Writer/Director/Actor Adrian Tofei gives us the scoop on past influences, film methodology, and what's to come.
After viewing Be My Cat: A Film for Anne, I knew we had another mission: get a glimpse inside the mind of Adrian Tofei, who wrote, directed, and everything else’d this movie. We were beyond appreciative when he afforded us that opportunity. We recently had a few minutes to lock him down during his busy festival and film touring schedule to learn a little more about his roots, his influences, and what’s to come in the future…
RB: Where did your inspiration for Be My Cat come from?
AT: The initial source of inspiration was a one-man-show I did in 2012 called "The Monster". I was the actor, I directed it and also wrote it, but inspired by another monologue that I played in college in 2009. The success of "The Monster" made me realize that I definitely need to adapt it into a movie, since my lifetime passion was film, not theatre. But as the film project evolved, it became an original story, with nothing in common with that one-man-show except for some traits in the psychology of the main character. So my character in Be My Cat evolved over the course of 5 years, starting with that monologue in college, then "The Monster" and then finally the movie.
RB: How long did Be My Cat take to shoot?
AT: 20 days, but backed by almost 2 years of intense day by day preparations.
RB: There definitely seems to be a fine line between what is real and what is happening on camera. Was it difficult going in and out of character while shooting? For you? For the actresses?
AT: Well... just imagine... I am a film director working with the actresses on a movie in which I play a so-called film director working with actresses played by the real actresses, and the so-called film director shoots some scenes in which he plays a guy obsessed with an actress played by the actresses that are played by the real actresses. It sounds discouraging, but as a director I came up with a precise method of work, and then as actors we fully ventured into that psychological labyrinth, knowing that the method will guide our every step! And everything worked!
RB: At what age did you take interest in wanting to make movies?
AT: I believe during high school, after I had the greatest revelation of my live while watching Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the first time!
RB: Romanian horror is quite new to us...can you give us a few of your favorite film titles that helped to influence you to take this journey?
AT: Romanian horror is quite new to everybody. Be My Cat is only the second Romanian horror movie. And some of the international titles that influenced me... there are so many of them... I learned a lot about realism in filmmaking from "The Celebration" (1998), "The Blair Witch Project" (1999), "Exhibit A" (2007), "Zero Day" (2003). I learned a lot about the potential of the horror genre from "Peeping Tom" (1960), "Psycho" (1960), "Carrie" (1976), "Halloween" (1978), "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975), "The Haunting" (1963). And I can say I was also influenced by "Les Miserables" (2012) because of Anne Hathaway's incredible performance that mattered a lot when I had to choose an international star as the object of my character's obsession in the movie.
RB: What can we expect to see from you in the future? Do you have any projects you're currently working on?
AT: I have something in plan. It is really big. It's just a matter of time! Sorry for my lack of modesty, but that's how I am when I feel a huge potential in me to do something meaningful that nobody has ever done before!
Thanks a lot,
---Well there you have it. We were thrilled to watch and review the film, even more thrilled to be able to speak with Adrian about his influences and his methodology, and now we can be impatiently ecstatic knowing there is more on the way from this guy. Keep your eyes glued to Adrian Tofei and reelbloody.com…as we know more, YOU will know more!