Interview with Michael Goorjian By Bianca Bagatourian
ILLUSION is a feature length film starring Kirk Douglas and Michael Goorjian. Goorjian wrote, directed, acted and produced the film. Here, he discusses the film in an interview with Bianca Bagatourian from the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance (ADAA). ADAA is hosting a reception and screening of ILLUSION in the Boston area in collaboration with Belmont World Film on Sunday, March 25th.
BIANCA:– Thanks for doing this interview Michael, I know how busy your schedule is. I'd like to discuss your new film Illusion starring Kirk Douglas. How did you get Kirk interested, especially after he had just had a stroke?
MICHAEL: –Actually, he wasn't my first choice. We went to a few other actors originally. But then the idea of Kirk Douglas came up, and at first, like everyone else, we assumed he'd never even consider it. But once he read the script and saw some of the footage which I had already shot, he agreed right away. He was so into the project that we spent over a month rehearsing, which is very unusual, especially on an independent film.
BIANCA:–I heard Kirk say in a phone interview that the script resonated with him. I think he was referring to the father and son story and how that made him think of himself and that perhaps he had been too busy to be a good father as well. That's pretty powerful.
MICHAEL: –Kirk also reflects the ultimate message of the film, that it is never too late to change your ways and make amends.
BIANCA:–Iím not sure if this is correct, but is this really his last film?
MICHAEL: –That what he says. These days he's focused mainly on his writing and the various charitable causes he's involved with. He just published a new memoir, I think itís called Let's Face It: 90 Years of Living, Loving, and Learning and itís a book full of his life stories. I think he sees the film "Illusion" as a good note to end his acting career on.
BIANCA:–I can imagine what a tremendous amount you must have learned in making this film. It must have been an incredible experience...Writing, directing, acting and producing the whole thing. What would you say was the most important thing that you learned on this journey?
MICHAEL: – All honest, hard work pays off in one way or another. This is an undeniable truth.
BIANCA:–How long exactly did this whole process of making the film take? From the moment you conceived it until it was shot and edited?
MICHAEL: –It took over five years. I shot the film in pieces. I'd shoot a portion, then use what I had shot to raise money to do the next section, and so on and so on. All in all, I think in the end there were a total of eight shoots.
BIANCA: –It really is a beautiful looking film visually as well as being very engaging. Was that "look" what you as a director had in mind to create as you were shooting the film?
MICHAEL: –Going with the idea of the Akashic Records, I felt that everyone's records or personal movies would probably all look different since we experience life in so many different ways. So, each period of the son's life was literally done in different genres. We tried to convey that in everything from the style of dialogue, to how it was shot, to the music. We did this also with the father's story.
BIANCA:–Thatís pretty amazing. You know Michael, we are so pleased to have you involved with the Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance. It is really fantastic to have you on board. You mentioned that you recently took a trip to Armenia and how much you enjoyed it. So can we soon expect an Armenian film?
MICHAEL: – There is a film that one day I'd like to make about a particular Armenian. It would be a historic piece, some of which would take place in Armenia
BIANCA: – So you have plans to go back to Armenia?
MICHAEL: –Yes, I in fact I will be on the jury for this years Golden Apricot Film Festival in Yerevan. I can't wait to go back. Yerevan is truly one of the most wonderful cities in the world that I have ever been to.
BIANCA: –Can you share with us what your next project is at this time?
MICHAEL: –I'm writing a script called "Beatrice" which is a mystery/love story that takes place in Mendocino, California.
BIANCA: –And now for the last question, if you could make any film in the world and had millions of dollars. what would you make?
MICHAEL:– That would be the Armenian film I mentioned earlier. I don't have a script yet so that's all I can say about it at this point.
BIANCA: – Thanks Michael, it is always a pleasure....