Dark secrets are reveled during the final prison visitation between a volatile skinhead convict slated for execution and a not-so-typical priest in writer-director Jason Victor Everett’s short film “Skinhead Requiem” starring veteran actor Tom Noonan.
Best known for his supporting roles in mainstream films such as “Heat,” “Robocop 2,” “Damages” and AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” Noonan gives a memorable and powerful performance as the priest in “Skinhead Requiem.”
Everett, who is biopolar and suffers from manic-depression, wrote the screenplay for “Skinhead Requeim” late one night during a suicidal low point.
“I wrote the priest character for Tom Noonan,” Everett points out. “[Tom’s] an actor I have admired for years; a guy with a powerful and uncanny screen presence. We had exchanged pleasantries online a handful of times, but I didn’t really know him. I sent the script to him the same night I wrote it and he emailed me the next morning and said ‘yes.’ Tom is an amazing person with a million fascinating stories, and he’s just as memorable during lunchtime conversation as he is in front of the camera. He is one of those rare breeds of human being that you just don’t come across very often in life.”
Noonan, who was at the time shooting AMC’s edgy hard-charging Western “Hell on Wheels” in Calgary, Canada flew down to Los Angeles to shoot his scene.
“His schedule was only known to him a few weeks in advance, so we had to work around it and shoot his lines when he would be available,” Everett recalled. “Since it would be such short notice, we only had a day to get his lines, and we only shot his side of the conversation (he was effectively speaking to no one, and we had not even cast the role of the skinhead at that point). Tom flew down one weekend from Canada in the early part of the summer of 2012 and we shot his lines in front of a green screen in a small studio rental in Burbank with a skeleton crew consisting of seven people or so, including talented “CSI: Miami” cinematographer Ken Glassing.”
According to Everett, the priest character in the film utters words spoken by his own father.
“I hated my father when I was young, and still do today, but like the barely-visible remnants of a painted lane divider sandblasted off an old windswept highway, I cannot rid myself of the imprint he left on my mind or life,” Everett stated in his director’s notes.
Everett also designed the film to be “a slow reveal; an unfolding story providing very little in the way of explanation beyond stark visuals.”
“It’s probably more about fathers and sons than it is about racism and capital punishment; how one generation mindlessly follows the actions of the generation before it without asking ‘why,'”Everett added.
To acquire the look of a death row convict for the film, Everett took anabolic steroids to bulk up and spent nine hours having temporary white supremacist tattoos placed on his face and arms. He also converted part of his apartment into a film set in order to capture the jail scene.
“Skinhead Requiem” screened at this year’s Dances With Films Festival in June. It will also screen at the upcoming L.A. Shorts Fest in September.
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SOURCE: Sound & Fury Pictures
Special Thanks to Jason Victor Everett for providing photos for this story.