Smithfield actor Jean-Pierre Yerma has a new film, You're Not Thinking Straight, to watch out for. He tells us about making it.
I LOVED making this film. It was written, co-produced and directed by Luke Sullivan, 20, and is an honest portrait of what it means to be young, lonely and clamouring for love in a disconnected world.
Luke is passionate about drawing from his experience of being young and he crafts relatable and authentic portraits of youth. It’s his first feature film.
The performances are solid and gut-wrenching. The film is very heavy and a very disturbing piece of Australian storytelling . . . with very little light at the end of the tunnel.
I play Bill, a dark, eerie underworld figure with a twisted mind. To bring this character to life I had to plan and prepare so he was believable and so I could deliver the truth. Being emotionally charged was the key to draw in the audience, especially in the tense moments.
I thought about some of the heavy people I’d come across in my youth while visiting Kings Cross and other parts of Sydney as well as America where I visited some no-go zones.
I also researched and studied some dark figures of the underworld – gangsters, mob bosses – to create the character of Bill.
Jean-Pierre Yerma as Elly’s pimp is weapons-grade mindfrag material, utterly unnerving.Cinema Australia
When creating a character you really need to become an investigator like Sherlock Holmes. You need to build this person from the ground up, identifying who he really is, what his upbringing was like, was he married, did he divorce, was he abused as a child, did he come from a broken home, what’s his current state of mind, who are his idols, which historic figures he identifies with, his dislikes, his motto, how he’d like to die, which words or phrases he uses most, what he dislikes about his appearance, his heroes. That’s where I start.
These are some of the techniques, tools and skills I took away from NIDA to help me deliver emotion in my performances, be believable and truthful.
And that's where it stays – with the character for the film only.
I love challenges and trying new things as an actor and pushing boundaries. This project definitely gave me the chance to do that.
Having said that I also love comedy and my work can often combine elements of improvised and comic routines which is meaningful and stimulating.
Here’s a link (warning: bad language) to a teaser for You’re Not Thinking Straight which will give you a brief look into the character of Bill.
- The film will be on OzFlix.
- Release on iTunes and Amazon is under negotiation for next year.
Cinema Australia said in its review: “Eerie, atmospheric and often unsettling. A bold and daring debut for director Luke Sullivan. Think Leaving Las Vagas with the genders of the two leads reversed. The entire film is eerie, atmospheric and often unsettling. The performances from the two leads are solid. It’s a very heavy and very disturbing piece of Australian storytelling. Oh, and Jean-Pierre Yerma as Elly’s pimp is weapons-grade mindfrag material, at once somewhat humourous and utterly unnerving.”