People often do whatever it takes to stand out and be remembered, both in their professional and personal lives. That’s certainly the case with the lead character, Scat, in the new independent romance-comedy-drama, ‘Syrup,’ which is now available on iTunes and On Demand, and will open in select theaters on June 7. The movie is based on the 1999 debut novel of the same name by Max Berry, who co-wrote the script with director Aram Rappaport. Like the book, the movie, which stars Shiloh Fernandez and Kellan Lutz, satirizes the extreme lengths people will go to in order to impress their boss in the advertising world, but also the people they unexpectedly fall in love with.
‘Syrup’ chronicles the cut-throat world of advertising through the eyes of a young prodigy chasing fame, fortune and the woman of his dreams. After just finishing his degree in marketing, Scat (Fernandez) will do anything to prove he has what it takes to make it in the advertising world. He comes up with a new product that he’s sure will send him straight to the top, if he can convince his boos, the mysterious “6” (Amber Heard), that it’s an idea worth millions.
After being betrayed by his best friend “Sneaky Pete” (Lutz), Scat stumbles through an industry riddled with deception. Scat realizes that fame and fortune have cost him everything, so he must rediscover his true self behind the elaborate image he has created, or risk losing the love of his life.
Lutz generously took the time recently to talk about shooting ‘Syrup.’ Among other things, the actor discussed how being a fan of the novel convinced him to take on the role of Sneaky Pete, which was offered to him by director Aram Rappaport; how there’s a strong element of truth in the romance-comedy-drama, in the sense that modern society has an obsession with materialism and celebrities; and how he thinks VOD is the wave of the future, especially for indie films, as it’s faster and easier for audiences to obtain movies directly from home.
ShockYa (SY): In ‘Syrup,’ you portray Sneaky Pete, the antagonist and boss of the film’s protagonist, scat. What was it about the character and the story overall that convinced you to take on the role?
Kellan Lutz (KL): I’m a huge fan of the book! I loved that Sneaky Pete was this evil mastermind, but never really showed much of what was going on in his head.
SY: How did you become involved in the project-did you have to audition for the role of Sneaky Pete, or did the film’s director, Aram Rappaport, approach you with the role?
KL: I met with Aram and the producer after my manager sent me the script, and I fell in love with it. Thankfully I didn’t have to audition for this one because it would of been a lot of face acting. They knew my work and believed I could be Sneaky Pete.
SY: Shiloh Fernandez plays scat in the film, who your character ultimately betrays in the business world. What was the process of working with Shiloh like while you were shooting the movie?
KL: Shiloh is great to work with, as he really dives deep into character. He asks a lot of questions while on set that helps bring everything together.
SY: You reunited with your ‘Prom Night’ co-star, Brittany Snow, for ‘Syrup.’ What was it like working with her again, particularly since ‘Prom Night’s a horror film and ‘Syrup’ is a satirical comedy-drama?
KL: I love Brittany; we’ve been friends for years and have mutual friends. She’s a sweetheart and we had a blast together again. The set of ‘Syrup’ had a little more stress, as we were a small indie shooting in expensive New York City, where as ‘Prom Night’ was a big budget studio horror film.
SY: ‘Syrup’ is based on the best-selling 1999 book of the same name by Max Barry. Were you familiar with the novel at all before you signed onto to star in the movie, and did you reference it all while you were shooting?
KL: I was familiar with it and love it. Yes, like ‘Twilight,’ I read the book and fully digested it when coming up with my character of Sneaky Pete.
SY: Aram and Max co-wrote the screenplay for the film together. What were your working relationships with both Aram and Max like while you were filming the movie? Did you develop your character with them before you began shooting?
KL: They trusted me to develop this character on my own. Other than a few notes and suggestions by Aram, they pretty much gave me free reign to make him my own.
SY: Since Aram both co-wrote and directed the film, do you generally prefer working with directors who also wrote the script for the movies you star in?
KL: I don’t think it matters if the director wrote the film or not, as long as he has passion and vision for where it’s going.
SY: ‘Syrup’ is a satirical film that mocks marketing and consumerism. While the film is a parody, do you feel the story is an accurate description of modern society’s obsession with materialism?
KL: I definitely feel there is a strong element of truth in ‘Syrup’ that strikes a chord with anyone who watches it. Modern society not only has an obsession with materialism, but also celebrity and name brands in general. Myself included, we’re all guilty of this to some degree.
SY: ‘Syrup’ is an independent film that’s set to be released by magnolia pictures. Did having a low budget influence the way the movie could be shot? Do you prefer working on independent films over larger studio movies, or vice versa?
KL: Good question. Obviously the trailers are bigger and the food on set is more expensive on big budget movies. But I’ve had great experiences on both low and high budge movies. It all comes from the top down. If the director has vision and is in charge, everything else kind of comes together, the budget is secondary. I’ve had some better experiences with great directors on low budget movies than on high budge movies, with directors who were phoning it in. It’s all relative.
SY: Magnolia is set to release ‘Syrup’ in theaters and on VOD. Are you a supporter of VOD releases overall, and particularly for independent films? Do you think the VOD release will help make the film appeal to more audiences?
KL: I love VOD and think it’s the wave of the future, especially for indie films. Brittany’s film ‘Pitch Perfect’ was just given the greenlight for a sequel, and it made most of its money through VOD. VOD will do for films what iTunes did for music. It’s faster and easier, and you can access directly from your home.
SY: Do you have any upcoming projects lined up that you can discuss?
KL: I’m really excited about some of the films that I’m producing that I have in development, but I can’t talk about any of them yet. I’m also working on some fitness products. That’s a real passion for me, and hopefully those will debut in 2014. Of course, I’m shooting ‘Hercules’ for Millennium with my favorite, Renny Harlin, directing. I’m super excited for the opportunity!
Written by: Karen Benardello