Tribeca 2009: Accidents Happen Round Table Rap

| May 1, 2009

The Accidents Happen round Table was held in an intimate (read: small) space at the press office at 11th and University. Although I’m more interested in the one-on-one exclusive interviews, I realize the value of these. First of all, usually there are multiple cast members or those involved in the project on hand for it; and secondly, some other journalist, much more brilliant than me may pose a question on a perspective of the film or processes that maybe I hadn’t thought of yet.
I screened the movie just prior to the Round Table and when doing my research, so that I would sound somewhat intelligent, I’d read that it came from Australian filmmaker Andrew Lancaster. When I was watching the movie, there was a few times I thought I heard an Australian accident slip into a word or two, but the otherwise, the almost one hundred percent Australian cast (Geena Davis was the only American actor) did a phenomenal job with their American accents and many kudos to their dialogue coaches as well.
I was looking forward to the Round Table not only to probe the cast about the movie, but more so elated to hear the Aussie’s speak, taking me back to my days Down Under living in Perth.
The Round Table participants:
Director: Andrew Lancaster
Screenwriter: Brian Carbee
Producer: Anthony Anderson
Actors: Geena Davis, Harrison Gilbertson, Joel Tobeck, Harry Cook, Sebastian Henry
The whole group arrived at the Round Table right on time and along with six or seven journalists, I spent about thirty five minutes with them. The cast was extremely light hearted, funny and just plain nice and it was clear there was real camaraderie amongst them. I’m convinced we’ll be seeing a lot more of the young Australian actors and I can then say, “I met them when…”
Hope these excerpts and insights are as enjoyable for you as they were for me:
Davis on what it was like to film in Australia:
She loved filming there and said emphatically, “If I had to move to move, I’d move to Sydney.”
Lancaster on how/why Davis cast in the lead role:
Lancaster requested a meeting with Davis and thought she’d be accompanied by agents, managers, etc. and was pleasantly surprised when she arrived alone. They had a one-on-one and as it turned out; she loved the script and was “in.” Ironically, she also has a strong resemblance to Carbee’s mother. Maybe it was kismet?
Davis on if she’s been in any traumatic accidents or been witness to any:
The journalist who asked this question baited her a bit, having known Davis met her husband by way of her dog biting him. This incident certainly wasn’t over-the-top traumatic and other than that, fortunately, she hasn’t been involved in any other accidents.
Lancaster on why he chose to make the film in Australia?
Initially he looked at the option of shooting in the Unites States, but Australia for him was a better choice since he had a support system in place and there was more familiarity. He also felt that because it was a period film, it could be shot anywhere.
To that end, someone asked him about how difficult it was to bring in American cars from the 1970’s and 80’s. Surprisingly he said there were plenty of resources and he found many locals who were fascinated with cars from that era and made the process extremely easy for him.
Carbee on if the script inspired by any accidents you experienced or witnessed?
Carbee said there was no one accident in his life, but said after the last film he worked on wrapped, three members of the cast/cvrew had died, each under different circumstances. He believes this may have subconsciously found it way into Accidents Happen.
Incidentally, while he was giving this answer, the cast members at the Round Table, in particular Davis, looked at him stunned. They’d had no idea!
Davis on why she took this role and why we haven’t seen her in Indie roles:
Davis said she likes all mediums; it just depends on the parts and she likened filming Accidents Happen to television because it was shot quickly. She added that Indies roles hadn’t come to her until this point and she did this one because she liked the story with this character that seemed helpless and lost, looking for a shield to hide her emotions.
Davis on her character:
She forced her guilt on her husband and developed a defense mechanism by way of a brash personality.
Lancaster and Carbee with some thoughts about the story and characters in the film:
They wanted the incidence to continue the drama by creating a “world so unstable.”
“They (the family) never landed after the first tragedy. They weren’t in a ‘whole place.’ Once the characters start to deal with consequences, their lives move on and they’re not defined by the tragedy and Billy redeems his childhood.”
And that’s a “wrap” on the Accidents Happen Round Table Rap…
Yes, theFestival’s coming to a close this weekend, but there’s still some reporting to be done…coverage continues…

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