Zackary Adler [Interview]


Today’s interview subject is a man who I was quite pleasantly surprised to get to know. I knew of Zackary Adler as the man who brought us the delightful indie gem of a film that I once saw on Netflix and decided quickly that it was amazing. That film was the 2006 indie romcom I’m Reed Fish, starring Jay Baruchel and Alex Bledel and a plethora of other brilliant actors. The film is one of the most endearing works of indie art I have ever seen, and thoroughly enjoyed it to a great extent.

But, who exactly is this Zackary Adler? In just a few minutes of research, you may realize that he has a body of work that will definitely surprise you. While one would expect a catalog with the same sort of sensibilities as the likes of a darling little film like I’m Reed Fish, one would be absolutely and entirely wrong! Adler is a filmmaker who has had a career that defies genres and moves in whatever direction he wants in order to tell a compelling tale! He has made waves in the world of Britain’s crime cinema, with the Ray franchise, and pulls no punches (will, a lot of punches are given, actually) in one of his latest releases, Rise of the Foot Soldier 3: The Pat Tate Story.

Yes, Zackary Adler did not quite turn out to be as we thought he would be. He turned out to be even better! He is a versatile filmmaker with so much to share with the world, and we are so damn fortunate that he was willing to share a few words with us today. So Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to share with you all some amazing words from one of today’s finest filmmakers, the great Zackary Adler!

When did you decide that you wanted to join the world of filmmaking? Was it an early passion that you can always remember having? Or was it a later in life discovery?

Oh it was early.  I was maybe thirteen or fourteen.  I had read a script that a family member had written and it was made into a movie and I remember thinking that the script was much better then the film.  I was so disappointed in the movie and it was a pivotal moment for me.

What was the very first gig you can remember having in the film industry? And did that experience help shape who you would become as a filmmaker? 

My first gig was in Camden town working for a music video company.  It made me want to be a director.  It was a small production company that was doing these amazing videos for Sinead O’Conner and U2 and other great bands.  It was the 90’s so it was really fun and hedonistic.  The director would listen to a song and come up with an idea and then we would all work to actualize it.  I was hooked.  Completely hooked on the process of bringing an idea to life on screen.  And then I fell in love with film as an art and as a medium.  I have never done anything else since really.

Your 2006 film I’m Reed Fish is an absolutely wonderful film that I continue to hold at a very high regard. I’m curious as to what the origins of this tale might have been? And how was it decided for the likes of Jay Baruchel to play the titular character?

Thank you! That’s kind of you to say.  There was a real guy named Reed Fish who wrote it as his life story.  Jay Baruchel had done a lot of TV in Canada and he just had done this brilliant turn with a small role in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby and we met via our agents and I immediately loved him for the role.  He was great in it and has gone on from strength to strength.

You’ve had some great success not only in the world of comedy and drama, but also in the action/thriller genres as well. I’m always curious to ask filmmakers this question: What do you find to be the commonality in when shifting from one genre to the other? In your own work, what would you say every good film should have, regardless of its categorization?

I love all genres of film. For me it is mostly about whether or not it’s a good story told in the right way.  Is it authentic? Is it interesting? Entertaining?  Does it look at something in a new way?  These are the things I ask in my own work and when I am watching and exploring the work of others.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

I really don’t know what the future will hold for me.  My twenties were pretty rocky and about ten years ago I made a paradigm shift.  Basically my life had been really crazy and dark and my film work was really light so I decided to flip it… and I did! My life since has been far brighter and my work has been mostly dark and violent.  It’s been brilliant but this last month something happened.  My 9 year old daughter had a heart problem and we spent about a month in hospital. She is totally fine now but she was critical for a while and that experience changed me.  My time with her in the pediatric ICU and the pediatric transplant wing changed me.  The things I saw and heard and felt gave me a new appreciation for courage and love and a newfound awe of our capacity as humans to survive and fight, to meet challenges and to come together.  The old dark to light flip won’t really cut it anymore for me so I need to develop some projects that reflect that creatively.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

Stanley.  Stanley is now how I refer to my wife and my daughter when I am addressing both of them.  As in “I love you Stanley” or “Please be quiet Stanley”.   Stanley always makes me smile…. That and this really fantastic hamster video I saw on Instagram this morning.

Check out this trailer for one of Zackary’s latest films, Rise of the Foot Soldier 3: The Pat Tate Story:

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About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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