Tuesday 30 March 2021

Interview with Lili Matta - Director of 86 MELROSE AVENUE

From writer/director Lili Matta, and starring Dada Elza ("Mystery Incorporated") and Jim O'Heir ("Parks and Recreation"), action has a new address : 86 MELROSE AVENUE.

A diverse group of people at a gallery opening is taken hostage by an ex-Marine suffering with PTSD and forced to confront their cultural differences, their pasts, and their looming mortality as time ticks away.

Anastasia Antonia, Gregory Zarian, Terri Ivens, Langstone Fishburne, Michael Polak, Andy Evans, Richard Sabine, Helen Kennedy, and Gary Sturm star in a film by Lili Matta.

86 Melrose Avenue is an action-thriller with a message. Was that the appeal to you, to do a genre film that had more to say than usual?

I wanted to tell a story that had people from different walks of life intersect during a fateful night.  86 MELROSE AVENUE is an action/thriller/drama that addresses several themes: the antipathy of the other, the vagaries of the human condition and the insidiousness of mental illness (PTSD)

And what was the primary appeal for you?

The fact that it was a character-driven narrative, where interpersonal drama unfolds during a fateful night in Los Angeles. I wanted to address major themes that are current in today's political-social climate, as well as being very relevant to a world filled with misperceptions, xenophobia, violence and miscommunication.

Where did you shoot?

I shot it in California, mainly in Los Angeles.

Had you worked with the cast before?

I had worked with Gregory Zarian before. He is such a versatile actor and a great human being!

Did they find any of the scenes difficult to film?

It's a question you need to ask my cast.    But I think, undoubtedly, it is difficult to be confined in the same environment —the art gallery where 70% of the film takes place—and have to go through an intense emotional and psychological narrative.

We all know Jim O'Heir from his comedic work. Can you talk about the role he plays here?

Jim is a fabulous actor and so fun to work with! He plays the witty, yet no BS Detective Phillips. You have to watch him! He is so brilliant!

86 MELROSE AVENUE is on digital April 20.