5 to 7 is the prodigious debut film from writer and director Victor Levin. In an unconventional love story, Levin manages to weave a narrative that is both powerfully touching and perhaps most importantly, unequivocally human. Starring the likes of Berenice Marlohe (Skyfall) and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), the movie is in the assured hands of talented actors and this resonates throughout the full cast.
Thanks to Moviepilot, I was able to catch an early screener of the film and given the opportunity to interview Victor, Berenice and Anton. Although I was extremely nervous, the down to earth, casual and friendly manner of each individual helped me ease into my first ever interview. What resulted seemed like a catch up with a couple of friends, who just happened to be in one of the most beautiful films you'll see this year! Check out my full review HERE!
Victor, this is your feature length debut and you should be extremely proud of the finished product. What I’d like to know is why this film? What drove you to make this story?
V - The idea of love was an obstacle, an interesting obstacle, has fascinated me. But it’s hard to find something that hasn't been made into a movie 100 times. When I discovered this one, I thought it gave us many possibilities in terms of where the story could go and what exactly the morale issues were while it was going there. I knew there would be some doubt as to how the story would end, and I think that’s very important for a romance, even a romantic comedy, you know? It’s much more interesting to me rather than when you know they’ll be together in the end. So I wanted there to be some doubt. Having chosen the obstacle, it just became a question of working out a story that was emotionally satisfying, and I love to write about love because I think it’s about the best thing there is.
There’s such a collision of cultures within this film, especially with the subtle score, there seems to be a very ‘French’ tone to this film, so what was it like shooting all this in NYC?
V - It’s a melee. It’s mayhem shooting on the streets of New York, but it’s wonderful at the same time. It’s very difficult to control the background, traffic, the noise, the birds, the cyclists, the people who want to take pictures of your stars which is fine, except they happen to be in the middle of a scene! You know, there’s no holding that down, but in exchange for sort of wrestling with that, you get this incredibly vibrant and wonderful world. Every background is interesting, every scene seems real because they’re real people living their lives just beyond the range of the actions of the movie. Of course the city itself physically, architecturally, in terms of its parts and layouts, its so beautiful. You benefit from that every time you turn the camera on. In terms of the ‘Frenchness’ and the language, New York is a very cosmopolitan city, there’s a huge French community so it was perfectly natural that she (Arielle) was there, especially given that her husband was a diplomat and you do commonly meet people from all over the world in NYC, and certainly many people from Europe, so all that felt correct. As for the French feel to the film, I've loved European cinema since I was a very young man and particularly Francois Truffaut and I’m sure that influenced me on some level in terms of tone and feel, and music as well as you pointed out. We wanted a classical score but we also wanted to invoke the romance that you feel in so many French films.
Berenice and Anton, neither of you are strangers to our big screens, coming off the back of such franchises as James Bond and Star Trek. So I was wondering, what’s it like switching from these big blockbusters to a more intimate film?
B - For me, it’s the same essence. Actually the size of the movie, you don’t really feel it. When you write the material, you can see how passionate and love making art, and in both films it just felt like family. You are there, creating together, trying things and I think this is key to when you feel you are filming a story. Just like when I was doing Skyfall I was so relaxed with everyone from the actors to the producers, that I just felt very free. So you don’t really feel a difference.
A - I agree with Berenice completely. I think regardless of the film you're on, the process is the same with creating the character. You mine what resources you have and hopefully come up with something interesting. I think the size of the film doesn't really affect that. Somehow every film set I've ever been on, regardless of the size, it seems like you don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. I think that might just be the reality of filmmaking, it’s just such a ludicrous effort to make a film! You feel the same pressure regardless of the size of the budget. There’s a difference in a sense that like, St. Regence wasn't green screened, or Berenice and I weren't in space, but maybe that’s an idea for a sequel? Ultimately the intimacy you try to have with your fellow actors, stuff you're doing and connecting with people should be the same regardless with the size of the film.
Anton, I was actually reading that you come from a very strong sporting back ground. Both your parents are accomplished figure skaters. So I have to ask, how do you fare out on the ice?
A - My parents yeah! I have no background in sport. Oh horribly, that’s why I’m not ice skating.
In the film we see your character as a struggling writer, so if you had to write a novel or a screenplay what genre would it be and why?
A - I would love to be able to write a novel. I’d just feel so good about myself if I could do that. I think it would be a synthesis of something like Mickey Spillane, meets Kafka, I feel like that would be a lot of fun. If I could write something like that, I’d be so happy. I’m working on it, I’m trying.
Here at Moviepilot we love all things superhero. So if you could have one superpower, what would each of you have?
B – Oh I would love to fly! Go to space, visit the galaxy.
A – Write a novel.
V – I would choose teleportation.
A – Oh yeah that would be pretty awesome.
V – Because traffic makes me insane. Then I’d know exactly how long it would take me to get anywhere, I think that would be a great superpower. I would not really be fighting evil, so much as I’d be making my appointments.
'5 to 7' is the debut film from writer and director Victor Levin. Starring Anton Yelchin, Berenice Marlohe, Lambert Wilson, Olivia Thirlby, Frank Langella and Glenn Close.