If you’re in need of a sci-fi thriller with a ton of cinematic flourishes and excellent performances (from leads Jake Horowitz and Sierra McCormick), check out The Vast of Night on Amazon Prime Video. My internet connection was a bit mangled during my chat with Horowitz, so there may be a few seconds here and there left out. Still, there is enough insight from Horowitz in this chat (he talks about his work with McCormick and director Andrew Patterson and his love for Y Tu Mamá También) to make it worth your while!
Directed by Andrew Patterson, The Vast of Night centers on a radio DJ named Everett (Jake Horowitz), who investigates the origin of a strange radio frequency that is affecting their New Mexico town. Sierra McCormick is Fay, an eager-beaver switchboard operator and friend of Everett who first discovers this weird bit of audio. A ton of the movie’s attention will center on the long takes and snappy, overlapping dialogue employed in the film, but amidst this stylized approach is really inspired work from Horowitz and McCormick. There is also a long, immersive and heartbreaking monologue given by town resident Mabel Blanche (Gail Cronauer) that is simply one for the books.
The Vast of Night is currently, along with Driveways, my favorite film of 2020. During my interview with Horowitz, he also talked about his reaction to the film’s ending. That audio and transcript will be available on Friday for our CinemAddicts Patreon members. Enjoy the chat and please contact me or comment below on your thoughts on The Vast of Night!!!!
It totally does. Well, first of all, thanks I’m glad you enjoyed it. The first I saw it, the final version was at Slamdance with an audience. I was completely blown away.
Regarding your collaboration with Sierra McCormick, can you talk about building that relationship for The Vast of Night?
Well first of all she’s an awesome actor. She’s very easy to get along with and to talk to on camera and off. Also, we had a week of rehearsal before we started which made all the difference. You really just got a feel for who these people were and for what Andrew was envisioning for all of them and that put us all on the same page and we sort of took off from there.
Can you talk about the challenge of doing all those long takes in The Vast of Night?
They’re definitely the most exciting (aspect) in a way. Long takes are the most satisfying for an actor because you can really plug into these different things and who this person and the camera just rolls and you just sort of see where it goes.
If you can get a couple of takes that you like, there is no better feeling. While the pressure is really on once you get two or three minutes in, they’re the most gratifying at the end. I was so glad that Andrew was ambitious enough and believed in himself enough to make those long times a part of this film.
It’s not just the long takes, but your character is actually two different people. Everett has his radio DJ persona but he also, towards the latter part of the film, shows a much more serious side as well.
That’s such a great point. He really does have sort of two different levels and it even comes into play, there is one point in the movie where Fay says “Why are you talking like that?” And he says, “What do you mean.” She’s like, “Well you’re just sounding different.” And he says, “That’s how radio works!”
There is this real hilarious moment where she confuses his identifies (laughs). I think that’s a huge part of it. It’s so true.
My review of The Vast of Night is featured on the latest installment of Flick City. Take a listen below:
You must be very happy with the highly positive reactions to The Vast of Night.
I’m just overjoyed at how it’s being responded to. I will say after watching it at Slamdance – the room was different after the movie happened. We looked at Andrew and thought “Wow, you really brought something together.”
I really do believe in the movie in the movie as sort of being able to take people on a journey. I just feel overjoyed (about the reaction).
What is Andrew like as a collaborator? He’s such a unique filmmaker.
I think he is a unique filmmaker. You get that from the first moment you talk to him. He has a very detailed vision on what he wants to happen which is really freeing as an actor because you trust that when he says “We got it” then you know we can move on. It takes a lot of doubt in your mind when you finish a scene. That’s just a great thing for an actor to work with a director like that.
Also just his belief that different influences will come together and different rhythms can work within the same movie if you follow the story. And I love that about the script that there is really this fast banter followed by long sequences to a much slower scene. His faith in that variety of rhythm and storytelling just makes him just so versatile. He’s such an interesting filmmaker to watch.”
What is one of your favorite movies and can you talk about why this specific film still resonates with you?
Amazing question. Y Tu Mamá También (from) Alfonso Cuarón. That movie is extraordinary to me and it also has long takes that are jaw dropping. You can watch it again and again and again. From first reading (The Vast of Night), I felt that Y Tu Mama Tambien was influencing (the film). That movies can exist with real, interpersonal dialogue and have this fantastical camera work – seeing those two things come together is a great takeaway.