MVP had a chance to chat with “Synapse” Actor and Screenwriter Adam Simon about his upcoming movie “Man Down” starring Hollywood A-listers, Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Kate Mara, and Gary Oldman. “Man Down” is set to start filming on the 30th of October in New Orleans.
MVP What can you tell us about Man Down, which has been dubbed a psychological thriller, especially the storyline?
Nothing. (Laughs). I can’t really say anything about the specifics of the story. What I can tell you is that it came from a very personal place, just the…you know, the darkest most beautiful attic in my heart. It has several significant twists and turns, but at its core, it’s about the character Gabriel Drummer and no one has the capability of tackling that like Shia Lebeouf. It’s his story really. The story is about a man’s search, Gabriel’s search for his family. Specifically, his son.
MVP Adam in our previous interview you told us a little about your screenwriting, how long you had been writing and when did you write this screenplay?
I have been writing since I was a kid. Ghost writing for years. I make a habit of writing in some way every day. I started writing Man Down early in 2010 and went through multiple rewrites before it got to Dito’s hands.
MVP We understand you were homeless at the time you wrote this script. Can you elaborate on your experiences during this time in your life?
Homeless when I started, yeah. I’m good now though. (Laughs) It was a brief period. Even now I hesitate to talk about it; I don’t want to keep banging that drum. It’s strange to be asked about it and weird to explain it. It’s a ghost I don’t want back. Some great things came of it, survival, drive, empathy, understanding…Man Down and other scripts.
MVP Was being homeless the catalyst for writing Man Down? If not what else inspired you to write this screenplay?
It was…partly. That and being separated from my kids. When you become a parent nothing is better than just being with your children and nothing is worse than being away from them. So my struggles as a father and seeing the struggle in others led to the story’s structure. I have great friends who are military. Former and active. Brave men and women who risk everything. I saw and still see them coming home from war and needing food stamps. These men and women place everything on the line, and our politicians are the first to invoke them and the first to neglect them. Both parties. It’s insane. That and the other things I mentioned all went into the writing.
MVP You were obviously in a lot of pain when you wrote this film. Many creative people say that their pain is the focus of their creativity; do you think there is any substance to that school of thought?
Jesus. You want me to jump off a bridge don’t you? (Laughs.) Does the next question involve me describing my most traumatic event from my childhood? (Laughs again) Yes, I think there is substance to that. There are many great, wonderful, and even beautiful things that can come from pain. It can be painful to accomplish great things; it can be painful to love. Some of the greatest comedies have come from really dark places.
MVP Can you also tell us a little bit more about the cast especially Shia LaBeouf and his portrayal of the main character? Did he easily fit into his role?
Nothing about this story is easy. The character would be extremely challenging for anyone. I don’t know exactly how he is going about it. I just know how excited I was when I found out. I admire him. I think he’s fucking brilliant. I was sitting in a hotel room at three in the morning when I got to hear him doing a read of the script. I sat there, listened and just balled my eyes out. It was beautiful. I don’t know man; I hate talking about this stuff, it just feels like talking about something sacred you know? Like tweeting about how a loved one looked at a funeral or talking to the public about how your wife looks during sex. I just think he’s perfect for this; there couldn’t be anyone better. The end.
MVP What character in the film does the legendary Gary Oldman play? It must be exciting to have him in your film?
I wish I could tell you about Gary Oldman’s role because it’s so great. I can’t though, not yet. Legendary, yes. Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe it. He’s a master. I have seen every movie he has ever been in and directed. I loved the musical performance pieces and concert he directed for Jack White. Amazing. I want to say also that it’s not my film. Films are collaborative. I wrote the script, but the cast, the crew, the producers, everybody involved at this point, they are climbing the mountain.
MVP And Dito Montiel the director, have you or any of the cast members done any previous work with him before?
Some of the cast has worked with him before. I have not. But the cast! The damn cast! Amazing! Kate Mara, Jai Courtney and Clifton Collins Jr. I think Clifton is one of the most amazing actors out there. I spoke with Dito a few weeks back, and it was an epic conversation. We talked for a few hours about the story, the film, family, everything. He talked about his vision for the film and where it was going to go. He said, “I am going to fight for this thing and create something beautiful.” He is one hell of a guy. He’s a leader and just void of any fakery.
MVP Interesting to note that you feature in “Synapse” but are not acting in this film. Do you plan to continue acting or are you steering your career in the direction of writing and directing?
I will always act. I’m an actor first, a writer second, and I think my acting informs my writing and my writing informs my acting. They are two different instruments in the same band.
MVP This project is right on the heels of “Synapse” that is due for release in November. Was this not tiring for you to immediately go straight into another project just after completing one?
I enjoy being tired; I enjoy being burnt out. I was shooting Synapse while I was handling daily rewrites of that script all while I was performing rewrites for the producers of Man Down. It’s where I like to be; running until my legs give out… I’ll let you know when that happens.