Nick Cavalier is an award winning director who has most recently been lauded for his work on 'Forced Perspective', a feature film slated for release internationally in 2016, focuses on the work and creative process of Derek Hess. As an LA transplant we talk about what's to be missed about the midwest...as well as Nick's willingness to be Motorhead's Lemmy for a year (the live version). Please enjoy this version of 9.5 Questions with Nick Cavalier.
1 - You've had plenty of success as a director, but as accolades and awards started rolling in for your documentary on artist Derek Hess, what was that like? Did you know you had something special with Forced Perspective prior to its initial showings?
It's always cool to be recognized by your peers, but it's always a weird feeling because the second you finish any film you find all the little problems with it. I am a huge Derek Hess fan and I made the film I wanted to see as a DH fan, but also as a film fan, so it's really way more fulfilling when people who know nothing about film or Derek Hess come up to me and say they love the film. There was a veteran who loved the film and stood up at the premier QA and said how much Derek inspired him. Moments like that is why we do this stuff.
As far as the second part, I didn't think I was changing the world or anything, but there was a moment when I was about halfway through production where the story clicked and I realized what the film was going to end up being. And that was magical. That night I printed out Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" diagram and started editing.
2 - You're a big fan of metal and have directed videos in that genre. Do you remember a seminal moment that you fell in love with that type of music?
Absolutely. I was sort of a social pariah in middle school. Weird art kid drawing on his notes in class. Withdrawn, bullied. So my friend Brian Buehner (Another outcast) and I went to a store in Cleveland called Disc Den one day and browsed cassette tapes. He turned me onto Master Of Puppets by Metallica and Vulgar Display Of Power by Pantera. We proceeded to eat a whole jar of pickles in his pitch black basement and listened to each album front to back. It awaked my love for metal and eventually, I got into way heavier stuff. Lamb Of God, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and so much more.
3 - As an Ohio native....Johnny football....should he stay or should he go (read to the tune of Should I Stay or Should I Go, by The Clash)?
Honestly I am the worst person to ask. I pay no attention to football at all. I def think people were way hard on him. Cleveland is a brutal sports town with die hard fans that sometimes need to give people a break.
4 - Worst movie 'reboot'?
There are so many. My soul is hurt and I'm slightly insulted by all the remakes. Hollywood tends to monetarily reward inauthenticity way more than originality lately. It's sad and sometimes discouraging from a content creator's perspective.
Off the top of my head, the worst one I can think of is Rob Zombie's Halloween. That's like remaking the Godfather of horror films. Completely unnecessary. He also humanized the boogieman, which defeats the purpose of the film. That day Michael Myers lost all of his supernatural allure. Best reboot is the new Ash VS Evil Dead series. I love it.
5 - Short list of living artists you're really digging right now (any medium)?
Oh man, does Derek Hess count? Well lately I've been turned onto the band Baroness by my friend John Pope (shot Forced Perspective) The album Purple is so good. I really loved Birdman and am now Discovering all of Alejandro's past works.
6 - Outside of directing you're instagram account shows you have a penchant for illustration...is this an area in art you'd like to take further?
Absolutely. I went to art school and the passion for drawing was beaten out of me slowly by the foundation year, but because of the film I am getting into it again. I actually learned a lot by watching Derek work. His commitment to line is inspiring. But yeah, I enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then and sit there and draw. It's relaxing to me.
7 - You can live the life of one of these people for one year of any year of their life. Who and why? A) Evil Kneviel B) Lemmy Kilmeister C) Astronaut Neil Armstrong
Lemmy for sure. I always respected his commitment to his craft and the lifestyle he lived. A true rockstar to the core. I can't even imagine what the tours were like when he was younger. A long time ago I played drums in a shitty metal band and I miss the touring element, live shows etc.
8 - LA must be be stark in contrast to growing up in the midwest....What do you miss about Ohio? What do you love about LA?
It definitely is. I miss the people, the weather and the drink prices in Ohio mostly. I miss having a cocktail and a cigar on my back porch while watching a ferocious thunderstorm. I miss bonfires and winter for like... a week out of the year.
LA is growing on me slowly. I think the coolest thing about being here is the fact that everyone is chasing a dream, and people are adventurous and pretty laid back. Also, for lack of a better description... it's the big leagues out here, so the level and caliber of talent is the best on the country. It's inspiring and it makes me rise to the occasion. I'm a very competitive person.
9 - You can direct a video for any current band/act. Who do you choose?
Metallica. But only If they get their shit together and put out another album like Kill Em' All.
9.5 - If I met George Lucas I would ____________ .
Ask him what the hell he was thinking with Jar Jar Binks....
YOU CAN FIND NICK CAVALIER HERE: