We feel extremely honoured that one of our most prominent Twitter followers, American filmmaker Victor Buhler, agreed to talk with us about one of his upcoming film projects Running Naked starring Matthew McNulty, Andrew Gower, Tamzin Merchant and Rakhee Thakrar.
Harvard graduate Victor Buhler is a writer, producer and director of several award winning drama and documentary films. His IMDb page lists an impressive 8 wins and further 4 nominations, including an Emmy nomination for his documentary Rikers High (2006) and a Student Academy Award nomination for his dramatic short film Chaperone (2001). Last year he won the Emmy for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary for Tom vs Time. He’s also taught film-making at his alma mater Harvard University and at New York University’s Tisch Graduate Film School.
First of all: Thank you so very much, Mr Buhler, for taking the time to answer a couple of questions about your upcoming film Running Naked for us!
A friend of ours named Rob Wales had the original idea but we developed the script extensively over time. We all felt very connected to the idea: Jennifer is a cancer survivor herself and Mike helped her through her recovery; I was in a life-threatening car accident. In the process of surviving those terrible moments in our lives, we adapted. Survival makes you tougher but it can also make your thought processes more brittle or it can make you less open to certain experiences. Running Naked is about breaking through where you’re stuck mentally. The film main characters – Ben and Mark – open old wounds but they end up rediscovering their true selves.
Running Naked stars Andrew Gower, Matthew McNulty and Tamzin Merchant. All three actors have previously worked together on other projects. In your own personal opinion, do you think it is an advantage or a disadvantage to work with actors who know each other well?
When actors know each other well – and respect each other – they can develop a shorthand. Certainly that shorthand was clear between Andrew and Tamzin, who share a love scene together in particular that I think is one of the best scenes in the film. Overall, I felt the actors really enjoyed working with one another.
Can you tell us something about the casting process, and how was working with Andrew Gower? You mentioned in an earlier conversation with us that you’re also a “big fan” of his.
In truth, I wasn’t that familiar with Andrew’s work before casting Running Naked. I soon realized he is a very capable actor with a tremendous amount of range and sensitivity. He has incredible attention to detail: he had a very clear vision of his character of Ben Taylor. He was meticulous, heartfelt and always prepared.
Running Naked is a film about friendship, about two men who met when they were both treated for leukaemia when they were teenagers and who re-connect later in life when one of them is faced with some life changing news. Is that an accurate plot description?
Running Naked is about friendship for sure although Mark and Ben – the two main characters – never lost contact since they were teenagers. Mark, however, has seen his friend retreat into his own world and Ben has become a fussy, obsessive recluse. The story is about when a piece of news forces each character to change their perspective.
One of the main characters, Ben (played by Andrew Gower) is not only a former cancer patient but also struggles with severe mental health issues. Did you do extensive research on both illnesses?
I wouldn’t say that Ben has severe mental health issues. He did develop obsessive mental patterns that became his way to cope with cancer. I did research Obsessive Compulsive Disorder extensively but I would say that Ben’s diagnosis would be mild and not be severe. Nevertheless, habits run deep and the mind is a mysterious tool that can control a person’s behavior in complex ways.
In terms of cancer, Jennifer Knowles, who co-wrote the script, is a cancer survivor herself.
When we first heard about Running Naked, we couldn‘t help but be reminded of a German film called Knockin‘ on Heaven‘s Door *. Have you ever heard of it?
[* A “criminal comedy” about two cancer patients who meet in hospital and decide to go on a road trip to see the ocean. They get in trouble with a group of gangsters, are chased by the police and end up in a brothel, before they finally reach their goal.]
I haven’t but would like to see it.
Would you say Running Naked falls into the same category or does it have a completely different tone? In other words, how many boxes of tissues and chocolate are we going to need?
Hopefully a box of each!
Running Naked is produced by NoW Films. Can you tell us something about the company?
NoW (North of Watford) Films was born out of a passion to generate, develop and produce high quality film and television projects. The company’s ethos is to create and maintain an impressive network of creative talent and industry partners not only within the production world, but in terms of high quality writing, acting and directing. NoW has produced 8 features since 2009.
When and where will fans be able to see Running Naked? What does the future hold for it?
The state of the world has affected the film’s release schedule but we’re excited to announce that Running Naked will debut at the Beijing Film Festival at the end of August 2020 and will be released, starting in the UK, from October 2020.
Last but not least: Will there be any actual naked running or is it just a metaphor?
You’ll have to watch the film to find out of course!
Thank you, Mr Buhler, once again and we are very much looking forward to seeing Running Naked and Andrew bringing Ben Taylor to life.
Thank you for your interest in the film and in Andrew’s career, of course!