The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is now playing in theaters and is available on VOD, and if you loved The Killing of Two Lovers this feature should appeal to you as well. Actor/producer Clayne Crawford reteams with Robert Machoian for the feature, and it’s another home run collaboration. Crawford talked to Deepest Dream about making The Integrity of Joseph Chambers, a project he describes as a “dream come true,” and he also discusses why having a “grass roots approach” to making the picture was most effective.
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers centers on Joe (Clayne Crawford), a family man and insurance salesman who lives in his wife’s (Jordana Brewster) hometown. She grew up in a family of hunters and outdoorsman. Though Joe is still learning how to exist out in the woods, he decides to go solo and spend the day hunting a deer. A tragedy occurs during Joe’s excursion, leading to an understandable emotional spiral.
The feature deals with the “fake it until you make it philosphy” in a very realistic and unforgiving fashion, as Joe must have accountability for his bad decision. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Michael Raymond-James round out the ensemble.
CinemAddicts co-hosts Eric Holmes, Bruce Purkey and I all highly recommend The Integrity of Joseph Chambers, and our review is featured in the latest episode:
Movie buffs get to watch The Killing of Two Lovers and The Integrity of Joseph Chambers on a couch, eating chips, and enjoying these stories. What is it like on your end, since you are the artist swimming upstream to get these independent projects off the ground?
Clayne Crawford: I’ll say this and I’ll quote my wife. She says, “We have no memory of pain, otherwise we’d only have one child. It’s true. You don’t remember the uncomfortable aspects. You only have, for me anyway, the joy is what I reflect on.
Otherwise, I don’t think I would ever make another movie because they are super, super challenging. As it relates to this last film. I got to make this film in my small town that I grew up in. I utlized parents’ homes and family friends’ homes for locations. Friends and family’s vehicles as production cars.
It was a really hands on deck, grass roots approach. And they were all so enthusiastic to be a part of it. My friends financed it. It was one big love fest. And for me, to have the opportunity selfishly to play these two characters – it’s a dream come true.
I’ve been working in this industry for twenty years and I’ve kind of played a lot of the same guy for the most part. The bad guy. The heavy. And to be vulnerable as an actor within a character – there is just so much more meat on the bone. Definitely challenging. Lots of hard work. But for me, it’s exciting that it’s even doable.
I think that’s a reflection of where we are at with technology and the amount of outlets out there. People are constantly looking for content. And now you can create content without having to have 150 people and 20 tracks and some massive, sophisticated piece of equipment that requires three or four men and women to operate.
That’s just not the case for me. That is super exciting that we are the only ones that can stand in our way when before there were gatekeepers and people you had to go through. Yeah (it’s) challenging. But as you say, to sit back and watch the film at a festival with an audience – it just makes it all drip away.
This feature can be broken down into three chapters, with a different co-star inhabiting these moments. Can you talk about working with Jordana Brewster, Michael Raymond James, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan?
Clayne Crawford: Michael Raymond-James is my brother. He is a dear, dear friend and I love him very much. We’ve had the privilege of working together a couple of times. But for him to come out and play this character and for him to have given me so much.
When you watch the film, if there were an Oscar for playing dead, I mean holy cow. I don’t want to give too much away, but this guy just killed it. (I) pulled a Tom Holland.
As it relates to Jeff and Jordana, it’s a gift. To have the opportunity to work with Jordana on Lethal Weapon and to have met through his lovely and talented wife Hilarie Burton who also was on Lethal Weapon.
It’s been incredible to call those guys up and for them to come out and create something like this on a shoestring budget. No money. Just a camera and a few people and us giving 100%. And Robert just allowing us to play freely within the frame. A joy.
I’m just grateful those guys came in and helped me out like they did.
Do you see NFTs as a way for aiding filmmakers and artist to help their filmmaking journey?
You know Greg, it’s the hope. I don’t know. Crypto is just so fragile and there is so much uncertainty surrounding that market. I’ve explored it. I’m still in the process of exploring it. I think we need something to supporting independent cinema otherwise it is going to die.
Ten years ago, Netflix and Amazon were going to the festivals and they were buying everything up. If you were in a festival, they would make you an offer – I think it was 100 grand. If you made a movie for 50 grand, then you were guaranteed to double your money. It just doesn’t exist anymore.
They’re now creating their own content and controlling that content. So there needs to be a shift and it’s definitely on the horizon.
Music has found that way of getting directly to the consumer and that is our issue right now. We kind of need that pimp – which is the distributor or that sales agent.
I think the big hurdle was being able to create it on your own. As I mentioned before we no longer need that large crew and a huge sum of money which requires oversight. And requires fear because we have to get a return on our investment.
I’m hopeful that independent cinema is going to find a way and that there is going to be support from the community. But it hasn’t presented itself yet, but we’re going to just continue to make the best content we can with the resources we have in an effort to continue to push this boulder up hill.
Can you name one of your all time favorite films and why does it still resonate with you?
My favorite movie of all-time is True Romance. I think it’s one of the greatest collection of scenes of all time. Whether it’s Dennis Hopper and his scene with Christopher Walken. Or Gary Oldman – his scene in the club with Christian Slater. I could just keep going – James Gandolfini and Patricia Arquette in the hotel room. I just love that movie so much. Again it’s because of the performances. They’re just some of the best acting that I’ve ever seen.
I would (also) say The Empire Strikes Back because I watched that movie at a drive-in in the backseat of my mom’s Trans Am with my Star Wars sheets and my Star Wars pillow and my action figures. It was the first time I realized just how impactful cinema can be on individual’s lives. And how important it could be for us to sometimes just be able to navigate the day to day. Entertainment is a great distraction and also kind of an tool to help us.
Clayne before you go, are there more cool indie films down the pike?
Clayne Crawford: We’ve got a great film that we just sold to 1091 Pictures – that’s the guys who did What We Do in the Shadows. It’s called Best Clowns. It’s Robyn Lively and Thomas Lennon. It’s about a young lady played by Ashley Shelton who’s also the writer/director. It’s the story of a young girl who’s dealing with crazy amounts of anxiety and depression.
She comes from a lineage of clowns and she wants to be the best clown. It is just a special little project. So that’s what we have coming out this summer and I’m pretty excited about that.
Clayne thank you so much for your time and your work
Clayne Crawford: Thank you man, Good seeing you.
Full podcast interview with Clayne Crawford is up non CinemAddicts:
The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is now in select theaters and is available to rent/purchase on Amazon,Vudu and iTunes.