Hi Richard, How are you? I watched “Prodigy” and I loved it! I told Alex (one of the directors) that I loved it and Savannah who plays Ellie kind of reminded me of a little, mini Hannibal Lecter.
Richard- Oh wonderful. Sure!
I also loved the back and forth between you and Savannah. It was very intense. How did you get involved with the film and how did you prepare?
Richard- Well, I got cast in the traditional insane way of auditioning with a lot of other guys and then they asked me to come back for a call back which was essentially me doing the call back with Savannah. They just wanted to make sure we had the right chemistry and that was it. There wasn’t a whole lot of deliberation after that. They had initially, I don’t know if Alex told you but they initially written the part for a young boy. But they couldn’t find a boy so they expanded the casting to include girls and they fell in love with Savannah right away. They said the same thing about me in these Q & A sessions after screenings. They felt I had captured what they were looking for. Then it was a couple months before we started shooting so I had plenty of time to prepare. We had a few rehearsals. Not many but it was pretty much locked down as far as the schedule.
Now what was it like for you working with Alex and Brian?
Richard- It was good. I had never done that before, working with a co-director. They had become good friends during their time at USC and I guess the germ of the story had been started by Brian. They really kind of had their roles. Alex was more gregarious and on the set and talking to us. Brian was more technical. They would assess with one another. It was very interesting.
I think that you can tell this film was well thought out and very well made. The characters are thought out and you guys gave it your all.
Richard- Well, thank you. I mean it was a great cast and you are working on such a small budget film. We are there because we like the material. Everybody was pretty much simpatico. It was a solid two weeks and maybe a couple of extra days. We shot the whole thing in this abandoned animal shelter that was in Riverside, CA. Alex and Brian basically built the set themselves. They created the interrogation room and the control room. USC taught them well.
Do you feel that Dr. Fonda had more of a closer understanding of Ellie because of what he went through with his own family? I know that is sort of a psychological question but I felt you nailed that aspect.
Richard- I did, no, no, no you are completely on-point here. My character had suffered this horrible trauma and has since become this empathetic therapist working with troubled youth or people who have found themselves in dire situations at a very young age and he can’t help but associate this patient of his with his daughter that is not around any longer. So yeah of course there is that connection immediately and she has this mind and intelligence that is very startling and it takes me back. There is definitely that paternal feeling that comes up.
Will you come back if there is a sequel?
Richard- Oh, absolutely. I would love to have a sequel!
What are you working on next?
Richard- As we speak right now I am actually on tour. I am taking my daughter on college tours. She is a junior in high school so that is what I am doing. I’ve got a few films that are coming out. I do voice acting as well. I’ve gotten video game work. I do lots of different aspects of this business. I am always looking for the next gig.
What do you want to say to the fans and the audiences watching “Prodigy?”
Richard- More than anything I would say thanks for the support and thank you for watching “Prodigy”. Thank you for taking the time. I am very grateful for the attention that you’ve given the film and for my own work. Enjoy it and I appreciate any feedback and good luck with your own endeavors and just follow your heart with whatever you love doing. Give it your all and find something inspires you and gives you joy.
Thank you so much Richard. It was such an honor to speak with you. Thank you. I hope we get a sequel.
Richard- Thank you. I appreciate your interest and thank you for the conversation. Its been great. Thank you.
Richard- Thank you Janel.