‘This is Your Death’ SXSW 2017 Review - Exclusive Interview with the Cast

Film Review

The film“This is Your Death” had its world premiere at SXSW 2017 with a run time of 104 minutes.  The film is a dark drama that will shock the audience and give a behind the scenes look at reality TV, and in the case of  “This is Your Death," how things can end up with lethal consequences.

The actor Josh Duhamel plays the character of Adam Rogers, who becomes a national hero after saving one of his “Married To A Millionaire” contestants during an unexpected murder/suicide finale in a reality TV program like “The Bachelor.”  In the show, female contestants are diminished and controlled by audience preference and ratings.  The contestants are subjected to embarrassing circumstances on national TV in order to increase ratings.  Subsequently, after the “Married To A Millionaire” reality TV meltdown hosted by Adam Roger, the executive Ilana Katz played by Famke Janssen comes up with an idea of a suicide-based reality show that allows “participants” to kill themselves in front of a live audience. Ilana learns that California allows a person to commit suicide as long as doctors and psychiatrists vouch that the person is committing the act of their own volition.  Rogers and his producer Sylvia, who is played by Caitlin FitzGerald, signs on after persuading the audience and participants that the show will air with only the best intentions to be the world’s most morbid live TV charity funded by the audience.  The show is born as “This Is Your Death,” which involves publicly televising a suicide as a form of live entertainment for a cause and treated by the media like a charity.

Nobody has seen a film like it.  It is about human suffering and especially the introspective part of being human.  The audience will be paralyzed from the beginning to end with the dark drama of  “This is Your Death.”  The beauty of this film is that it goes beyond the contestants' depressing reality and pain which becomes so dreadful and extreme to the point that death for money is better than living.   The final contestants become the real deal to qualify for the most frightened and amused self-termination.   Josh Duhamel has one of the most incredible performance as an actor on this film.

Giancarlo Esposito was incredibly transparent during the Q&A and shared with the audience some painful memories about his personal life and his past and about how the arrival of the script of  “This is Your Death” marked a new beginning in his life.  He said at a point in his life he had become bankrupt and lost his family and love. The film came into his life to spark his purpose as an artist because the film was based on a solid storytelling.

 Yenis Monterrey exclusive interview with the Cast and Director of “This is Your Death”

Interview with ‘Sarah Wayne Callies’ as Karina

Yenis Monterrey.- Sarah, I’m one of your biggest fan in the TV series “Prison Break,” I’m glad you are back with a meaningful character in the film “ This is Your Death” premiering at SXSW. Who is Karina Rogers your role and her background in the movie?

Sarah Wayne Callies.- I play KarinaAdam Rogers” (Josh Duhamel's) sister, who is someone outside the entertainment business.  

She works as a pediatric nurse and values life, but she is a former addict and understands the cost of overcoming challenges. She really loves her brother because he is all that she has after their parents passed away. She sees him going down on a path that she doesn’t understand and it doesn’t make any sense to her.  She tries to bring him into the world that makes sense.

Yenis Monterrey.- Is the film “This is Your Death” bringing a message to the celebrity world?  How can celebrities impact our world?

Sarah Wayne Callies.- This film brings a message to the world of celebrities, but the message is direct to everyone who isn’t necessarily a celebrity.  If we elevate celebrities to the point where just being a celebrity is the greatest thing you can achieve, we miss some of the greatest things one can achieve as a celebrity, like taking care of your community, protecting your environment, being a responsible citizen, and living a life of love and compassion.  It’s a movie that warns against the hunger for fame at all cost. The questions that we have as a celebrities are, “What do you stand for?  What do you use your voice to say?”  If you use your voice just to say, "look at me," maybe you aren’t contributing to something useful.

Interview with “Josh Duhamel” as Adam Rogers

Yenis Monterrey.- The world of Reality TV could be very disturbing and at the same time by watching those shows we discover a certain type of personalities who are drawn into it for the power and money; they don’t care about the message they are delivering to our society.  The saddest part is the people who view shows about reality television for entertainment sometimes follow them as role models for our moms, fathers, and kids. Is this film revealing the real issues of reality TV?

Josh Duhamel.- The movie is about fame, celebrity mind power, and what people would do to get it. It is about how we become desensitized to things we consume, on our phones, TV, or even movies.  This movie is a reality show that is meant to shock people into thinking about how people get desensitized.  We don’t think about what we are watching or what our kids watch and in the end, we become part of the whole thing.  Money, fame, and power are very attractive things that everyone wants and what they will do to get it isn't always the best for everyone.

I wanted to do this role as an actor because it actually delivers a message and has something to say. As an actor, I feel part of the whole thing too. As an actor I have a lot of ideas about the stuff that is on TV, and especially now that I have a child, it makes me think about this even more.  It’s a little disturbing to think that some of the stuff put on TV could be so graphic and actually has some influence on generations of kids, there are so many things on TV that aren’t helping us as a society. The film has a dark and satirical tone about reality TV.

Interview with Giancarlo Esposito as Mason Washington.

Yenis Monterrey.- Esposito, you are well known for numerous films and TV series over 100 credits, especially from the “Breaking Bad,” TV Series.  The world is changing rapidly with growing technology, we consume media on our phones or TV.  We feel that have the world in front of our eyes. You directed, produced and acted in “This is Your Death.”  What’s your input about the programs on television nowadays and how can we impact our world with meaningful content?

Giancarlo Esposito.- Yes, I’m the director of the film and played the character of Mazon Washington. The film is very meaningful to me as a director and as an actor, because we are in the golden age of television right now and things are changing because we have one of the best stories on cable television right now, it’s really moving in the right direction. Reality TV is cheap and also interesting because we like to watch it.  One of the shows that inspired me was the show called “Network” and one of the famous lines of that movie was “I’m mad as hell, and I don’t want to take it anymore.” People today are mad and don’t want to take it anymore, what do they do?  For example, people fall asleep a little bit, in the last 6 or 8 months with our political background about what’s going on in the world, but now we are all pissed up and are waking up to our political reality.

This film in linked about what I said before, we can go in a lot of different directions. We can go in a way as looking at ourselves as ego and vulnerable to excitement and chaos, or we can go on a way that allows us to go like saying, “You know what?  I want to be moved by great storytelling, I want to laugh, I want to cry and I want to have fun, but I want a real story." We don’t want fabricated stories anymore. I grew up like many people inside a dysfunctional family and I have seen all of that, and now I have to watch TV and see it.  I say, "Oh! I have said that, or I have acted like that!"  There is a place for everything, but things have their time and they move to their cycle. I’m also allowing the people who watch this film to have fun, but also to look where we are at in our world.  I know it’s a big point of view, but hopefully, with this film, we help a piece of the world wake up.

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