Interview with actor Jack Hyde

Jack Hyde is a 23-year old British actor who has been acting for 17 years and has worked in numerous films, music videos, commercials and theatre productions across Singapore. His passion for the craft started when he first attended Centre Stage School of the Arts for 11 years and would later enrol in a 3-year Diploma Course in Performance at LASALLE College of the Arts. Aside from acting, he is also an emerging writer, filmmaker and producer and is eager to create his own works after he made the recently popular and acclaimed short film, Monstrosity. While he currently resides and works in Singapore, his main goal is to get prepared for the industry in Los Angeles/London, where he can truly establish himself as an actor and filmmaker and utilise his potential on a more professional standard.

Why did you choose to make a Neo-noir psychological thriller?

As an avid film buff, I love watching films that are based on believable dramatically structured situations and have interesting and relevant character personalities, convincing relationships, clear intentions/goals and a dark and edgy tone that resonates throughout the structure of the story. Those are the key elements that I seek for in a really good drama film. As chilling as it may sound, those were the kind of films I adored and wanted to be a part of. That’s exactly what I was leaning towards and trying to get during the pre-production phase of Monstrosity. Before I wrote the first draft of the script for Monstrosity, James Rowlins, the director of the film, asked me what were my favourite film genres. In which, I said that I was willing to go with the psychological neo-noir thriller route with this film. He happily obliged to go on this journey with me and we adopted all the themes we could accommodate from thriller/suspense films to really build this film up.

Which character(s) inspired you the most?

I will have to say Jason Summers (played by yours truly). The character itself is a modernised and film adapted version of Rodion Raskolnikov, a character from the Russian novel, Crime and Punishment. In the book, Raskolnikov kills an old female pawnbroker, who is an evil person. That’s how James and I got this influential idea from when constructing the personality of Jason and the traumatic incident that he commits. From my perspective, I envisioned Jason as this person who has a great education in criminology and perfect relationship with his girlfriend. However, at the same time, it’s his naivety about what goes on in a criminal’s mind and life that psychologically drives him to find answers. When he comes across Crime and Punishment, which serves as the motivation/starting point to the murder, he then realises that in order to know more about a criminal both inside and outside, he has to become one himself. After he becomes inspired and commits the murder, he goes into this downward spiral to the point where he loses his sanity and takes his lover’s life away. To have Jason transcend from being this kindhearted and curious individual to a murderous lunatic who has no control over his inner demons was both interesting and frightening to see. That’s what I really liked about Jason. It was that one particular moment/trigger that sets him off.

When did you begin the conceptualization of this film? How long did you take to make it?

This is actually a funny story. It all started back in February last year when I auditioned for James’ film, Double Take. Unfortunately, I didn’t get selected for the role because I looked too young. But James was really impressed with my performance at the audition and asked if I was interested in working with him…that’s how it all kicked off. That’s how the production of Monstrosity started. Crazy, right? Because this was the first time I created a film that I could call my own, I didn’t want to rush through it and just take it nice and easy during the process. So, after we were hooked into the criminology story, from February to October, we worked on the drafting and completion of the script, the locations, the casting (which we did in the last week of September) and the rehearsals (in which, James worked on the placement of camera angles) until we officially started shooting during the last week of October.

What were the challenging aspects of making this film?

I would have to say it was mainly the finalisation of the script, deciding which locations to use and not use and which of the crewmembers were available for which shoot dates. We had a team of first-time filmmakers and a small production budget of $5000 that we had to use for the filming duration. It was a film where we had to work with whatever tools we were provided with and make every minute, hour and day of it count. I was planning to get both the script and locations organised and prepared before we started the auditions. That way, I could spend more time rehearsing with the selected cast at the actual locations right after the casting. As for the crewmembers, due to other commitments they had going on, it was really hard to make sure that everything moved smoothly when only a few of them were available. We needed all the help and support we could get from the crew to make sure this film was all that it could be. During the writing process, I was interested to hear what the team thought about it since most of them were more experienced in screenwriting than I was. I kept myself open to all contributions they had to offer regarding the plot, direction and motive of the film. I wanted this film to be not just mine, but also everybody else who was involved in it. If anyone had any suggestions or ideas, I would listen to what they had to say. I didn’t want to take creative liberty and control over everyone in both the cast and crew. I wanted everyone to have a say.

How do you personally feel about receiving so many film awards for this production?

I have to say I am extremely proud of everyone both cast and crew that was involved in this masterpiece. Ever since January, I’ve been walking on Cloud 9. It’s just a wonderful sensational feeling to have my first ever produced short film to be accepted by numerous festivals and being awarded for all the hard work that my team and I put into this film. With the amount of awards and recognition the film has garnered and the well-received public appraisal, I definitely see this as a new chapter, a new beginning and a new step in my career. I definitely want to keep on creating my own works not just as an actor, but also as a filmmaker and writer. I want to keep this momentum going in the near future.

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