New Film Appropriate for the Times

Actor and Director Talk about Their New Film by Jason Harris

Actor Zachary Quinto (2009’s Star Trek, Heroes) started his production company, Before the Door, in 2008 and its first film, Margin Call, is being released Friday.

The film is a thriller entangling the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. Entry-level analyst, Quinto’s Peter Sullivan unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of the firm; a roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral catapult the lives of all involved to the brink of disaster.

Quinto said the script was “fantastic.” He also liked how the film “handled the subject matter.”

“I liked how it drew me in,” Quinto said. “I thought it was really compelling material.”

Margin Callis written and directed by J.C. Chandor, his first feature film. He doesn’t know if the timing of the film’s release during the Occupy Wall Street movement will help the film’s marketing efforts.

Zachary Quinto and J.C. Chandor on the set of Margin Call

“It’s certainly rewarding,” Chandor said. “It takes many years to make a film. To be able to introduce a film into that environment is very rewarding.”

Chandor said he has visited the New York City Occupy Wall Street site.

“It’s very inspiring that people are actually out in the street having their opinions heard,” Chandor said.

Chandor said he will have to wait and see if the movement helps the film at the box office.

“We wanted to give the viewer an entertaining look into this field,” Chandor said. “Hopefully it will give the viewer a greater understanding of who we’re protesting against.”

Chandor doesn’t think it will be a challenge marketing a film about an unsympathetic company taking advantage of people.

“You don’t have to like everyone in the movie,” Chandor said. This is about coming into a world where you really aren’t supposed to like everyone in it. Every character is human. In the same way a horror movie can be entertaining and fun, you are with these people in their every day professional lives. You see it from a different point of view.”

Chandor mentioned two reasons for people to see the film.

“I would say a reason to see Margin Call is hopefully it entertains you for an hour and a half,” Chandor said. “We tried
to make a compelling drama. The second thing is we tried to do is give the viewer insight into a world they are not normally privy; a world not normally available to them.”

Along with Quinto, the film stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci.

“The cast was an unbelievably great surprise,” Chandor said. “These actors really believed in the project. It made it that much more rewarding.”

Chandor said the 17 day shoot helped the film land actors with very busy schedules. The shooting schedule was “very short in the world of filmmaking,” he said.

The performances turned in by Spacey and Irons were everything Chandor could dream of as a writer and director, he said.

“It was actually a bit of a risk at the time to cast Kevin in a role that is essentially for much of the film supposed to be quite empathetic with the audience,” Chandor said. “In the past, it might have been more typical to cast him as the CEO.”

Chandor said Spacey inhabited the character and made it his own.

Quinto in a scene in Margin Call

Quinto prepared for his role by shadowing some Wall Street workers at Citibank.

“The Citibank workers were really supportive and really available,” Quinto said. “They were able to help myself and the other actors.”

Chandor had several incidents in late 2006 through 2008 that inspired him to write Margin Call, which he started writing
three years ago, he said.

The movie will be available in theaters and on video on demand. Check out the film’s website,
for the theaters showing the film.

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