Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently appeared in the action/thriller film, Redemption Day, which is currently streaming on-demand. For our readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of the film?
Yassine Azzouz: Yes, it is the story of this guy Brad Paxton played by Gary Dourdan. He plays a soldier that suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, married to an academic that is about to visit the ancient human skeletons that were discovered by her archeologist correspondent team in south of Morocco. As soon as she lands and discovers the archeological site, they realize that they are in Algeria and they get kidnapped by Algerian radicals… voila…that’s it! And fun facts, this is inspired by a true story, not only regarding the kidnapping but also concerning the human skeletons.
BD: What can you share with us about your approach to the character of Amir, your creative process in preparing for the role, and your experience in working with the cast and crew?
YA: Amir Jadid is a complex character and hard to pitch without revealing his true nature. He’s part of the archeologist Moroccan team that knows the region well, and he’s assisting Serinda’s character find the human skeleton site. My creative process is simple: I watch a lot of documentaries about that very specific search. I watch how they speak, carry themselves, and how they think of the world. And from there, starting the filming process and wearing the wardrobe, you clearly walk differently and wear the shoes of the characters.
I also talk to my archeologists friends in order to have their point of view of what has been fantasized and what’s real. Then, you have the technical reality in order to find the right space for the interpretation to be illustrated and served by good editing. Many interesting scenes were cut from the original script, but hey - what can you do… I still had the opportunity to share the screen with Andy Garcia and had a scene with Martin Donovan (who can also be seen in Tenet). I was a fan of Prison Break, as well, and had the opportunity to share a scene with Robert Knepper, as well… that was funny… Serinda Swan was a good “Partenaire,” and I was really amazed by Khalil Kharraz's acting talent, and his fighting choreographer skills.
BD: You are also wrapping up post-production on the upcoming TV series, Guru, which will be touring the festival circuit this year. What can viewers anticipate from this new series?
YA: Guru is a baby that is growing well; we created a new upcoming independent TV series that i wrote and directed co-produced, in the vein of Lupin on Netflix. We shot Part one of the first season with 2 episodes shot all around the world with an international cast including: Jimmy Jean-Louis, Denzel Whitaker and again… Gary Dourdan. We shot the second episode in the south of Morocco Ouarzazate, before Redemption Day. We were also lucky to have international actor from Tokyo Kentaro that flew all the way down to Vannes south of France and also from Bollywood, a very promising actress Tina Thadani, as well as talented actors Farid Elouardi, Willy Cartier, Marie Aline Roule, Louis Karim Nebati, and Sophie Meister. We were blessed not only with a talented crew and cast but truly genuine people that are passionate with their craft, This is the most beautiful thing that I have experienced during this journey as a filmmaker.
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
YA: Passion projects are hard to accomplish, and I believe that the best way to see a project collapse is to talk about it too early, but… okay…. You got me… let’s just say that since I delivered Guru, I feel like I can open my craft and keep on telling stories into a variety of ways and platforms. I really love music and that makes me feel very inspired.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Redemption Day and Guru?
YA: Well… Guru is basically the story of this guy… Frank, who has the ability to read and hear woman’s thoughts by touching them and his power reaches interesting grounds when he’s high on weed. He can then literally watch the thoughts float in the air in the shape of smoke-animated letters… and that’s pretty cool, especially that his power is about to be used by a mysterious firm that is trying to change the world into a new kind of world order. It’s quite interesting in the era we’re living and witnessing…(laughing) but more seriously… Guru has the perfect format in the vein of Entourage from back in the days. I’m a millennial, and I grew up watching TV. It's part of my culture and having a TV series that I would watch myself as a fan was really something that I was missing. So, stay tuned, we have a trailer coming soon
Follow me at: @yassineazzouz_
Photo by: Carlos Leal