Marietta, OH native William Wedig has been making a name for himself in the independent film world over the last few years and while his latest film is hitting shelves and theaters nation wide, Wedig took some time with us to answer a few questions and fill us in on his latest project.
Tell us about your latest film "Forged." What is the basic premise behind the story?
Forged is the story of a man trying to find forgiveness for something completely unforgivable. When we meet Manny Perez's character, Chuco, he's being recently release from prison for manslaughter for the murder of his wife. Almost immediately he's stuck back into the old gang despite his reluctance and his now 13 year old son finds him, muttering "You Killed my mother. Now I'm going to kill you." The central tension lies within that dynamic of a man needing forgiveness, and a boy who needs vengeance, but ultimately needs the man he hates. The ending is really beautiful and makes the whole movie for me.
The film is now available at Blockbusters nation wide, is there anywhere else people can catch the film? Have there been any theaters featuring the film?
We've done 9 cities theatrically through Maya Entertainment and had amazing showings in New york and Los Angeles. On Sept. 27th we'll be in Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon.com, Netflix (don't know about Watch Instantly) and most other major retailers. Look around, I guarantee you'll find it.
I understand Forged has recently won several awards, received a very positive review by The New York Times, and other recognitions, what all does this list of achievements include and how do you feel about the success of your film?
I'm honestly just happy that's it's gotten such a positive response. The team we had on the film is really talented and we worked really hard to make this film. This is the second film that we've done together (the first being Josh Crook's La Soga which is out now) and it shows. We all know how each other works and we've all done enough movies to where we can now just get down to doing some really great work.
I think a lot of people would be curious to know what it's like growing up in such a small town like Marietta, OH and then making the move to New York City to work on films that are seen nation wide and beyond? To most people from the Mid-Ohio Valley that sounds more like a pipe dream than a career path.
I sort always knew I was going to make films so I knew I had to end up on one coast or another. To me the switch really wasn't that hard and I don't really think about it that much. To me it was a logical step and I'm a firm believer you can do whatever your want with you life. There are ways to make it work and ways to get things done. If you try hard enough, and work hard enough then it'll happen. I mean, I owe most nights and weekends of my last few years to this film and sometimes that's what it takes. But I don't mind because I love what I do and I couldn't imagine doing anything else,
Being an independent film maker, is it nerve racking working on these projects with a limited budget and not really having anyone who has your back?
It is and it isn't. It's actually very freeing because you have people who really just want to make a good film and plus you don't have anyone telling you what to do. All creative freedom is left up to the filmmakers and that's very liberating artistically. We're lucky enough to have a great cast and crew that truly wanted to make the best film possible. Things get cloudy and political with more money, but with more money you can do more. So it's pro and cons.
I understand you have worked with lead actor Manny Perez before on an earlier film "La Soga" what is your relationship like with him and what is it like meeting and working closely with new actors for extended periods of time while shooting films?
That's true I've worked with Manny on La Soga very closely but I was post-supervisor on that film so I wasn't on set for it. Over the last few years Manny and I have become great friends and I can't wait to get another movie going with him. One of the most amazing experiences I had was working with Margo Martindale. She's a truly great talent and is just a really great person. It's amazing to meet someone like that since she's been in so many films, and worked so many people from Clint Eastwood to Paul Giamatti and others. She actually just won an Emmy for what she did on Justified and I'm so happy for her because I know how hard she works and just how talented she is. She deserves everything that goes her way.
What was it like shooting a film in a Pennsylvania winter and how does it compare to other locations you have shot at?
It's cold. Bitterly cold. It was 9 degrees the first day we shot and there was 12 inches of snow on the ground for the entire shoot. But ultimately, the locations with no heat and the conditions of some of the places we went to really helped to build the film into something great. You really feel the cold and then ultimately feel for these characters.
I understand you were recently in Chicago to defend another film you had worked on to a group of harsh critiques who were set to tear it apart, how did that go for you?
That was an interesting moment in my career for sure. The event was actually a comdey show with a special screening of the film and hosted by The Onion's AV Club and headlined by a comedian from Chicago named Dan Telfer. I actually found out because I read the AV Club daily and saw them mention my last film, Rise of the Dead, and Dan Telfer has a really funny sketch about seeing that film with his wife. Anyway, I got a hold of Dan and said I'd be interested in coming out for the show. It was actually really fun and while I'm proud of what we did with that movie, ultimately it has it's moments. Some of it is great and is still on my reel now, but some of it, well, let's just say not so much. So it turned out to be really fun and I got to meet some great comedians like Adam Burke and the head editor of the AV Club Keith Phipps.
What advice could you give to younger generations who have their hearts set on making films or acting or other careers people may think are unrealistic?
In order to succeed you have keep doing it and don't be so sure of yourself that you can't learn from other people. Read as many books as you can on the craft and always second guess yourself. The thing is you're not trying to make the best thing in your school or town or city or state. You trying to make the best piece of work period. If you have second thoughts on something, and it doesn't feel right, fix it. And be sure sure to find a great mentor. I was lucky enough to work with Josh and Jeff Crook for the last 10 years or so and I learned a lot from them as we did a lot of movies. I really owe them a lot and for everything they've done and the opportunities I've had because of them. Look us up on IMDB and check out some of our other work. And definitely buy Forged!