VOD Spotlight on Emory Cohen and Callan McAuliffe (BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY)April 23, 2014

VOD Spotlight on Emory Cohen and Callan McAuliffe (BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY)


Casper (Emory Cohen, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES) and Dominic (Callan McAuliffe, THE GREAT GATSBY) have been fiercely loyal friends since childhood. Desperate for a way out of their quiet town on the Maine-Canada border, the boys make a pact to pool their earnings on a car and hit the road. But when Casper is drawn into drug smuggling with his outlaw father (Aidan Gillen, "The Wire," "Game of Thrones") to pay his share, their friendship is pushed to the brink and adult choices forced on them all too soon. A standout narrative debut from Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly (THE WAY WE GET BY), BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set against an authentic portrait of small-town American life.

A moving story like BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY deserves talented actors to bring its complex and authentic characters to life. Luckily Gaudet and Pullapilly found Emory Cohen and Callan McAuliffe, both of whom delivered amazing performances as the film’s main characters. I had the pleasure of interviewing the actors who shared their experiences on set and then some.


VOD Spotlight on Emory Cohen and Callan McAuliffe (BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY) 


On Demand Weekly (ODW): The filmmakers, Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, described this film as sort of their transition into fiction film from a documentary background. Would you say you noticed any differences in the way they worked toward authenticity compared to filmmakers who work purely in fiction?

Callan McAuliffe, Dominic (CM): I can’t tell if it was because of their background or if it was the nature of the film or if it was just generally a very different experience for me in terms of filmmaking, but it was a very unique process. That may come from that background, but I’ve never worked with documentary filmmakers before so I have no experience with that, but it was certainly a very different experience. 


Callan McAuliffe


ODW: I know they did extensive research on the area and the people living there, and a lot of the movie was based on the true stories they were told, how did this affect your preparation for the part?
Emory Cohen, Casper (EC):
We were up there for 3 weeks before we started shooting and we met some people who had done [the harvest] and they let us put that into the script too and sometimes we just threw the script away and improvised.


Emory Cohen


ODW: Which scene was the most memorable to shoot?
The scene that will stick with me for the rest of my life is the moose safari scene, just because it was such a wild ride literally and figuratively to shoot and I’ve never done anything of that kind before for a film - and there’s good reason for that (laughs). But it was an extraordinary experience and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life. Just chasing a moose down a road in the back of a flatbed truck, screaming and hollering in the middle of nowhere, it was wonderful.


ODW: You actually went out and chased a wild moose for that shot, is that right?

CM: Yep, we spent a few nights going out in the middle of the night into these massive cornfields and plantations. We went through the forest and along dirt roads and we went searching for a moose and we’d always find one but it would always be too far away or it would not be in a good position and then a couple of nights in a row we found one on the road and we managed to chase him down. Of course no “meese” were harmed.


ODW: Did either of you have difficulty relating to your characters’ very specific small town mindset or were you able to easily understand where they were coming from?
: I think that in terms of the more general human themes that they were going through, that was something that was more universal, but that had to be filtered through this environment and a certain way of thinking and point of view on life and that was what being up in the county was all about.


ODW: Did you eat any blue potatoes while you were there?
Callan was turning his tongue blue, so he went to town. That and jolly ranchers are his jam.


ODW: Are they good?
They are, they’re very nice.


EC: And they’re blue!


ODW: Do you guys watch a lot of On Demand when you’re traveling or on a break?

EC: I do 


CM: Oh yeah on flights because I’m essentially in prison (laughs). I watch a lot of on demand films. That’s actually how I do a lot of my acting research and how I’ve seen most of the films that I talk about is because I spend so much time on planes and so on demand becomes my best friend I would say.


EC: I love seeing movies in the theater and everybody loves having the movies in the theater and that is its own experience but on demand and online options make films more accessible and there have been many films that I’ve seen on demand that I had no idea were even playing and I was able to watch them.


ODW: Do you watch a lot more movies than TV shows than or do you find yourself binging on series too?
 "True Detective" and "The Newsroom"!


CM: "Game of Thrones" and "Breaking Bad"!


"Game of Thrones" Aidan Gillen in BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY (Tribeca Film)


ODW: Are those your favorite shows right now?
I definitely binge on "Game of Thrones" when I can if I’ve missed a few episodes.


EC: Alright I’ll put it down… I love MTV’s "The Challenge", with the "Real World" and "Road Rules" contestants.


CM: I’ve never seen it.


EC: You’ve never seen it! It’s the 25th season… they have 25 seasons of this madness.


ODW: 25 seasons? You’ve watched all of them?
I don’t think I’ve watched all of them, but I’ve watched a lot of them.


ODW: What’s next for 2014 any big plans?
I’m getting into porn I think.


ODW: Wait, is that a real answer? (laughing in background)
No, no... I’m potentially going on to a movie called SKATEBOARDING WITH SADDAM later in the year that shoots in Tel Aviv so that should be really exciting.


EC: I’m shooting a film called BROOKLYN in a week and then I have a film called STEALING CARS that’s in the edit and a film called THE GAMBLER that’s in the edit and then we’ll see what happens, huh?


ODW: BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY is a coming of age film, what do you want young people to take from it?
I want young people to walk out having enjoyed themselves and with a smile on their faces.


EC: I think there’s a lot of dignity in freedom and rebellion and I wouldn’t have a problem if some of them wanted to go out and have a good time you know, and be young and be wild and make mistakes 




Sabrina Luppi


Sabrina Luppi is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. She is currently a film and marketing student at San Francisco State University, and recently completed a content programming internship at Intel. Sabrina is an aspiring actress, writer and filmmaker and her favorite genre is horror. Follow her on Twitter @sabzy_


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