Whoosh! Issue 91 - July 2004

AN INTERVIEW WITH BARRY DUFFIELD
By Cynthia Ward Cooper
Content © 2004 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2004 held by Whoosh!
1974 words


Introductions
Hold the Anchovies
The Meeting
Writing
Musings of the Night
The Xena-Herc Connection
Barry Duffield's Filmography
Links
Biography



AN INTERVIEW WITH BARRY DUFFIELD



Wouldn't you buy a used car from this man?
Barry Duffield

INTRODUCTIONS

[01] CYNTHIA WARD COOPER: Hi, Barry! Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed. After I saw your new short film, Hold the Anchovies (HTA), I was curious about the film and the person who created it.

[02] BARRY DUFFIELD: Wasn't it curiosity that killed the cat?

[03] CYNTHIA: Yep; that's what makes a good interviewer. According to your website, Dreamchaser Film, you’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker. Do you think of yourself primarily as a filmmaker? HTA is your second film. How did you get to where you are now? Where do you go from here?

[04] BARRY: HTA is my third short film, if you include my end-of-year film school project, 15 Minutes. (This was made before the De Nero feature of the same name) I graduated from South Seas Film & Television School, Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of 1997. I had gone there thinking I wanted to be a cameraman, and came out a writer/director. Go figure.

[05] CYNTHIA: You’re also a writer and an actor. How are those roles going to figure into your plans? By which I mean, do you want to focus on filmmaking, or continue to take projects that utilize your various talents as they’re needed?

[06] BARRY: I came at the whole writing/directing angle from the actors point of view (My acting career started in 88) I had made a slight dent in the acting scene in Australia, and took that to a higher level in New Zealand on shows such as; Hercules, Xena, Young Hercules, and Street Legal. I was primarily cast as the bad-ass, and loved it.

I think that a good director should be blooded in all facets of the filmmaking process. Hell, I'd be the coffee maker just to be on set. This is one business where it can pay to be a jack of all trades. (That sounds like a kewl name for a TV show.. Yeah, I was in that too, and I can tell you that Bruce Campbell rocks.)

The Three Stooges live!
Barry (c) with Bruce Campbell (r) on the set of Jack of All Trades

[07] CYNTHIA: Cool! I'll ask you more about that in a bit. What else are you working on?

[08] BARRY: My first feature film has just been green-lit, and I will spill the beans on it at a later date. I don't want to jinx anything, at least until the ink is dry on the contracts. And I do think there will be a nice little cameo in there for moi.

I'm also working on a low budget indie, Twisted (working title) that I will direct. The lead has been written specifically for Mikey Hurst. Why? Because he works cheap and I know where he lives.

[09] CYNTHIA: That's great! Be sure to keep us posted.

[10] BARRY: All in all, I'm going to take life head, participate, and succeed.


HOLD THE ANCHOVIES

Hold the cheese!
The pizza delivery boys in Hold the Anchovies

[11] CYNTHIA: HTA can be described as a Kiwi take on American-Iraqi politics using a pizza delivery metaphor. It’s a film that can be appreciated both as a strong political statement and as a clever cartoon. Where—how—did you come up with this unusual and original concept?

[12] BARRY: I'd rather describe HTA as a citizen of planet Earth's slant on the Iraq/USA conflict. We are all going to pay the price if nobody is willing to back down. I wanted HTA to be a ride that the kid's could enjoy and a thought-provoking moment for the adults. You can laugh at the absurdity of it and still get the message.

My personal opinion; I think that Bush and Blair were correct in going into Iraq. What everyone seems to have lost sight of is the atrocities that Saddam and his offspring inflicted on their own people. Where are the pictures of the thousands of dead Kurds now? So what if there were no weapons of mass destruction? Saddam needed to be stopped. I only hope that if it ever happened on our soil, someone would come.

The U.S. needs to leave Iraq now. When a ten year-old-boy stands on the charred head of a corpse and yells for "Bush to come and see this" it's time to go. This is what the pizza represents--Democracy. The Iraqi people want it, and they are not willing to pay for it. How can you deal with minds that put a bounty on the life of Kofe Anan?

I do believe that this conflict would have been over long ago had the rest of the nations joined the U.S. and British. United we stand... Now we are left with huge divisions between nations, an enemy that knows how to play them against each other for its own benefit, and a P.R. war that no one can possibly win. Hey, this is just my humble opinion.

[13] CYNTHIA: It's a tough situation, no matter how you look at it. Given that, what are your hopes for the film? Do you think it can make a difference in what’s rapidly becoming a disastrous political situation for the U.S.? Does your film represent the prevailing view of the American role in the Mideast? Do you feel that New Zealand’s geographic distance lends you greater perspective on things? (Here in the U.S., we’re besieged with opinions, both pro and con.)

[14] BARRY: I'm ex military. My view differs from the civilian. I empathize with the troops on the ground. One thing I know for certain; Don't judge them - They are there. They are faced with the death of their closet, dearest, friends, everyday. None of us really understand what these men and women are going through on a daily basis.

[15] CYNTHIA: Very true. My father was a career Army officer who served in Vietnam. He said there's just no way you can understand unless you've been there. I imagine that's true for all wars. Now that you're a civilian, I imagine your entire relationship to war is different, as are your contributions against it. Do you believe that art is an effective tool to make statements for or against political issues, including war? Or should it just be appreciated for what it is?

Not bin Laden--he just plays him on TV
The dissatisfied customer in HTA

[16] BARRY: HTA is a piece of entertainment with a message. You can take it for whatever you get out of it. I purposefully stayed away from creating characters of George Bush Sr and Jr or Saddam. (Yeah, okay, the old guy does look a bit like Osama, and I assure you, it is purely coincidental. Subtle is the key word here.

[17] CYNTHIA: I wondered about that. But I'll take your word for it being coincidental. ;) The film’s producer and animator are based in the U.S. What was it like, creating a film via e-mail and instant messaging? Were there other complications arising from this unusual setup? Do you think it helped or hurt the film?

[18] BARRY: Rich Fuscia (Animator) would draft up rough storyboards and email them to me. I'd make the necessary changes and fire them back. It was all quite painless, but it was time-consuming. I'd say it took five months or more to complete. The post-production, voiceovers, and Foley track were completed locally by Digital Post, NZ. They donated their time and services free of charge. The soundtrack was put together by the extremely talented Mr. David Gould and Mr. Adam Isles. Roach put the players together, organized the film fests, and is acting as the distributor. She is a force unto herself.

[19] CYNTHIA: Roach alluded to its being a classic “little guy triumphing over the big corporation” story. How did you get the funding for this?

[20] BARRY: It was self-funded, 100%, as are all of my shorts to date. You can't sit back and hope somebody likes your ideas enough to throw money at them. Just get out there, bite the bullet, and do it.

[21] CYNTHIA: Wow! I'm even more impressed now. You directed your friend Michael Hurst in HTA. Not long ago, he directed you in Treasure Island Kids. How did the two experiences compare? Do you prefer directing or being directed, especially when it’s by/of a friend?

[22] BARRY: Ahhh, Michael is a joy to be directed by. He is like this little dynamo. It's a job and a half just keeping up with him. I think this why we jell, so well (Hey, I'm a poet, didn't even know it) We are both determined, energetic, go-getters. As for directing Michael--he gives you everything you ask of him and then showers you with alternatives. Some of the best stuff was just a bit too risque to use.


THE MEETING

Funny, he doesn't look like a bored, homicidal, obsessive-compulsive maniac
Kevin Smith in The Meeting (2001)

[23] CYNTHIA: You did an earlier short, The Meeting, in 2001, with another friend, Kevin Smith. It was an over-the-top meditation on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Where did you come up with the idea? How did directing a live-action short compare to directing an animated one?

[24] BARRY: The Meeting was produced in early 98. I took a little of my own obsessive behavior and embellished it a thousandfold, then I took the extreme thought that we all harbor at one time or another "I could kill that *ssh*le" and did it, metaphorically speaking. You see, everything that takes place in The Meeting is played out in the Wallace Greenway character's mind. BTW, The Meeting is a combination of live action and animation. It is live at the Less Film site. It was shot on Super 16mm. My first film experience. It will always be special to me, because of Kev's involvement.


WRITING

[25] CYNTHIA: You’ve written screenplays for both shorts and features, and are working on a novel. How do the various types compare? Which do you prefer (if any)? How has writing affected your acting and directing (and vice versa)? Do you think it’s important to have done all three in order to be truly good at any of them?

[26] BARRY: See my "Jack of all Trades" comment above. I absolutely love writing feature film screenplays. I took a three year hiatus from 2000 and did nothing except hone my writing skills. Fortunately I had to two contract screenplays to write for Film Business, NZ, The Hibernator and Inside Dope, that paid a lot of bills. Writing has certainly helped my grow as an actor and it helps when writing dialogue.


MUSINGS OF THE NIGHT

[27] CYNTHIA: You’re doing “Musings of the Night,” the first in a projected series of cabaret-type shows, in Seattle this September. It’s going to feature a number of prominent New Zealand-based actors, and all profits will go to the Kevin Smith Trust.) What attracted you to this project—the chance to raise your profile in the States, or getting together with friends for a good cause? The Auckland acting community seems to be extraordinarily close and, well, normal. (I’m comparing to Hollywood here.) Is that the case, or am I just totally off track?

[28] BARRY: Normal? That's a matter of perspective. I'd say that there are a lot of Hollywood actors that are just your average Joes...once you get to know them. I'm doing "Musings" for two reasons: Kev's family and the chance to work with some incredible Kiwis and Americans.

[29] CYNTHIA: If “Musings” takes off, would you be interested in doing further performances? (I’m campaigning for an Austin, Texas session.)

[30] BARRY: Only if you need the bad-guy as an MC. I don't sing, dance, or do windows.


THE XENA/HERC CONNECTION

Lucy is very DEER, isn't she? Get it?
Barry Duffield and Lucy Lawless filming "Adventures in the Sin Trade 2"

[31] CYNTHIA: Since Whoosh! is a website primarily about Xena, I really must ask a few questions in that direction. As you mentioned earlier, you’ve appeared in episodes of Xena, Hercules, Young Hercules, and Jack of All Trades—all Ren Pics productions. How did the various experiences compare? Any stories from those times? How has the closing of Ren Pics’ Pacific branch affected you, and the film/television industry there in general?

[32] BARRY: Those days were the 'hay days.' I feel like I was a part of TV history, and I am still thrilled to have been a part of it. I met some wonderful people and have remained friends with some. When these shows closed we took a big hit, but it couldn't go on forever and the memories are great.


BARRY DUFFIELD'S FILMOGRAPHY

(courtesy of the Internet Movie Database) As Actor:

Films:
Treasure Island Kids: The Monster of Treasure Island (2004) .... Dr. Polton
No Escape (1994) (uncredited) .... Prison Guard

Television:
"Shortland Street" (1992) playing "Constable Dave Groves" in episode: "Shortland Street" 10 August 2004
"Shortland Street" (1992) playing "Quinten" in episode: "Shortland Street" 24 February 2001
"Jack of All Trades" (2000) playing "Circus Performer" in episode: "Croque for a Day" (episode # 1.9) 10 April 2000
"Shortland Street" (1992) playing "Les Foster" in episode: "Shortland Street" 10 July 1999
"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995) playing "Koryak" in episode: "Adventures in the Sin Trade II" (episode # 4.2) 5 October 1998
"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995) playing "Pirate" in episode: "Faith" (episode # 5.1) 28 September 1998
"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995) playing "Koryak" in episode: "Adventures in the Sin Trade" (episode # 4.1) 28 September 1998
"Young Hercules" (1998/II) playing "Maximus" in episode: "Keeping Up with the Jasons" (episode # 1.14) 25 September 1998
"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995) playing "Kazankis" in episode: "Hercules on Trial" (episode # 4.10) 19 January 1998
As Director:
Hold the Anchovies (2004)
The Meeting (2001)
15 Minutes (1997)
As Writer:
Hold the Anchovies (2004)
The Meeting (2001)

LINKS

Barry's Official Site:
Dreamchaser Film

Hold the Anchovies is available for preorder at Roach's Realm for $20. (DVD only) You can also purchase The Meeting there for $25.

Tickets to "Musings of the Night" will be available through 10th Muse Productions.



Biography

Cynthia Cynthia Ward Cooper
IAXS Executive Committee, Senior Technical Producer,
Editor, Xena FAQ

Cynthia Ward Cooper was born in Fort Riley, Kansas on December 18. Her early years were marked by incessant travel. After a number of adventures, she moved to Dallas, where she earned a master's degree in library/information science. She is self-employed as a technical library consultant in Austin, Texas. Cyn has been an ardent Xenafan since the very first broadcast, and frequently expresses the opinion that the world would be a far better place if everyone would just sit down together and watch Xena once in awhile.

Favorite episode: THE DEBT (52-53/306-307), and DESTINY (36/212) (I like the flashback eps); anything with the Amazons
Favorite line: Xena: "I've got nothing but bad news for you" DESTINY (36/212).
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)
Least favorite episode: A toss-up between IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404) and any of the Season Five "comedies."

 

 

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