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Interview: Chad Faust Discusses ‘Girl,’ Bella Thorne, and What’s Next for the Director

Chad Faust has had an impressive career thus far. Many may recognize Faust from performances in movies such as Saved! or show cameos such as House. The actor has also been dabbling in directing and writing short films over the last few years. Luckily for us, he recently wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature-length film, Girl. I was given the amazing opportunity to ask any and all questions to Faust himself regarding the touching film, his famous co-stars (including Bella Thorne here in Girl), and what we can expect next from this film powerhouse.

Kendall Tinston: Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today. I absolutely loved Girl. There was such great chemistry between you, Mickey Rourke and Bella Thorne and it was so enjoyable. I will definitely be recommending it!

Chad Faust: Thank you. It’s such a hard year to get people’s attention, it’s just the most impossible time to release a film but against all odds we’re striving forward.

KT: I believe it. So first and foremost, how long did it take you to conceptualize and write Girl?

CF: I think I started, and came up with the first idea for this, nine years ago. It was a sort of simple beginning and it didn’t take me long to write it. In fact, I wrote the script in four days, which is kind of ridiculous. But then I think it needed time to mature very much like the characters arc of maturation, I went through my own. It was more of a heightened comic book-y film and as I sort of grew out of that it became more grounded and personal and hopefully emotionally effective.

KT: Absolutely, it is. This question may be kind of irrelevant since it was written nine years ago, but did you have any actors you had in mind as you were writing the script? And did you know that you wanted to act in the film as well?

CF: Of course I couldn’t have imagined Bella when I wrote it because I think she would’ve been like, 12, when I started. I always kind of thought of the main character as this imaginary sister. I kept thinking about, “What would my life have been like had a few things been different?” Then she kind of grew in me and was talking to me and she was kind of raging at me to come out. It was sort of more like this sister I never had, and there wasn’t ever an actress in mind. Which is crazy because it’s kind of how I feel about Bella now. We have such a good bond and I just root for her so strongly. And as far as me acting in it, that was never the plan. I always kind of hoped that maybe that was possible but when you’re putting scenes together there are so many financial concerns and that role always seemed that it was going to have to be part of that package, to bring in a star. Unfortunately I haven’t yet reached that place in my career so it was more of a last minute decision to put myself in that role.

KT: Well, you were great in that role so it worked out beautifully. This may be an off-the-wall type question since the film is a bit darker, but were there any personal experiences or people you knew that inspired the story of Girl?

CF: Thank you for this question. For me, I was really interested in this moment that happens in one’s life when they realize the story they’ve been living by is based on a false narrative. I’ve had those moments in my life; I can remember one when I was 12 and I suddenly realized my whole family dynamic was different than I thought it was. Suddenly everything shifted and I thought, “Oh wow, not only do I see the truth but I realized how susceptible I am to a false narrative.” Which, strangely, I wrote this way before 2020 but false narratives are of course, dominating our news cycle, and have become even more prevalent today than when I first came up with this. You see people, like families are fighting each other over believing one political narrative or another. So it feels to me more poignant than ever, but I guess the personal aspect of it is what happens when you see through the story you’ve been living your life along. I’ve had many of those moments where you question your entire philosophy.

KT: What was it like working with Bella Thorne and Mickey Rourke?

CF: Working with Bella is such a dream because she’s, I think, a perhaps very underrated actress, but not for long. She’s going to emerge as I think one of the most promising. First of all, she’s so well prepared; her first take is what I used every time. And with a shooting schedule of 15 days it was the only way this film was ever going to work, so that was such a blessing. She completely understands rhythm in a way that usually only actors who come from theatre truly understand. When I first heard her inside the rhythm of the dialogue that I had written, and it was word for word, so God bless her for that. I honestly love it when actors say what you wrote and understand why you wrote it that way, and she was just so inside of it. I remember our first day of rehearsal—I think it was the day before shooting actually—I grabbed her arm and said, “Thank God you’re good.” But not only is she good, I think she’s absolutely great and so raw and honest and has been a great partner through the whole process, even now in distribution. And working with Mickey was so wildly unique in the sense that Mickey comes in with this huge life and the guy does not have to work very hard to be good and if he works just a little bit he’s great. I knew my goal was to try to get him to care just a little bit, and he came in with a great authority and kind of made the role his own. It’s not exactly as it was written but I think in the end it was probably better than had I asserted my idea of what that character’s authority should be and just let Mickey dominate. As a result, not only was that character dominating but Mickey himself was. I think that that actually really worked well. I knew I had to made a quick choice to either fight him or let the hurricane just blast through town and see how it rides, and I rode that hurricane all the way to what I think is a beautiful performance by him.

KT: And you and Mickey were both terrifying in the film, by the way.

CF: In totally different ways.

KT: In completely different ways, but definitely spine chilling and creepy.

CF: Aw, thanks. I think.

KT: In this case, it’s definitely a compliment. I know you mentioned Bella always performed what you wrote, but out of curiosity, were there any improvised aspects? A particular Laundromat scene with you and Bella seemed like you and her were working off of each other, or maybe the writing was just that well developed.

CF: That scene was completely as scripted. Anytime her and I were working together it was word for word. That’s for me the only way to act with this kind of material. At that point I had to try to honor the writer, which was myself, and she did the same thing. I think we just, at that point we had known each other for four years, we had been halfway through shooting, we had been to war together and we were just two people in the trenches that had a care and respect for each other that comes across in that scene. People always talk about that scene; it’s definitely my favorite.

KT: It’s up there as one of my favorites as well. I know you’ve written and directed a few shorts in the past and this was your first feature length film. Can viewers expect more feature length films from you in the future? Are there any other genres you’d like to dip into?

CF: I’ve got two—actually three things—lined up. Some things I’m writing and releasing to other directors and I’ve got some that I’m keeping for myself, which I think always depends on how personal they are. One I’m lining up right now, a film called Ballistic, it’s again a character driven and absurd thriller in the same way that Girl is. It’s about a father who works in an ammunition manufacturing company who finds out that he made the bullet that killed his son. It’s about this sort of emotional unraveling that occurs. It’s a really wild story and it sounds like really dark material but it’s actually done in a very kind of absurdist way. So that one’s coming out next. Then the one after that is going to be something that is sort of a bridge into larger worlds. I want to make a couple of small character centric indie films then I want to try to take the heart of that into some bigger worlds. 

KT: I can’t wait to check those out. Where did you film Girl, and did you say filming was only 15 days?

CF: Yeah, we shot in Sudbury, Ontario for a whopping 15 days, which is absolutely absurd.

KT: Everything was so quick!

CF: Oh my God, it was over before it began, it was crazy.

KT: And what was your favorite scene or aspect of Girl and why?

CF: That scene in the Laundromat for so many reasons. It was one thing that came out exactly the way I wanted it to, we had just the right location, the art directors did such a great job and Kristofer Bonnell shot it exactly the way I wanted. Being in the scene, being able to direct it on a sort of DNA level allowed me to really get inside of it. I think that scene just kind of worked and I loved the music choices that our late music supervisor provided for us, David Hayman. He passed away right after we did this film, but he did such a great job helping us find really unique musical choices throughout the film but that scene particularly.

KT: Are there any actors or actresses that you’d love to be able to work with in the future?

CF: My dream is to one day work with Jack Nicholson. I don’t know if he’s working anymore but he’s just such a bold actor with that level of boldness and honesty all wrapped into one that’s so rare. That’s the same way I feel about Margo Martindale. I would love to see, or even better direct, a movie with Margo Martindale as the lead, she’s just riveting. 

Be sure to check out Faust’s impressive feature film debut Girl, which is playing in select theaters as of November 20th, as well as on-demand beginning November 24th.

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Written by Kendall Tinston

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