list is really long. I didn’t cast movie stars in the roles, even though I knew it was a piece that would generate interest from actors. I cast non-actors from some of the poorest regions in not just South America, but in the world. That was extremely difficult. Apart from the enormous amount of capital that I put into the movie myself and had to seek through some pretty desperate means, the list is pretty enormous…. Truthfully, the most joyous part of it was shooting it… even with all of the problems we faced.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “When you look at Rachael as an actress, what do you admire most about her and her work on this film?”
Daniel Gillies: “I’ll tell you what I admire about her the most as a person. She is the truest soul I know. She is uncompromisingly decent with humility and dignity and she’s just an amazing person. And all of that stuff informs her work as an actor. She’s just pure and apart from being such a beauty she’s also deeply intelligent. She’ll see and notice things immediately that would take the rest of us sort of five years to see, whether it’s a piece of literature or a painting or a movie or something that somebody said. Her mind is so fertile and active. She’s an amazing person.”
“I’m not going to lie to you, I wrote the character around some of those qualities and also around some of her darker qualities, which she never really uses except when she’s pissed off at me… Frankly, I was tired watching her get cast, it doesn’t happen anymore because she’s now sort of broken through, but at the time she was getting offered these sort of teenagey roles… but she has a tremendous womanhood about her and empathy and a fire and I kinda wanted to harness that and use that and see that. Because I didn’t feel like a lot of the films that she was being offered allowed her to exhibit that and play.”
Michael Aaron Gallagher: “Both of these films have already gotten some attention and critical acclaim. What does it mean to you to see them be received so well and what message do you hope audiences will take away from them?”
Daniel Gillies: “The awards are lovely but they don’t mean as much to me as when… somebody tells me they were moved by my movie… that’s extraordinary to me. To me the greatest award is somebody telling me that what you did was wonderful.”
“Daniel Gillies Releases Broken Kingdom/Kingdom Come Films”
Copyright 2012 by Michael Aaron Gallagher
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