Adam Sigal, the director of Sam’s upcoming movie “When the Starlight Ends” was kind enough to answer some questions about the movie and what it was like working with Sam. We really appreciate Adam taking the time to answer our questions, we can’t wait to see WtSE! (Picture via Adam’s Instagram @soaringsigal)
SCL: What was the inspiration for When The Starlight Ends?
That’s a tough question! There were a lot of different sources of inspiration for this film. It’s a very personal story about the struggle to balance one’s career aspirations and the other factors of life. The script is actually a very lose adaptation of one of the first short-stories I ever wrote–a science fiction piece about a man picking up a hitchhiker on the drive up from Los Angeles to Palmdale. I wanted to write something intricate and nonlinear, but which could still be followed, and most importantly, which still created an emotional response.
SCL: It seems like this project was a labor of love, can you tell us about the journey this movie has taken from your writing of the movie to getting the movie filmed and into post production?
The whole process was about 6 years to get the film made, and I faced a ton of challenges along the way. Twice I had contracts signed with production companies, and both times the deals fell through. I had cast attached, then unattached…it really has been a crazy ride, but we finally got it in the can and I think it turned out great!
SCL: How did Sam end up being the one you cast as Jacob?
I actually met Sam long before Outlander–I want to say about 5 years ago. At the time, he was a semi-struggling actor in Los Angeles for pilot season. He got hold of Starlight from a casting director friend, and he really loved the script. At the time he wanted to do it, but I was dealing with producers who really wanted massive stars in the lead roles. About a year or so later, Sam messaged me on Facebook and mentioned he’d just booked a new show he, “thought might be a big deal”. He didn’t tell me too much more, but when I saw a bunch of my friends posting about him on social media, I knew he really had! I reached back out to him, asked if he still wanted to do Starlight, and he said absolutely! Pitching the project with him on board made it easier to find money for it. I’m still in awe of the fact that Sam stuck with me and still agreed to do the film, even after booking Outlander, and with the fact that he’s on his way to becoming a megastar.
SCL: Was there a particular scene that proved to be unexpectedly challenging to film or one you thought would be challenging but ended up being easier than expected?
My (and Sam’s!) favorite scene in the script is a long one where the two leads are in a car together, having a conversation. It’s a night-driving scene, so lighting it proved to be tricky, but the scene turned out great. It was weird that with the various action scenes, the intricate set pieces, the complex camera movements in the film, that the most difficult one was just two people sitting in a car, talking, but that’s the way things worked out! All the stuff I thought might be tricky turned out to be cake, and we had an overall very easy shoot.
SCL: Given that the movie is about Jacob rewriting history, is there anything in your life you would go back and rewrite?
Haha! Who wouldn’t? I wish I wasn’t such an idiot as a teenager. There’s some girls I’d probably go back and write apologies to! In general I’m very happy with how my life has turned out, up to this point. Recently I’ve had a few family members and friends pass away, and I’d absolutely rewrite them into my life so we could all hang out the way we used to.
SCL: What was the most pleasantly surprising thing about working with Sam?
I won’t say it was surprising that Sam treated everyone on set with such respect. Or that he was so patient when things went a bit awry…I’ve known Sam for some time and I knew what a great guy he was! What surprised me the most was how well he came to embody the role of Jacob. It’s way off-type from the work he’s done in the past, but from the second he stepped onto set, he was absolutely fantastic in the role, and the finished product is exactly what I’d hoped it might be!
SCL: What will surprise Sam’s fans the most about his role/performance in When the Starlight Ends?
It’s very different from his work as Jamie Fraser! He got into (or should I say–out of) shape for the role, to look less like a Scottish highlander and more like an introverted writer. His performance is very understated and, at times, complex. For instance, at a point in this film, he decides to write himself as a different character–someone he knows, and thus he basically “swaps places” with his neighbor, Ralph. Sam had to study the actor playing Ralph (Sean Patrick Flannery), and adopt some of his mannerisms, how he spoke, etc. I don’t think he does a ton of that sort of thing on Outlander 🙂
SCL: Even though it is early in the post production process, do you have a target release date?
This is very much a question for the producers, but we are very aware of Sam’s incredible fanbase, and we are eager to release the film and see what you all think!