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Award winning filmmaker, Angelo Bell, takes time to chat with us about the exciting launch of a massive crowdfunding campaign for a new film project entitled, “A Perfect Weapon”.
“A Perfect Weapon” ‘s plot melds action, intrigue, espionage, sex … and follows the story of a disgraced US Marshal who is reinstated to track down a female terrorist. Is it more action or a character driven drama … how would you describe the story?
The story is essentially a thriller, which I think falls right into my niche as a filmmaker and storyteller. Because I don’t have an “action film” budget, I concentrated on things I love writing like, suspense, deception; dynamic, colorful and obscure dialog, conflict, sexual tension – all the visceral elements that engage you.
“A Perfect Weapon” is about Shey, a US Marshal, who has made the mistake of getting intimately involved with women during his missions, whether they are escapees, runners or Federal witnesses. Now, Shey has a chance to redeem himself, but he seems to be falling back into his old habits with Femi, this beautiful coquettish, escaped prisoner who we immediately recognize is special in more ways than one. As the pursuit continues, we start to see that there’s something dark and sinister going on behind the scenes, but we can’t quite put our fingers on it.
What was the inspiration for “A Perfect Weapon”?
As a young writer, two of my favorite movies were Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. I like the conspiracy, the big reveals of government deception, and the dogged pursuit of the truth. I watched those movies a hundred times and Harrison Ford was badass. Then, I was moved by the storytelling of the Swedish version of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Unfortunately, American audiences often do not appreciate the difference in storytelling with foreign films, and thus we get “remakes,” but I love European films. With “A Perfect Weapon” I wanted to emulate a type of Tom Clancy-like conspiracy and set it in a cat & mouse pursuit that’s more emotional and psychological than physical. Every film I’ve made has had a strong female lead. I like writing empowered, flawed and badass roles for women – I think viscerally and visually it’s cooler to see on the screen. In this project I wanted to have a male counterpart, who essentially takes us on this journey where we begin to uncover the ugly truth behind the woman’s past as he reveals part of his own ugly past as well.
At this point, how long have you been working on development of “A Perfect Weapon”?
I first wrote “A Perfect Weapon” back in 2010 when I went on a crazy insane writing spree and I finished two feature length screenplays in one month. At the time it was called “Deterrence Theory,” which was a play off the Cuban Missile Crisis issues in the 70’s, where it was postulated that the threat of nuclear retaliation and the subsequent devastation is sufficient deterrent to keep our enemies at bay. I’d always wanted the story to be a classic suspense thriller with action elements – but the difference would be that every major character would be a person of color. While race itself would not be an issue in the story, I thought it was time to have a classic thriller with people who looked like my friends and me. My process was to make most of the characters, Black, Latino, Indian, African and Asian. Since 2010 the script has been rewritten about fifteen times. Then in 2012 I submitted it to Juntobox Films for consideration. During a Google+ Hangout with the Juntobox development team, one of the execs said my script was, “very sexy.” At the time it became the most viewed project on the website. I continued to rewrite it again, focusing on character development and budget and now it’s almost ready.
The characters Shey, Femi, Marcela, etc., all come across as multi-layered and palpable human beings. Did you have certain actors in mind while you were writing “A Perfect Weapon”?
I only had one actor in mind when I wrote “A Perfect Weapon” and that was Denzel Washington. Remember how flawed and in turmoil Denzel’s character was in “Man On Fire” when he played Creasy? That’s what I was going for. I wanted both my characters, Shey and Femi, to have a high degree of obsessive intensity like Creasy, and that’s why I’m happy with my two stars, Alimi and Tehmina. They are incredibly talented, sexy, good-looking and intense!
You have recognizable named actors attached to the project already, such as Alimi Ballard, Tehmina Sunny, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and Ravi Kapoor. Share with us about the casting process and how each of them was brought on board the project?
As a writer you must create such colorful characters and employ such dynamic storytelling techniques and dialog that either an actor immediately gets it or they don’t. That’s how my
Tags: A Perfect Weapon, action, Alimi Ballard, Angelo Bell, Crowdfunding, Emayatzy Corinealdi, espionage, filmmaker, interview, intrigue, Ravi Kapoor, Tehmina Sunny
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