In an exclusive interview Flickering Myth sat down with actor, writer, and director Paul Tully to talk about his all-star cast film Replica…
Welcome to Flickering Myth Paul! Can you tell us the backstory of Replica?
Replica started in a writer’s workshop in a black box theatre named Urban Theatre Movement which I am co-founder and current artistic director. It began as a one act play, which was produced in 2013. After good responses I decided to develop it into a short film, followed by a full-length play. Replica the play was produced three different times to sold out audiences across Los Angeles.
In 2018, I decided to write the feature film and we began working on creating movement. Replica was first thought of as a play because I am an actor of theatre, but I am excited to cross over to film and see where it goes.
Can you explain to our readers the story of Replica?
I felt it necessary to write this story, because of real life experiences in my younger days. In my youth, I battled addiction to drugs and alcohol which led me to make irrational decisions. Specifically, When I was around 18 years old, I ended up in a life-threatening situation with the wrong people in a nightclub. A transgender woman whom I had never met took it upon herself to intervene on my behalf. After this incident there was no follow up communication, but till this day it serves me as an example that good people still exist. This situation has always stood out to me, so when tasked with writing about two characters in a room during that writer’s workshop, this was the first thing I thought of. Two strangers, helping each other with no motive.
At the base of this film, I like to think I explore themes such as friendship, love, spirituality, faith and one’s journey to redemption. We see these ongoing themes but also a piece of myself in each character. I wrote Mickey loosely off of myself someone, who constantly battles with addiction, self-doubt, trauma, and a heart wrenching desire for redemption. He is also a character full of loyalty, love, trust, and selflessness. Tonya is our shining light, I pulled motivation of her character from the selfless act of the transgender woman who saved me from a beating that night when I was 18 years old. I myself as a sis man will never be able to fully understand what it is like to be a transgender woman of color. However, in creating Tonya, I had to pull from my own experiences, desires, fears, and challenges.
Can you explain the casting process for the feature film Replica?
As an artistic director of a theatre company, I’ve focused my life around creating an artistic community. In that community I have found some of my closest friends and we push each other to create art and build platforms for one another. Therefore, it was incredibly important to cast not only the original cast from my play but also other artists who I love and respect.
As a collective my production team and myself made a conscious decision to seek out the best talent for each role. We also found it vital to cast true to the essence of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. There was no small or large role, but rather a collective of talents that worked together to create the symphony that’s Replica.
I’m extremely grateful and happy that each actor that was chosen for the role is giving it their all and day by day we are falling in love with each character more and more as they come to life through the craft of each individual in this project.
What do you hope audiences will take away from the film?
What I hope to accomplish with this film is to shed light on circumstances that hide in the shadows of our societies and families, specifically addiction, mental health, and despair. I have great hopes that this story will reflect the rawness of love and how it might be the person who you least expect that alters the path of your life.
Many thanks to Paul for taking the time for this interview.
For more information on Paul Tully follow him on Instagram and Facebook.