Volition has some interesting ideas at its core about time travel and determination, but it’s an indie sci-fi tale that really lives and dies with its leads. Luckily, actors Magda Apanowicz (Green Inferno, The Butterfly Effect) and Adrian Glynn McMorran (The Revenant) really command your attention as two clearly damaged individuals that are absolutely made for each other. We’ve all faced some obstacles when starting a new relationship but what if someone you just met suffers from a severe case of clairvoyance and can actually predict moments between the two of you before they happen?
Suddenly, someone you just met is trying to save you from a terrible fate in the middle of a great first date. Alongside the writing/directing duo of Tony Dean Smith and younger brother Ryan Smith, Apanowicz and McMorran came up on the Vancouver film scene and their long term relationship together comes across on screen. Dread Central spoke with both actors about their favorite time travel movies, the craziness of shooting such a complex story, and how the fun of thinking about traveling to another time period is a form of white privilege. And they’re absolutely right about that. To kick it off though, we kept things light and just talked about air guitar competitions.
Synopsis: In this time-bending cerebral science-fiction thriller, a man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder. Awarded as BEST FEATURE at the Philip K. Dick Film Festival, among a slew of other awards and critical acclaim, VOLITION is a tightly-wound puzzle of a ride.
Dread Central: I love Vancouver, do you guys ever go to the Rio Theatre?
Magda Apanowicz: Yeah, I played air guitar at the Rio Theatre to my favorite movie. It was a competition, we were watching all the Back To The Future’s and they said, ‘Does anyone want to come up here and have an air guitar competition?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah. Me.’
DC: Did you guys already know the Smith Brothers from the Vancouver film scene?
Adrian Glynn McMorran: I knew the Smith’s from high school, actually. So, Tony Dean, the director, was ahead of me in high school and he was the cool guy. He was super intimidating, we all thought he was James Dean. Ryan is his younger brother. Ryan was about a year behind me in school, so we were in lots of theatre classes together, so I’ve known them for a long time.
MA: I’ve known [Tony Dean] since I was 18. He was graduating from film school as I was auditioning for my final project. His movie, I wanted a part. I just really wanted it and I got it and I loved working with him. I never forgot his energy.
DC: Did you guys watch any indie movies that dealt with time manipulation as a little bit of fun research? Primer from Shane Carruth and Timecrimes by Nacho Vigalondo.
AGM: I re-watched Memento and I watched Looper. Tony was pretty influenced by Christopher Nolan’s stuff so I think I re-watched some of those movies, too. I haven’t heard of those movies you mentioned actually, that sounds really cool.
MA: I watched more of the old school American stuff like Back To The Future.
DC: You can never quite escape Back To The Future, it’s always there.
MA: Best movie ever.
DC: Did you guys film in sequence? Was it confusing at all to film the time travel scenes or did it feel like any other setup on the day?
MA: Oh you should hear Adrian’s process, he has an awesome one…
DC: Yeah Adrian, you had to do the heavy lifting.
AGM: It was very complex. As I was reading it in the months leading up to shooting I was like, oh my god, how am I going to keep this straight. We were definitely not going to shoot in sequence. Even if we did shoot in sequence it still would’ve been confusing. For myself, I created this table chart. By each scene on a scale of 1 to 5, what was James’ mental stress level? What was his physical stress level? It was very scientific. Thank god I did that because that really kept me on track.
DC: Adrian, since your character James was actually drawing pictures of Magda when he was a kid, you guys go through so much sacrifice to try and stay together. Do you think they ever broke up? You both seem a little unstable as characters.
MA: I think they broke up five days later!
AGM: Yeah, they just had this amazing fling.
MA: That was intense and now our lives are boring! I don’t like you anymore.
DC: It’s like the end of Speed where she says these kind of relationships don’t last.
MA: Yeah, the hot, fiery ones. I think of it as Alabama and Clarence in True Romance. They’re just a fucking mess but they love each other and they don’t care to be with anyone else.
DC: I would love to see a time travel version of True Romance. Here’s a cheesy time travel question for you guys. What time period would you guys most want to live in? I’m guessing it wouldn’t be 2020.
MA: Eighties. I’d want a lot of neon color and glow sticks. And Pop-A-Shot.
AGM: My girlfriend’s mixed race and she once tweeted something about how thinking about living in a different era is actually a totally white privilege thing. If I wasn’t a white guy, then I probably wouldn’t want to live in another era.
MA: You’d never want to go in the past. It’s true, you only get that option being white. Any time in the past, even for women, the further back you go…that’s kind of why I wouldn’t even want to go to the eighties…Growing up I was fucked because I’m not a man so I was never going to succeed in the world. It feels different now but that’s how I felt in the nineties.
DC: Hopefully, we can all jump to the future instead when this whole thing is over.
Volition is in theaters, on Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms on July 10, 2020.