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Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
Filmmaker Aaron Katz has been making movies for 10 years in the independent space. He lived in New York for most of that time, cranking out projects like “Quiet City” and “Cold Weather” before the award-winning “Land Ho!” opened even more doors. His latest film is “Gemini,” a stylish, Hollywood-set neo-noir that, for Katz, was partly a way of wrangling with a love-hate relationship with the City of Angels.
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Reasons - Movie - Feelings - Sort - Live
“One of the reasons to make this movie is to confront my conflicted feelings about it and sort of live in the tradition of movies and books that both celebrate and have a lot of trepidation about Hollywood,” he says. “But I think it’s much more in the tradition of Budd Schulberg’s ‘What Makes Sammy Run,’ which is very cynical about Hollywood but also very loving towards it as well.”
In establishing the look of the film, Katz and his cinematographer, Andrew Wood, were inspired by the unusual nighttime color palette of Los Angeles. But they didn’t shy away from immersing themselves in movies to help set the mood before launching into production.
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Playback: Jason Clarke on 'Chappaquiddick' and Damien Chazelle's 'First Man'
“I really think of ‘Body Heat’ and ‘American Gigolo’ as kicking off a new era, a new style of thriller,” Katz says of some of the movie’s inspirations. “You look at stuff from the late-’70s and it has a really different vibe. We were just watching a ton of those movies. ‘Blow Out’ is another one. A lot of those movies have a very glossy aesthetic, so we wanted to have fun with that....
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