We are delighted to welcome Director, Producer, Writer and Actor Michael Boston to The Green Room! Thank you so much for taking the time to join us!
So honored, Dan! Thank you to you and Fusion!
I’d like to start by going back to the start and find out about your journey into the world of cinema!- You are one of seven children so no doubt childhood was full of many adventures. When did you decide that a career in film was something you wanted to pursue?
Oh yes, many kids in the family. Actually almost singularly raised by a single mother. It was tough going. We all were quite individualists though to be honest. I even have a twin sister, two sets of twins in the family but we all found our way to what interested us. I was the only one who hinged to sports and it was my saving grace, really. It kept my life structured and gave me discipline. When my wrestling career came to end, I was scared but totally fascinated with theatre and acting and it moved towards cinema and I just started watching films all the time by myself. I was so touched by older films like Elephant Man, Midnight Cowboy and Ordinary People. The Killing Fields so deeply affected me for days. I cried like a baby. I thought to myself that films are obviously so important to me, more than I ever knew, that I never want to be away from this.
We’ve mentioned that you wear quite a few hats and like to direct, produce, act and write…what area of filmmaking do you prefer and why?
That’s easy! Acting. I love all the elements that come with each responsibility… producing because you are putting together a puzzle, bringing so many people together and in the end, coming up with a package to present… directing because really you are trusting everybody when the time comes and you get to kinda watch your fellow actors find these beautiful moments… writing, oh writing. I do love it! It keeps me awake but it’s such a natural high if you feel like it’s working… but in the end, there is something to be said about taking on a character, going into these dark places that you’ve never been before or finding a connection with another character, played by another actor. After the scene is over, I (being me) will just go back to my corner and be quiet again. Acting just still gives me goosebumps.
In 1998 a film starring Ryan Philippe and Natassja Kinski was released called ‘Little Boy Blue’ a year prior to this you had sold the screenplay for this film. Tell us about the feeling and the process of selling a screenplay?
It was pretty special back then to sell your first completed screenplay when there was way less content being produced. It’s subject matter was very ahead of it’s time for film, I’ve been told. People were very scared of the perceived taboos. Some loved it, some were turned off. But I write the truth for the most part and I’ll always be proud of that. It got into the hands of brave producers from the get go and they championed it all the way through Waiting for distribution was a very long, long process though and I got very discouraged. It had no marketing and came and went in a hurry. It played on premium channels for awhile and Amazon made it available to purchase, and the reviews from the public there is something that I’ll always cherish.
You took a 12 year hiatus as it were from the industry…why was that and what were you doing for those 12 years?
Depression and alcohol… it’d be nice to say I joined the Peace Corps or something else very honorable … but facts are facts. I fell completely in love with the forgetting factor that booze gave me. I became a hermit, sat in the dark all day and gained close to eighty pounds. I was unrecognizable. Swollen. Fragile in a mental state. I had absolutely no self esteem, lost contact with family and friends and avoided personal contact as much as possible. Out of a job. When a company finally took a chance on me, gave me a job, I slowly climbed out of this giant dark hole. It was like what sports had done for me as a child. It saved my life. To go through what I went through, like many others have, has made me stronger. Gave me back my life. Makes me want to live life to the fullest. When I tell people that I’m blessed, they usually have no idea what I’m referring to. Been there, done that. Ten years sober.
You have your third directorial film ‘Jesus Rides A Harley’ at our East Europe International Film Festival- it’s fun, mysterious and you’re very Jesus like! How was the filming process for this project?
Oh, thank you for the “Jesus like” comment! That makes my day, Hah! I kinda think it’s it’s fun, too. We didn’t want to take ourselves so serious on this one. It’s quite a departure from the heavy stuff I’m kinda known for. But I DO have a sense of humor. Yes, I do! We were on an extremely tight schedule. Still amazed we pulled it off. Our crew was very small. The DP, Felipe Borges, likes to work this way. The first night, as usual, was very challenging but the actors came through. We had very few run-throughs and cast, for the most part, showed up in costume. We shot a lot of the motorcycle scenes at 4 and 5 in the morning, all guerrilla. That was exhilarating knowing we were getting away with it!
Okay sticking with the Jesus reference…if you had the holy power- what one change would you make to your life?
I prayed for this, answer. I thought what would Jesus do? Haha, just kidding. The change, really, at this point, would be to not doubt myself so much. To worry less. It robs you of so much. Working on it. Maybe I SHOULD pray.
What can we expect from you in the future, is there anything you are developing at the moment?
Oooh, it’s this love story I have. It’s my best piece of writing.
Michael, thanks so much for supporting Fusion International Film Festivals with your work and for joining us in The Green Room, you are now free to leave.
Thank you so much, Dan. And thank you again for having Jesus Rides A Harley as part of Fusion’s Warsaw event.