Newlyweds Adam and Lynda have the perfect life. They are completely enamored with each other and Adam has just sold a technology patent for millions. However, their marital bliss soon fades when Lynda begins to suspect that Adam's newfound fortune could be tied to the recent death of her beloved brother. With the truth slowly emerging, how far will Adam go to hide his dark secrets from the one he loves, and will he be ready to live with the consequences?
Written and Directed by MICHAEL GLEISSNER, Produced by KACY ANDREWS and LISA SCHAHET, Executive Producer - MICHAEL GLEISSNER, Co-Producer - CHU CHEN ON, Director of Photography - JACK MESSIT, Production Designer - SECOND CHAN, Edited by STANLEY TAM and KRISTOFFER VILLARINO, Music Composed by ERIC GODAL, Costume Designer - CRYSTAL PA, Main Cast - “LYNDA”-MEI MELANCON, “ADAM” - IAN BOHEN, “KAT” - ESTELLA WARREN, “David” - KENNY DOUGHTY
IRREVERSI is a thriller that puts the theme of regret into an ultramodern context in the fast pace city of Hong Kong. Interestingly, the suffering that comes with regret and guilt is something that I always wanted to explore. And here we put it in the context in somebody that has "made it" - from a poor upbringing to absolute, financial freedom. The main character is like the Shakespearean Hamlet, at the peak of power and money, but still fragile and broken, and ultimately his actions provide the ultimate punishment for his deeds. Also, I always wanted to do a movie in Hong Kong, a city I have called home for a while now, and it provides the perfect setting for this movie with its large ex-pat community. I also decided to do this movie in two versions, one in English, and one in Mandarin Chinese, with two separate sets of actors, and I enjoy the subtle but important differences between the two versions.
Founded in 2004, Bigfoot Entertainment is an international entertainment company producing independent films for the global marketplace. The company finances and develops feature films, documentaries and reality TV shows, many of which have received industry accolades, festival awards and have been distributed throughout the world. Featuring both well-established and up-and-coming American and international talent, Bigfoot releases have shot on location worldwide including the United States, Hong Kong, China, Africa, Europe and Vietnam. Bigfoot Entertainment produces many of its projects at Bigfoot Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary that encompasses six sound stages and on-site state-of-the-art post-production facilities.
Headquartered in Los Angeles with studios in Cebu, Philippines, Bigfoot Entertainment creates content reflecting a Hollywood foundation with a global perspective. For more information, visit www.bigfoot.com.
Excerpts taken from:
“Irreversi, Shooting a Movie in Hong Kong”
by Linda Sunshine.
The process of making a movie is undeniably intense. A group of people gathers together, often from the four corners of the world, for a couple of weeks or months. They see each other every day for long periods of time. Shooting on location means they will live, well, if not together, then at least extremely close to each other. They practice their individual crafts and they work impossibly hard.
This is the story of one such moviemaking event that took place in Hong Kong in the spring of 2006 and involved a cast and crew of about 60 people. The film is called Irreversi.
Instead of shooting an English version and dubbing it in Mandarin, Michael Gleissner really wanted to make separate movies for the American and the Chinese markets, and decided that he would shoot with two different casts and two different crews. Irreversi is the American version and Hui Lu is the Chinese.
Hong Kong itself is almost indescribable. The skyscrapers are enormous glass structures, as modern as any city in the world, and built right next to slowly deteriorating apartment buildings with laundry hanging out of the windows or off the balconies. Sometimes Hong Kong feels like London, as all the drivers are on the right side of the cars and the cars travel in the left lanes.
Ian Bohen first learned about the role of Adam from one of the film’s producers while he was on Marigold. “Kacy Andrews told me about the role a year before I was hired for the part,” explains Bohen. “All I remember from the initial conversation is that it was a story about a husband, his wife and the mischief they both create in their lives. I remember her saying that the story was about betrayal, but the characters were both generally good people who had done bad things. Then when I learned that the movie was shooting in Hong Kong, I thought, “What could be better than that?”
Ian auditioned with more than fifty other actors, many of who were better known. In the end, the director decided that it would be best to cast a relatively unknown actor for the part. Once Ian was cast in the leading role, the production team went looking for an Asian woman who could sing and play guitar and play Lynda.
The exotically beautiful Mei Melancon seemed like the perfect actress to play the role. Melancon was born in Manila of Chinese, Japanese and French descent. After her family relocated to the United States, she became inspired to act as a result of being exposed to American musicals, plays and films.
Mei was approached about the role of Lynda in Irreversi shortly after finishing work on X-Men. “My manager called me around Christmas and told me about this independent film,” Mei explains. “She said that even though this was a small film, I should look at the script to see if I was interested. What really attracted me to the part was that it was written for an Asian woman. It’s really hard to find a role for an Asian woman that’s not about martial arts or portraying some kind of villainess.”
In the first draft of Irreversi, the story was set in Belgium, just outside of Brussels. However, as the script went through versions of the story, in English and Mandarin, the location of the movie changed to Hong Kong. The script transition was fairly simple because the story of Irreversi is universal and could conceivably take place anywhere in the world. In fact, there were some advantages to having the movie set in Hong Kong, a city that boasts a huge ex-pat population.
Shooting in Hong Kong is a complicated business and there are various obstacles that make it difficult. “Anywhere we shoot, we encounter a certain amount of restriction, especially in government-owned places,” explains Ben Tseng. “We are required to get permits from almost every place we shoot and we need to give the government at
least ten days notice before we can get the permits.” Most of Irreversi takes place in a single location. “We basically have one main hero location, which is the mansion that Adam purchases for his wife, Lynda, when they come into a windfall of money, “ explains producer Lisa Schahet.
The house on the Peak, known in the story as the Xiong house, is a featured location in the movie and in its own way is an important element in telling the story of Irreversi. The house is a symbol of all that Adam has achieved.
The director was adamant that this mansion be located on the Peak. “Hong Kong is a place where wealth can be pinpointed by an address, very much like Los Angeles where people move into or away from a certain area because of the zip code,” says Michael Gleissner. “An address on the Peak in Hong Kong means substantial wealth.”
Scene 121 A in the script called for Adam to walk into the Xiong house then become aware of what is actually happening in his life. The only dialogue in this scene is Adam asking himself, “What are you doing?” Everything the audience needs to know about Adam’s guilt, fear and regret should be apparent just from looking at his face. “This is a shot where Adam starts to realize the ramifications of what he is doing.” Explains Jack Messitt. “We see him coming through the front door and walking down the hall. He sees something but we, the audience, don’t know exactly what it is. At this moment, all the emotional ramifications of what he’s doing are hitting him and we see this in his face. Then as the camera starts pulling out, we realize we’ve been looking at Adam in the mirror. He’s been looking at himself and that’s what has triggered the realization that he can’t do this anymore. To me, it’s a very powerful, emotional scene.”
Technically, of course, this is a very difficult shot to capture. “Reflection shots are always tricky because of the angle of the lens and where the actor has to be in order to see his reflection but not the camera itself.” Explains Gregory Collier. “We need to establish very specific marks for both the actor and the camera. Moving an inch either way will ruin the shot.”
On Friday April 21st, we arrived on set to discover that, during the night, a platform had been constructed outside our Xiong house and an enormous crane had been carted up the hill. These two tasks had been done on one of the steepest and most narrow hills in Hong Kong in the dead of the night. This was quite an accomplishment and there was excitement on the set when the crew arrived and saw all this equipment in place.
The crane was ordered for a complicated establishing shot of the exterior of the house. The platform needed to be built to create a level surface for the crane and track. (An establishing shot is one where the audience is shown an overview of where the scene is taking place; it “establishes” both time and place.)
The filmmakers wanted to show the sweep and glory of this Victorian mansion and even though the house itself was built directly into the hill without any kind of driveway or front yard, we were going to fake the shot so that it looked like there was an elegant and extravagant approach to the house.
In this scene, Adam and Lynda are sneaking into the hero house. He is about to surprise her with the news that he has purchased the house for her as a wedding present. The scene called for the two actors to drive up to the house, get out of the car, walk to the front gate and climb the stairs. So, the camera was going to start at the top of the mansion, pan down in front of the porch, hit the gate as the two actors approach from the left side of the frame and then follow them up the stairs.
This may read like a simple scene to shoot but the actual filming was one of the most difficult and complex shots of the entire production.
On my last day on set, I was reminded of something Jack asked me one night at dinner. “So you’ve been asking all these questions all month, let me ask you one. What have you learned from being on set”?
At the time, I didn’t know how to respond. I thought, well, I’ve learned that those silver poles are called C-stands, that film dailies are shown without dialogue and that video records keep track of every shot so that the director can get instant playback. I discovered that sometimes you record the sound of an empty room and sometimes the film stock is bad and a scene has to be re-shot. I learned that lighting is one of the most complicated and time-consuming elements of prepping a set.
I also discovered that even after a long, hard, stressful day of shooting, the cast and crew alike are almost always up
for a night on the town. I learned that filmmaking is far more complicated and complex than anyone could ever imagine. An unbelievable amount of time, energy, effort and dedication goes into every second of film. Until you see if firsthand, until you spend hours and hours on a set, you cannot fathom how difficult the work truly is.
I have garnered a new respect for the people who work behind the scenes and a greater appreciation for the ones in front of the camera.
Almost everyone I interviewed said that they got into the business of filmmaking because they love the movies. All of them told me that, no matter how difficult the work, they loved what they did.
When a wife of an overnight millionaire uncovers evidence that suggests that he actually killed her brother and former business partner, he hatches a diabolic plan to kill her with a substance that causes her cancer. But what he did not plan was that he has to witness her incredible suffering, which makes him, wish he could turn back the clock.
Newlyweds Adam and Lynda have the perfect life; they are completely enamored with each other and Adam just sold a technology patent for millions. But, Lynda becomes suspicious when she senses Adam's newfound fortune could be tied to the recent death of her beloved brother. As Lynda begins to uncover the truth, the couple's bond turns to dust. Adam tries to cover his tracks by poisoning the one important person in his life resulting in the perfect guilt.
To everyone else, Adam seems like the luckiest guy in the world. His high-tech company sold for a fortune so he's an overnight millionaire, and then he married Lynda, his long-time girlfriend and the woman of his dreams. After the honeymoon is over, he finds out that his new wife becomes aware of some evidence that suggests that the death of her brother and Adam's former business partner John might be more than just an accident. When his friend and doctor David tells him about to buy it and administer it in Lynda's food. But what he did not anticipate is that Lynda consults David after a mysterious pain in her abdomen. When the disease progresses and her mind gets clouded, Adam's fear of being discovered is replaced by his compassion for his wife, witnessing her long suffering. He dedicates his life to taking care of Lynda, and even convinces David to give up his medical practice to dedicate his time to her medical care. When the cancer progresses, his guilt takes over his life, but as much as he wants to turn back the clock, it is now impossible. When the end is near, he contemplates killing himself, unaware that somebody is well aware of his actions, and he is about to receive his punishment in a way that he would never anticipate.