In Eddie Alcazar’s latest film PERFECT, we meet an emotionally troubled man (Garrett Wareing) who is set to a clinic by his mother (Abbie Cornish) where modernist serenity whispers soothing promises of perfection. By planting plug-and-play characteristics directly into his own body, he is relieved of his dark, twisted visions, but his body pays the price for purity of mind.
Visually stunning and featuring a unique electronic score from Flying Lotus, PERFECT is a film that doesn’t come around often. For its VOD release, I had the chance to speak with director Eddie Alcazar about his dystopian sci-fi thriller where we discussed everything from the visual effects to his continued collaboration with Flying Lotus.
Hi Eddie, thank you so much for speaking with me today. Can you talk a little bit about PERFECT and how the story for the film came about?
Eddie Alcazar: I originally had a basic idea and an image of a really gruesome creature that was horrible to look at. That was the first thing that kept coming into my brain and I really wanted to create it. First I thought of it as a sculpture and I thought it might be interesting to do a practical sculpture or a visual to just get it out of my head. Then I was wondering if it had any real story connected to it so I went deeper into the mental aspect. What ended up happening was I created this concept in reverse where it was a beautiful boy who is really fucked up on the inside.
I had a weird starting point which is the opposite of where we end up in the film. I ended up talking it over with multiple people who helped me create the film and once I had the path I then fused it together with a lot of other concepts that I was interested in and was already researching. The film kind of deals with this concept of perfection as well as philosophical aspects. There’s a pretty elaborate story behind the whole thing but I tried to mainly just touch upon pieces of it because I was also searching for a way to communicate a more personal and exploratory story which led to a lot of experimenting.
One thing I noticed early on was how stunning the visuals were. How much of that was practical?
Eddie Alcazar: It’s a combination of both practical and visual effects. We worked with a pretty strong practical team here in Los Angeles that built a lot of the prosthetics like the boy’s face. Then we would enhance it with visual effects. My background is all visual effects so I was able to pull in favors as well as friends that could help out on that end as well.
You and Flying Lotus have collaborated multiple times in the past on different projects as well as co-creating Brainfeeder Films. What was it like working with them again on PERFECT?
Eddie Alcazar: Steve [Ellison] and I met almost 5 years ago and we collaborated on a short film that I directed that went to Sundance. From that momentum, it kind of sparked the company Brainfeeder Films. I also produced the feature that he directed, Kuso, a few years back. PERFECT is pretty much our third project, so by now, we are very intuned with what we like and dislike. I have conversations with all the heads of the departments and from that, I really just let them do their thing and set the parameters in a way where they can freely work so that they can maximize their own ideas and try to get those out. It’s been pretty amazing to see these artists flourish and I think they do that best when they are given a foundation that is pretty much already in their lane and that they are used too.
Garrett Wareing gives an incredible performance as Vessel 13. Can you talk a little bit about the casting process and how you went about choosing him for the role?
Eddie Alcazar: I was talking to other actors that were in their mid-twenties or around that age group, and I met Garrett and his dad at the gym I go to in Burbank. [Garrett] had an interesting look and he really wanted [the role], both he and his father were constantly telling me how much they wanted to do [this film]. I told them there was a lot of crazy stuff involved and a lot of intense scenes and eventually started crafting [the film] more towards [Garrett]. I appreciated [Garrett’s] commitment that he showcased, he works harder than most people I worked with in the past which is pretty crazy considering his age.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the film are the themes at play. It’s very much a multi-layered film that allows the viewer to revisit it to pick up on things they may have missed the time before. Is there anything you would like people to take away from this film?
Eddie Alcazar: That’s a good question – it’s kind of a tricky one to answer but I feel like the discussion, and the conversation after, matter more than I think any one thing. I have had conversations about people’s interpretations and it’s fascinating to me. A lot of people that I’ve talked to seem to pull different things from it and you understand why they think of it either negatively or positively. It’ll be interesting to see how it’ll be embraced once it’s released and all the different kind of ideas or interpretations.
Lastly, are there any additional projects you are working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for in the future and would you like to continue within the horror genre?
Eddie Alcazar: I want to do something more horror – I feel like this one is more psychological/sci-fi with bits of horror, but I think I could do something in that genre, definitely more hardcore horror. I was talking to Clive Barker’s folks about a project and I think that would be a perfect fit. That’s maybe a little ways away but right now I’m working on a stop-motion film that’s been eating up my last few months. It’s been amazing because it’s been all brand-new to me. It’s motivating for me to do different things and not be in one specific area because I don’t want to be typecasted as any specific type of director. It’s really about what will get your mind going and jumping in on different things like that is what really motivates me. Stop-motion is very rewarding but it’s also so slow (laughs).
PERFECT is now available exclusively on Breaker.io
Breaker.io TVOD: 12.99 buy, 5.99 rental (free with code: PERFECT). The code will be valid beginning June 21st for 30 days. For more on PERFECT, read our review here.