Interview: Tze Chun from "Cold Comes the Night"

Photo Credit: Sasquatch Films
January 10th, 2014

Director Tze Chun is releasing his new film‭ ‬“Cold Comes the Night‭”‬ on January‭ ‬10th in theaters and on VOD.‭ ‬ Audiences across the world will be thrilled to watch this new thriller as Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston plays the role of a near blind criminal named Topo who kidnaps and forces a young mother,‭ ‬played by Alice Eve from Star Trek,‭ ‬into collecting his lost money.‭  ‬Tze was gracious enough to tell us here at Movie Room Reviews about his new film and working with Bryan and Alice.‭

Nick Leyland From Movie Room Reviews:‭ ‬Hi Tze your new movie,‭ "‬Cold Comes the Night‭"‬,‭ ‬comes out on January‭ ‬10th and the title is very fitting for us here in the Midwest.‭


Tze Chun:‭ ‬It opens in about‭ ‬20‭ ‬theaters in I think about‭ ‬12‭ ‬cities.‭ ‬And it opens on VOD at the same time,‭ ‬so it'll be on all the major cable providers,‭ ‬and then‭ ‬I should be able to get it on like iTunes and Amazon Instant at the same time.‭

MRR:‭ ‬So our LA audience and our New York audience should be able to see it in the theaters then,‭ ‬right‭? ‬I'm guessing.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Yeah.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Let's talk about the film a little bit.‭ ‬How would you describe this film for our audience‭?

Tze Chun:‭ ‬I would describe it as a crime thriller.‭ ‬I would describe it as almost like a throwback,‭ ‬early‭ "‬Coen Brothers‭"‬,‭ ‬bag of money thriller.‭ ‬That's how I kinda have been talking about it.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Now that you say that,‭ ‬I totally agree with you on that because I'm a fan of the Coen brothers as are many people,‭ ‬and this does remind me of that.‭ ‬There's two reasons because one,‭ ‬a lot is left to the imagination,‭ ‬I felt like.‭ ‬Like with Bryan Cranston's character,‭ ‬is Topo...‭ ‬Why was he going blind‭? ‬What's his back story‭? ‬He's got this accent and you don't know where he comes from.‭ ‬And also with Alice Eve's character Chloe,‭ ‬how did she get where she is and why‭? ‬Because the story's basically like a‭ ‬24-hour period right‭?

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Mm-hmm.‭ ‬Yeah.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Why did you choose to do it that way‭?

Tze Chun:‭ ‬When you're telling a thriller story,‭ ‬I think it helps to have a compressed timeline.‭ ‬Just so that it's a real pressure cooker.‭ ‬And the fact that we had all‭ ‬the events unfolding in the motel and in the surrounding area,‭ ‬we just wanted it to feel like,‭ ‬from the second that Topo shows up,‭ ‬you know that something bad is going to happen.‭ ‬And just horrible things happen to this woman for the next‭ ‬24‭ ‬hours.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Can you talk about the way that you shot the film because there's no explosions or crazy chase scenes.‭ ‬What did you have to do as a director to keep the audience intrigued‭?

‬Tze Chun:‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬one of the things that we always talked about with all the departments and including talking to the actors...‭ ‬One of the things that I wanted to make sure that we were all doing was making the same movie.‭ ‬And that movie to me,‭ ‬was a movie that was a genre movie,‭ ‬a crime thriller,‭ ‬it never lost its link with reality and was still motivated by the characters‭' ‬decisions.‭ ‬And so,‭ ‬in terms of a scale,‭ ‬we're really focused on those three main characters and the way that they conceive each other or align themselves with each other or back-stab each other.‭ ‬And I think that that's‭ ‬one of the things I love so much about the genre of crime noir or crime thrillers,‭ ‬is a lot of them,‭ ‬you don't necessarily need giant explosions or huge action set pieces.‭ ‬A single bullet can change someone's life forever.‭

MRR:‭ ‬What I found really great about the film is the fact that it was very,‭ ‬very realistic in a lot of ways.‭

Tze Chun: Yeah,‭ ‬we talked a lot about that.‭ ‬When Alice and Bryan and Logan and I talked about,‭ ‬the type of movie we were making,‭ ‬we wanted to make sure that all of their performances were as kind of naturalistic as possible,‭ ‬as gritty as possible.‭ ‬And then we also made a decision to shoot on location and to use the actual location as well as kind of dressed locations in as realistic a way as possible.‭ ‬Cinematography also,‭ ‬a lot‭ ‬of thrillers have a very stylized look,‭ ‬and we wanted to make sure that,‭ ‬yes,‭ ‬this is going to be scary and it's gonna be thrilling,‭ ‬I guess,‭ ‬but we also wanted to make sure that it didn't lose its link with reality.‭ ‬So in terms of the lighting,‭ ‬there is‭ ‬some stylization to it,‭ ‬but we wanted to make sure it was motivated by real world light sources.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬you wrote and directed the film.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬I actually co-wrote it with a couple guys.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬you co-wrote the film‭? ‬That is such a huge part of the film,‭ ‬but another big part of the film,‭ ‬obviously,‭ ‬is the actors,‭ ‬and you've got some good ones.‭ ‬You've got Bryan Cranston who's pretty much on top of his game right now in a lot ways,‭ ‬and this role is similar to the later years of‭ "‬Breaking Bad‭" ‬in‭ ‬a way.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Mm-hmm.‭ ‬When we cast Bryan,‭ ‬I think that it was kind of in the middle of season three of‭ "‬Breaking Bad‭"‬.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬as you know,‭ ‬movies take a little bit of time to get made and to come out.‭ ‬And so at the time actually he was kind of in the middle of that transition between Walter White and Heisenberg.‭ ‬But we had talked about him from the very beginning because we've all been fans of‭ "‬Breaking Bad‭"‬,‭ ‬of him,‭ ‬and of Vince Gilligan,‭ ‬and the writing,‭ ‬and it was the show that my writing partners and‭ ‬I talked about a lot.‭ ‬So,‭ ‬yeah,‭ ‬when he decided to sign on,‭ ‬it sounded like science fiction to us‭; ‬we couldn't believe it was happening.‭


MRR:‭ ‬Do you think he'll ever go back to comedy since he's such an amazing villain‭?

Tze Chun:‭ ‬I don't know.‭ ‬The thing about it is,‭ ‬he's such a serious character in the movie,‭ ‬but on set,‭ ‬he's one of the funniest people I know,‭ ‬and between takes,‭ ‬he would be cracking up the crew in between every single take.‭


Tze Chun:‭ ‬And the funny thing is Bryan‭ ‬can slip back into a character in a heartbeat,‭ ‬but the crew had to kind of like get their s‭&‬%‭* ‬together after he'd been making us laugh for like five minutes that they were setting up the next shot.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Now,‭ ‬the other star of the film,‭ ‬Alice Eve,‭ ‬was a great actress for this role.‭ ‬What made her perfect for this role,‭ ‬and is she as beautiful in real life as she is on the screen‭?


Tze Chun:‭ ‬Our casting director had sent us the video of her from a movie called‭ "‬Crossing Over‭"‬,‭ ‬and in that movie,‭ ‬she plays opposite Ray Liotta,‭ ‬and she holds her own against Ray Liotta.‭ ‬She was young at the time‭; ‬she was maybe‭ ‬23‭ ‬or‭ ‬24.‭ ‬And I just thought,‭ "‬Well,‭ ‬who is this young actress who is tough and really holds her own against a pretty intimidating presence‭?" ‬And,‭ ‬it was really from that that I cast her,‭ ‬and when I saw that,‭ ‬I hadn't realized that she had been the same person even as the woman I had seen in‭ "‬She's Out Of My League‭" ‬which is the other movie that she was famous for at the time.‭ ‬And I think we,‭ ‬in terms of exposure,‭ ‬we kind of lucked out,‭ ‬she then went on to do,‭ ‬after she was attached to our movie,‭ ‬she went on to do‭ "‬Men in Black‭ ‬3‭"‬,‭ ‬and‭ "‬Star Trek Into Darkness‭"‬.‭ ‬But I think for her,‭ ‬what I liked about her is she obviously has an inner strength,‭ ‬and‭ ‬when I talked to her on the phone,‭ ‬she clearly wanted to do something that is not often offered to her because she is so beautiful.‭ ‬And she really wanted to play against type.‭ ‬The character of Chloe is very stripped down compared to the other characters she's played,‭ ‬and I think she was excited about doing that kind of physical transformation.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬And She's incredibly beautiful,‭ ‬yes.‭


Tze Chun:‭ ‬I mean we have to put,‭ ‬you have to put so much makeup on her to make her look bad.‭


MRR:‭ ‬That should be her signature,‭ ‬you gotta put makeup on me to make me look bad.‭ ‬I‭’‬m a big fan of the show Louie and I loved how you cast Ursula Parker as the daughter because she melts my heart every time she comes on camera.‭ ‬Does she not‭?


Tze Chun:‭ ‬She's the best.‭  ‬She's such a weird,‭ ‬funny kid.‭ ‬She's like a little adult.‭ ‬When she's on set,‭ ‬it's very,‭ ‬very funny.‭  ‬She showed up at the audition and I was like,‭ "‬Oh my God,‭ ‬you're that girl from Louie.‭ ‬Will you say‭ "‬Oh,‭ ‬I'm bored.‭" ‬And so I kept on having her say,‭ "‬I'm bored‭" ‬because my favorite scene is when she's driving with Louie upstate,‭ ‬she kept on saying,‭ "‬I'm bored.‭" ‬She's so young,‭ ‬she was like ten years old.‭ ‬She's like,‭ "‬So,‭ ‬is this going to be...‭ ‬I mean do you want me to say the lines on the page or are we going to do more improvisation‭?"‬.‭ ‬I was like,‭ "‬Well,‭ ‬whatever you wanna do Ursula.‭" ‬And then she's like,‭ "‬Great,‭ '‬cause I really love improvisation.‭" ‬She's like a real little,‭ ‬like,‭ ‬little person.‭ ‬She's really adorable.‭


MRR:‭ ‬I think she has a big future ahead of her in my opinion.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Yes.‭ ‬She's really hard working.‭ ‬She's really smart.‭ ‬I mean she's really very smart for her age.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Now,‭ ‬fans of you and your films that you've done in the past,‭ ‬how is this film‭ ‬gonna fit in with your previous work‭?

Tze Chun:‭ ‬It's quite different.‭ ‬I think that there are some themes that run through both‭ "‬Children of Invention‭" ‬and‭ "‬Cold Comes The Night‭"‬.‭ ‬One thing that people have brought up is that both movies are kind of about people who are desperate and who are living in desperate times,‭ ‬and both movies are kind of about a fall-out from a single opportunistic act.‭ ‬But the first movie that I did was a family drama,‭ ‬an indie drama,‭ ‬and this one is obviously a little bit more‭ ‬of a genre movie,‭ ‬and a bigger movie.‭ ‬So I'm hoping that people who liked the first one,‭ ‬will like the second one.‭ ‬The one thing is that both movies are very much character-driven.‭ ‬So hopefully,‭ ‬if you're a fan of that type of thing,‭ ‬you'll like both movies.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Cool.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬the film comes out January‭ ‬10th in theaters and on VOD on the same day.‭ ‬Besides that,‭ ‬what else can we look forward to seeing from you in the future now‭?

‬Tze Chun:‭ ‬I have a couple of other projects with the same producers,‭ ‬and I am,‭ ‬yeah,‭ ‬just plugging away.‭ ‬I just sold a script.‭ ‬And if you look in my IMDb,‭ ‬it's a little confusing.‭ ‬I do TV,‭ ‬and I do writing and directing on the indie side,‭ ‬and I also do writing just by itself without directing.‭ ‬So I'm always trying to work on a few things at once.‭ ‬I think that's the only way to become better at doing what I do.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬congratulations.‭ ‬And our audience is gonna have to go check this out,‭ ‬or stay at home and check it out if they can't check it iout in the theater.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Yeah.‭ ‬That is perfectly fine with me.‭

MRR:‭ ‬Yeah.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬congratulations,‭ ‬and I really enjoyed the film,‭ ‬and I hope it does great things,‭ ‬and good luck to you.‭

Tze Chun:‭ ‬Alright,‭ ‬great.‭ ‬Thank you so much.‭