Today, the new action crime thriller Ca$h opens in a limited market. The movie stars Sean Bean (Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief), who recently signed on to star in the Death Race prequel, and Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Red Dawn); it was written and directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson (South Central). I had a chance recently to talk with Anderson regarding his thoughts on Ca$h, the lead actors and his upcoming projects.
A stroke of good luck turns lethal for Sam Phelan and his wife Leslie when they are faced with a life-changing decision that brings strange and sinister Pyke Kubic to their doorstep. As Pyke leads Sam and Leslie on a tumultuous adventure through the streets of Chicago, each are pulled deeper and deeper into a desperate spiral of deception and violence… All in the name of money.
SR: What did you think of Sean Bean’s and Chris Hemsworth’s performance in Cash?
SMA: I’ll tell you what, Chris Hemsworth and Sean Bean together are really phenomenal. I was thoroughly impressed and I loved working with both of those guys. They are very, very good and together they are really dynamic, ‘cause they are both really good looking men, they are both very good actors. Sean Bean is a brilliant actor in my opinion.
SR: And Bean’s been around for awhile.
SMA: Yeah he’s been around for awhile and I tell you, I think he’s about to break through. It’s like for a long time you didn’t know the name Anthony Hopkins, you knew the face and you’d see him in these movies and think “Man this guy’s good”. But then there was one movie that came along, I think it was “Silence of the Lambs” that made him a name along with the face and I think Sean Bean is right there. A lot of people know what he looks like and know who he is from the various movies he’s been in. He’s really a good actor, every role he plays is really brilliant. I think the day is going to come soon, maybe it’s this movie he’s releasing Lightning, maybe it’s our movie Cash. I would love to have that happen.
He plays a great bad guy don’t you think?
SR: Yeah, he’s able to take the bad guy role and give him some heart so that you actually care about him. As opposed to just absolutely hate him. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do playing the same character two different ways.
SMA: In this movie he’s not just a bad guy. You have a really hard figuring out if you should like this guy or dislike this guy because we portray him as up-straight, honest and he has a code. His code happens to be outside the law but it’s a very fine line whether he’s bad guy or just a guy. I just couldn’t be happier with the performance he turned in.
SR: This was Chris’ [Hemsworth] first American movie was it not?
SMA: Yeah, he had been in the United States exactly 6 weeks when we found and cast him.
SR: With a seasoned veteran like Bean and a new guy like Hemsworth working together, was there a lot of Sean helping Chris or was he able to walk on set and hold his own?
SMA: I’ll tell you something interesting about that. Chris is a young man and is no were near as accomplished as Sean Bean just strictly from the number of years they’ve been on the planet. However, Chris was an accomplished actor, he has a lot of experience in television, I don’t think he had done any film. What he did do, when he started working with Sean, I watched him pay strict attention during the course of the shoot and watched Chris Hemsworth learn an amazing amount of stuff from Sean Bean. I’m very impressed with that young man.
SR: Chris has become one of the hotter stars in Hollywood right now, being attached to many upcoming projects and it sounds like you got to be the first person to really work with him and help him adjust.
I like the big blockbusters, but you can find some real gems in the indie world if you are really looking hard. Unfortunately, people have to look too hard to find them. With Cash for instance, we put it [a story] on the Screen Rant and no one comments, “This doesn’t sound good I don’t want to watch it”; it’s “That sounds great; when’s it coming out?” People are tired of the remakes, the reboots and their tired of the movies based on video, board, and card games and toys. They want somebody to write a good story put it out there and let it stand on its own. What are your thoughts?
SMA: I agree! If your’e not thirteen years old, you’re discerning about what you want to see. I really miss seeing good movies. Oliver Stone has a new movie out now that I’m going to see, but I miss good film makers. Most of the film makers today are just doing superhero things or it’s just bland. Most of the screenplays are so similar, almost like they are just churned out.
SR: You wrote Cash; where did the idea for the story come from?
SMA: I’m a student of human nature and when I wrote this script I wanted to examine certain facets of the human condition. The biggest thing I see today are that most men are cowards so I wanted to examine that. Women are attracted to the bad asses; they want to hang and bang with the motorcycle riders but they don’t want to marry them. So I wanted to examine that and then there’s this thing about money. Money is never seen except at point of exchange; it’s this mystery and it changes people. If I left an expensive bracelet on a restaurant table, I would have a reasonable assumption that it would be returned to me. But if I were to leave the same amount of cash on the table, forget it because it’s gone.
Those are sub-themes; the main theme of the movie is based off an experiment that Stanley Milgrim did at Yale University. He brought test subjects in and had actors in lab coats tell them to push a button. Each time they did, it would shock the person on the other side of the table. Now the person wouldn’t be hurt because they were just acting but the test subject didn’t know that; still, no matter how much the person yelled and screamed in pain, the subject would continue to push the button because a doctor would tell them to. He proved that anyone is capable of terrible things; all we need is the right authority figure.
SR: Your last film came out in 1997 and Cash comes out in 2010, which is getting close to being James Cameron-ish in terms of time between films. Do you think this could be your Avatar? That is, will Cash be better and more popular than your last film?
SMA: No I don’t think so. I will tell you truthfully that the next film that we have on the board is called “A Man, a Midget and a Deck of Cards”.
SR: [laughing] I’m there based on the title.
SMA: That film is going to be my Avatar. Oliver Stone told me that every filmmaker has one [good] movie in them. He [Stone] won his Oscar for Platoon but he will tell his “movie” , from his own lips, was JFK. I think James Cameron’s “movie” is Titanic and Avatar was an afterthought, although I loved Avatar and James Cameron.
SR: Have you already written A Man, a Midget and a Deck of Cards, if so are you already in pre-production?
SMA: Yeah we are in pre-production. I wrote it as a novel and it’s a no-limit poker story, which I played for a long time and it’s an amazing game. I wrote several scripts for it but poker is like baseball; it’s very cerebral. You have to play it to understand it. After I got the screen play the way I wanted it, I sent it to a few people and Naveen [Chathappuram] loves it, so that’s our next project.
SR: Great I’m looking forward to seeing it and I can’t wait for Cash.
I spoke to Anderson for over an hour and there was a lot of information exchanged that I just couldn’t squeeze in here. Anderson was a very cool guy to talk to and has a lot of great ideas regarding cinema, story lines, actors and directors. I’ll be waiting for his next film A Man, A Midget and a Deck of Cards to hit theaters in the future. Word has it that he would like to Chris Hemsworth play the leading role in that film as well and by then he’ll be a bankable leading star.
Ca$h opens in four cities March 26th, 2010 with a wider release April 2nd 2010.
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Ca$h Premiere photos courtesy of Amna Siddiqui Photography