From England to Hollywood: Filmmaker Oliver Ridge
Here at the Nerd Out, we love to celebrate the fact that we’re all geeks and nerds. We have our fandoms. We love movies, and comics, and sci-fi, and cosplay. Sometimes, we love to share new things with our fellow nerds, hoping they’ll enjoy the things we already love. As part of that effort, we’ll be interviewing some folks you may have not met before. Today, we’re thankful that filmmaker, comic producer and writer Oliver Ridge is taking the time to chat.
Oliver Ridge, Filmmaker
Nerd Out App: Oliver, thanks for taking some time to answer our questions. You’ve been incredibly busy with projects (which we’ll cover). How are you adjusting to life in Hollywood?
Oliver Ridge: Thank you for having me! Well, in the short time I’ve been here since moving from England, Hollywood has been kind to me. She is a wild city and it’s a crazy industry, it certainly took some adjusting but I’m getting there.
NOA: One of your projects was directing the short film, Bluebird. This is inspired by Charles Bukowski’s poem of the same name. It stars Eric Roberts (Runaway Train, Spanners) and Sonalii Castillo (Reboot). Was there pressure directing an Academy Award nominee as one of your first Hollywood projects?
OR: I won’t lie, there was. And it really hit me the night before. I guess that was the moment when I realized it was really happening. But I was lucky. Eric is a legend in my eyes and he was amazing to work with. He gives such a powerful performance, We were very lucky to get him.
NOA: You produced the feature film, The Neighbor (aka Last Days of Summer). I think William Fichtner is consistently top shelf, all the way back to Armageddon and Strange Days. What was it like working with him?
OR: We’ve seen Bill (William) in so many incredible films and roles but we have never seen him in a role like this. I think you’re going to love it! We were so excited to give him the opportunity to hold an entire film from start to finish and he does it so masterfully. He was just as excited by this prospect and as a result was a dream for any producer. We were dealing with long days and not the biggest budget but you wouldn’t hear him complaining.
NOA: On the flip side, you’ve worked with cast members who aren’t as well known. Do you have a preference on working with industry veterans or newcomers?
OR: My preference is a balance. In filmmaking I often have a battle between my head and my heart, it’s important to respect the financial side of film but to never compromise the art. I could debate this to death but for me I like to blend veterans and newcomers.
NOA: How would you compare or contrast the filmmaking experience of the two projects? You’re working with veterans on both, but the style of each is considerably different. Any lessons learned that you would apply to future films?
OR: I think every project is a lesson. I feel incredibly lucky that my films have had the responses that they have had, but both have things I would do differently.
Oliver Ridge, Comic Author
NOA: Okay, let’s step off the screen and onto the page. Let’s talk Vault Comics. What was it about “Powerless” that made you choose the comic book format?
OR: I’ve wanted to have my name on a comic book since I was a teenager. With Powerless I loved the notion of turning the classic comic book concept completely on its head. In this story, everyone has powers.
NOA: Any upcoming projects you can share with us or are you still on the hunt for new material and ideas?
OR: Our film slate for the next few years is locked starting with Low Country later this year. It’s a revenge thriller and unlike anything I’ve tried before. We are however on the hunt for our next book. Any ideas ? Come find me.
NOA: Thanks for your time. I know our squad looks forward to the projects you have on the way.
Squad, If you want to learn more, Oliver is headed to San Diego Comic-Con looking for the next great comic book idea he can produce. He will be hearing pitches, with Vault Comics publisher Damian Wassel, at the Vault SDCC booth (#1530) on Thursday July 20 from 3pm to 5pm.