Speculation and mystery key to The Day Hollywood Died’s strategy
Speculation and mystery is Rising Pictures’ key marketing strategy in selling The Day Hollywood Died to overseas distributors and exhibitors.
The independent film, by debutant feature film director Ronnie Riskalla, even has fans baffled as they try to piece together the narrative for themselves from scraps and clues. A cryptic teaser here, a mysterious, desaturated poster there, and most recently an epic soundtrack by Henrique Dib is part of the campaign.
What can be said is: the film tells the story of a heist gone wrong, told from the perspective of an amnesic man in hospital. The unidentified, supposed heist member must relive disjointed, unreliable memories of the event in order to discover who he is (think Christopher Nolan’s Memento).
It's been more than two years after upstart Australian production company Rising Pictures acquired the rights to the film and lead actor Drew Pearson is eagerly-awaiting the release.
“Everywhere I’m going people have said, ‘yeah, I’ve heard of that film’,” Pearson says. “It’s been quite a few years in the making… I can’t wait to see the movie myself.”
Pearson plays South African heist member Ronnie, a potential candidate for the central character’s true identity. The role required Pearson to draw on his own experiences living in South Africa for a few years, as well as extensive work with his dialect coach to get the accent down.
“It’s good to get a local feeling from somewhere,” he says. “Sometimes you can do a place disjustice if you don’t get an accent right.”
Style-wise, the actor describes the film as a Tarantino-esque action/suspense flick; a “high-concept” drama aimed broadly at anyone who likes their movies with a twist.
“His [Riskalla’s] ideology was to make an international film, more acceptable to the rest of the world, not just Australia," Pearson says.
In terms of production, Pearson also notes that limited finances prevented the film from being churned out quickly.
“When you don’t have the funding that the big guys give you, then all of a sudden you’re finding that one person is doing five people’s jobs… They lost time on that.”
He hopes the film will become a universal cult success, as well as a platform to further his fledgling career.
“It was originally supposed to be a film that would showcase a lot of the talent working on this film… it’s just become bigger and bigger… hopefully it opens up a few doors.”
The Day Hollywood Died – written by K.G. Donovan – is one of many other recent acting roles Pearson has undertaken in projects involving trippy concepts and dark subject matter, such as David Sparx’s The 5th Shadow, Eric Rizk’s Evil Angels, and Puny Human’s upcoming fighting game Blade Symphony.
“It’s been a struggle,” he says, “but now I’m getting quite a few breaks.”
And, although he champions The Day Hollywood Died as an Australian film with a refreshingly international outlook, Pearson's thoughts are still grounded in the Australian industry.
“I would like to see more domestic projects happening in Australia,” he says, citing Baz Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby, in which he plays a minor role as a driver. “I’d love for studios to be utilising Australia a little bit more, just providing more work for Australian cast and crew.”
The Day Hollywood Died is expected to be released in theatres early next year, and more content is coming very soon, according to Pearson. But until official distribution deals are announced, the film’s already eager fanbase can only speculate.