Interview With Drake Doremus For ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS

Drake Doremus, who has done several romantic dramas (Like Crazy, Equals) comes back with another, new take on the messiness of love and life with Endings, Beginnings. It’s about a young woman, post-breakup, in search of what she wants and discovering how to love herself. Of course, that also means navigating two new love interests. There’s a great cast with Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, and Jamie Dornan. I was able to chat with Doremus about the process of the film, what inspires him, and how he’s keeping busy during these strange times:

This is Kristy Strouse with Film Inquiry. I appreciate your taking the time and I hope you’re doing well! Congratulations on the movie!

Drake Doremus: Thanks! And thanks so much for talking about the film. How are you doing?

Hanging in there! Thanks! So, most of your movies center on relationships, how much do you pull from your own life when writing?

Drake Doremus: Emotionally speaking, I definitely draw things from my own life, and people around me. I think it’s the idea of really trying to look in the mirror. For this film in particular, there was a correlation. I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship when I started this and I was figuring out what I wanted to say. I really wanted to make a movie about finding inner peace, really, and being okay with the messiness of yourself and the messiness of others. Just trying to accept that and be okay with that. That was what was most important to me.

How much do you the characters evolve once they’ve been cast, is there a lot of collaboration?

Drake Doremus: We always leave a little room for the actors to kind of make it their own, and bring their life into it. Bring all of our souls into it and mix it together essentially. It’s really important for me to do that, and I do think that’s what gives the actors a little agency to go to a place that they normally wouldn’t on a more conventional script or process.

Interview with Drake Doremus for ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS
source: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Since Shailene [Woodley] is the real center of the film, how involved was she?

Drake Doremus: So much, so much. She was really in the right place, spiritually, in her life to play this role. But at the same time, really kind of brave, and didn’t have any boundaries or limits potentially. It was limitless with what she was willing to explore. And I think that’s about what is so special with her performance in the movie is that she’s completely, emotionally naked. She was just so… Down for it.

Did you have any of the cast in mind prior?

Drake Doremus: I had Sebastian [Stan] and Jamie [Dornan] in mind. I had worked with Jamie on a short film we did and I thought he was really special. Shailene and I had talked over the years, and were interested in working with each other. But that was actually the last piece, oddly. She was the last to come on board. We spent a couple of hours talking and I knew she would be great for this.

Your films have a very distinctive aesthetic. Are your choices made to invoke a certain mood?

Drake Doremus: Yes! I’m super interested in the idea of subconscious imagery in a sense. When a movie you are watching creates a mood or a feeling, just as much as a performance. There’s something really interesting when you’re watching, it can really invoke a feeling. That’s something I’ve always been curious about exploring.

Interview with Drake Doremus for ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS
source: Samuel Goldwyn Films

There were some interesting choices this time, like the text messages on screen.

Drake Doremus: That was really an experiment! We wanted it to appeal to either character. What it would look like if she was scribbling it down in a book or something. The messiness of writing each other back and forth, with technology in this day and age.

Well it works really well with the sensibilities of the film. So, what inspires or has inspired you as a filmmaker?

Drake Doremus: The performances…what filmmakers would do with an actor and how they can bring emotion out of the audience, that dynamic was so interesting and inspiring. I kind of became obsessed with the idea of working with actors. It really kind of gets me out of bed in the morning.

Are you working on anything right now? Has the current situation had an impact on your writing?

Drake Doremus: I’m developing a couple of projects currently. I’m not interrupted, steady as she goes. A little bit of a bummer there won’t be a theatrical release with the movie, but hopefully, a lot of people will be touched and experience it. I’ve got a few things ready for when this is all over with and can get into the process of making them.

It’s good to be creative, to have that outlet.

Drake Doremus: I wouldn’t be able to survive without it. Just the idea of being able to work with people again, hug them… I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted again.

Well put, and I agree. Before I let you go, anything in particular that you hope audiences will take away?

Drake Doremus: Yes! Especially now, with what’s going on, I hope it will give people a sense of peace, self-reflection, understanding, harmony and…love, really. That’s what I hope.

I hope so too, thanks again!

Film Inquiry thanks Drake Doremus for taking the time to speak with us.

ENDINGS, BEGINNINGS is now available on Digital and will be available On Demand on May 1st.

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