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Interview: Drake Doremus talks EQUALS, Anton Yelchin, and Kristen Stewart’s fans

The film Equals is directed by Drake Doremus, whose previous film Like Crazy features a then-unknown Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence, along with the sadly departed Anton Yelchin. His latest film, the future-set Equals is another stunning tour de force, featuring blistering performances by the well-known Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. We recently spoke with Doremus via phone from California. We were humbled by his candid responses and desire for his film to be seen by a wide audience.

Scene Creek: You are very active on Twitter. Were you expecting Kristen Stewart’s fans to be so excited for this film?

Drake Doremus: No. I had no idea. I mean, we understood when we saw her that she was very well loved (laughing). I mean, her fans are amazing. They are super devoted and super passionate and it’s kind of amazing. I mean, one would be so lucky to have fans like that, so I’m sort of overwhelmed by it. But also the support that they’ve given us and the movie, and how much they love the movie and are starting to discover the movie and getting to see it, it’s pretty cool man, I love it.

I love that you can connect with people all over the world for your movie. For me, it’s an inspiration, more than anything that people tweet at me that they were affected, and that they see my film. It makes me keep wanting to make films.

SC: What has the feedback been like for the film between its premieres at Venice and TIFF and now?

DD: I mean it’s been good! It’s a polarizing film and I guess the kind of film that I’m drawn to and I love are kind of like that way. People love the movie, and they’re really taken by it and are emotional, and some people hated it. It’s super fascinating to me the idea of making a movie that’s kind of broad, that reaches a lot of people, and it would be very interesting to me, but it wouldn’t be as honest. I’m just trying to make movies that I love.

When we were at TIFF, I did the intro for this film, then we went out to dinner and came back, and then watched the last fifteen minutes of this movie, which I think are my favourite fifteen minutes of any thing that I have ever made, just sitting on the wings, and we were right next to this row of five young women, and they just couldn’t breathe, you know, it was so emotional and they were crying so hard. It was just amazing. It was like that was everything and all the hard work that goes into this film the last couple of years leads to this moment, and I got really emotional, sitting there realizing that this is why I’m here. This is what I do.

SC: Anton Yelchin gave such a great performance in your film Like Crazy, and I can imagine that it is very difficult to do interviews and press at this time.

DD: It still seems like a nightmare. I mean, I can’t get it off my mind, it’s pretty heartbreaking. It has been a really tough couple of weeks. At the end of the day, he was such a passionate cinephile and loved film so much that the idea of talking about movies and continuing to make movies is more important than ever now. It’s such a different light on it, you know? I want to make movies for him. I learned so much from him and I want to make movies that he would be excited by. I could not ever make a movie and set up a shot again without thinking about him, and what I learnt from him. You know, we were a family and it’s still super devastating.

Equals opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Friday, July 15th