Interview: Clayne Crawford On Pouring His Heart Into ‘The Killing of Two Lovers’

Clayne Crawford‘s recent film, The Killing of Two Lovers is simply haunting. The drama about father desperately trying to keep his family together first left an impact on Sundance audiences and continues to have people talking. It is driven by Crawford’s intense performance, which has him on screen for just about every frame of the film – it is layered and mesmerizing. Arguably, the best work of his career.

The story behind how he brought the micro-budget film to the screen, what it meant to him as an artist and a human being is almost as captivating as his performance. The actor/producer was very generous with his time as we sat to discuss what went into making The Killing of Two Lovers. He spoke openly about his very public exit from a network show and how that negative experience was partially the catalyst needed to put this film into motion.

The conversation, which was briefly interrupted by his son looking for his daddy, revealed a man who is passionate about his craft and his family – not necessarily in that order. After hearing the tales of tight budgets and even a tighter shooting schedule it is hard not to appreciate even more the riveting piece of filmmaking that Crawford and director Robert Machoian delivered. The Killing of Two Lovers masterfully uses the frame and inventive sound design to explore a man on the brink from different perspectives. There’s no other film quite like it.

If you think you know Clayne Crawford, after this interview I think you will find there’s much more to the man. If you are unfamiliar with him and his work, I highly recommend you watch The Killing of Two Lovers. Once you do, and you find yourself looking for more of his work, follow it up with one of the best TV series of the last 20 years, Rectify. You won’t be disappointed. I hope you enjoy my interview with Clayne Crawford.

Steven Prusakowski: Let me start by saying I was really blown away by The Killing of Two Lovers. Such a powerful and unique experience that I could not get out of my head. Congrats on the film. It’s really just incredible.

Clayne Crawford: I really appreciate you saying that. Thank you.

Steven Prusakowski: When did your passion for acting start?

Clayne Crawford: I first got bit by when I was in high school, doing Speech and Debate. My teacher was a wonderful lady, Simona Herring, and she had us do a lot of improv, so that we could relate and believe in our topic. You had to fake it as it was related to debate. She would have us do these little sketches and scenes, and I just enjoyed the process of pretending on a very kind of fundamental level and basic. She kind of pushed me to move to LA. I wanted to get out of my small town anyway, and just moved out there and started doing construction. I did a play in Los Angeles ‘accidentally.’ Then I was definitely hooked, and we started trying to figure out a way to pursue this as a career.

Steven Prusakowski: So one of your first roles, maybe your first professional acting role was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is one of my all time favorites. Then later on, you play Teddy on Rectify, arguably one of the best shows of this century – the last 20 – 30 years for sure, Another series on my personal all-time list. You get your first role and next you land a major role on an impactful series like rectify. What was your journey like going from the stage into TV?  What was your experience like on those series? 

Clayne Crawford: Just complete opposites in the spectrum. With Buffy, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no training as an actor. I had just been in that little play up in Sun Valley, which no one came to see. But I’ve had an opportunity to kind of pretend on a consistent basis. When I booked this job, I’d never been on a set-  not even as a guest or an extra anything. So to walk on and have lines. It was all just like being put on a football field and never had been to practice. Never been in a playroom, never watched film, and just said go execute. When the lights kind of came on, it was super shocking. I just had no idea what I was doing and just fumbled my way through it. I was very nervous. I can only hear my heartbeat the entire time. It was just mortifying. When I watched it, it was like, ‘okay.’

I might have been in town maybe three weeks – it was even before the play. I came out there, I’d gotten an agent by getting these headshots in the valley and she sent me this audition. It was kind of a fluke thing, but it happened. So I was super, super green. And then to go to Rectify… I’ve been working for 10 years and had been dreaming of just only wanting to take films to Sundance. Then to have an opportunity to make what felt like an independent movie, the TV show (Rectify), and to get to work with someone like Ray McKinnon, who I already had a great amount of respect for – not only as an actor but as a filmmaker after watching The Accountant. Yeah man, it was kind of like everything led up to that point, it felt like. And then, going into a job thinking I have a really good understanding of storytelling and how to perform in a way that supports the story and the rest of the cast and the script and so forth. Then working with Ray, and what I learned… It was an incredible experience, and changed me as an actor in a really positive way.

I developed just incredible relationships with the entire cast and crew. The only way to describe it, and we’re all super grateful for that experience, but it also kind of spoiled us in a lot of ways. You know, now, that’s all we create is that really deep, slow burn of storytelling.

Steven Prusakowski: With a series you are provided time to develop your character. Obviously, with film, you have a very short running time to convey so much. Do you have a preference when it comes to the medium, television versus film? 

Clayne Crawford: I think when I got into the game, in the late 90s, it was kind of film or nothing. I think that was just a reflection of the quality. I think we’re able to take more chances and filmmaking, you know, historically. So for me, TV was more of a kind of means to an end. Then it all kind of shifted with The Wire and Sopranos and so forth. We started realizing, ‘Oh, wow, if we can get on the right network, you can actually tell these stories, and really kind of explore all of the side characters,’ which for me, was really exciting. It kind of shifted, and now anyone would say, as a performer, that it’s just the story and the director and are we going to be able to tell our story properly. I love film and the way that you can go and just give everything your body has for a few weeks, and then just cut the umbilical cord, let it go live on its own, and wash it off. I feel like you can give more sometimes on a feature. With a series, you certainly have to see that the arc is over sometimes 10 or 20 episodes, you have to build it differently and it’s a slower process. 

On Rectify, it was just so special in the fact that there was so much evolution with our characters. I don’t think we saw that a lot on television back then. You had to be the sillier dumb blonde, you’re the smart guy that wears the glasses, you’re the heavy, and so forth. We all kind of wonder if someone’s going to wear the black hat and someone has to wear the white. I felt with Ray’s approach to that show, we saw that we’re all human, and that we’re all capable of awful things and remarkable things and within the same day. To me, that’s what was so special about that specific story. Something like Lethal (CBS’s Lethal Weapon series), I was kind of playing the same guy. That’s what they needed me to do. And with Rectify, with my character Teddy I was able to go on a journey. It was a self exploration. I had never seen a guy like that – the stereotypical Teddy’s that we all grew up with. I’ve never seen him portrayed in that light and made human. And that was very exciting.

Steven Prusakowski: Now you have The Killing of Two Lovers, which is just a heartbreaking and challenging film. Why did you sign on to star in it? 

Clayne Crawford: I didn’t sign on to it. I called Robert Machoian, who I’ve known for 10 years. I’ve watched this guy make little movies with his kids, literally, and he’s a photography professor at BYU. I was amazed by his talents and the films – he could tell these stories with his kids, who are not actors, and his dad, who is not an actor. And he was getting these incredible performances. It was a lot of what he was doing with the camera. Because again, he’s a photography professor, so what’s living in the frame is very important to him. More so than any director I’ve ever met. But again, he’s living in Utah and going to class and he’s got six kids and doing this thing. I needed to go make a film after Lethal, it was such a negative experience. 

I’d worked so hard to get to this place. That in my mind, when I was a dumb kid at 17 and I moved to Hollywood, having a primetime network show where you’re staying and getting to do fairly decent work, that I was kind of at this pinnacle. Then the rug kind of got pulled out from underneath me. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m 40.’ It all happened when I turned 40 years old. So I said, I have to figure out if I’m going to do this. If I’m going to continue doing this, then I’ve got to go do it my way. I want to finally go give a performance that I’ve always wanted to give, as it relates to subtlety, and just being present… and not having a lot of outside influence from executives, and a director who’s scared to lose his job and trying to get a million coverage takes to make sure you can cut it.  I wanted to go into a process that was not based on fear, and that it was only creative.

So I said, ‘Robert, if I give us X amount of dollars, can we go shoot a feature?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, I’ve got this short,’ and I’m like, ‘Dude, we can’t think a short, it’s not going to help us.’ He sent me the short call The Drift – it was essentially that last scene in The Killing of Two Lovers where David is going to drop off his daughter, and about to take the kids home for a sleepover. It was a dad picking up the kids, a boyfriend comes out and dad gets beat up in front of the children. It was really kind of the short film of how now the children are going to look at their father who was a hero to them – this tough guy. Now he’s laying there, bloody in the street. So we built on that. 

Robert was like, ‘Look, let me take three months and see if I can develop this into a feature.’ He actually went to that little town of Kanosh where we shot the film – population of like 350, in the middle of nowhere, Utah. He wrote, and as he was writing, he was like, ‘Look man, this movie has to live here. These people are David and Nicky.’ He sent me pictures of the red brick house. He goes, ‘that’s your home. And, he goes back to your parents’ house. This is the distance that you’re going to walk and this is where you are.’ It just started to develop from there. We made a few phone calls. I cast Chris Coy, who I’ve worked with on Lethal. I called Junie (Lowry-Johnson) and Libby Goldstein, who run the casting agency that cast me in Rectify, where they also cast Deadwood and some of the greatest TV on television and said, ‘I need an actress that’s amazing. And I’d love her to be a female of color. Just not a white girl.’ And because Robert’s wife is a female of color we were going to use his children because again, we always use his kids and his movies. They sent me Sepideh (Moafind) and we fell in love with her.

The Killing of Two Lovers Sepideh Moafi, Clayne Crawford Sepideh Moafi and Clayne Crawford in Robert Machoian’s “The Killing of Two Lovers”

We all flew to Utah, and we shot for 12 days. And we spent like thirty-grand. Then Robert and I went through the editing process and then obviously post with Peter Albrechtsen the great composer and musician.  Yeah, I didn’t sign on to this film, I put this into the universe. I had to do this or I had to figure out a new fucking plan for my life, you know? Yeah, you get fired like that. And like, am I going to do this or am I? If I’m gonna do it, it looks like I gotta go do it on my own. I gotta show people who I am as a human being and as an artist. That was just by the grace of the universe. People appreciated this little story that we told them, it’s given me a second opportunity.

Steven Prusakowski: Wow, that’s incredible. So you understand, my approach to interviewing is a bit different. I do research, but limit it because I prefer to hear your stories as part of a real conversation with you. It’s much more interesting to learn as we speak rather than know it and try to conduct a pre-packaged interview. 

Clayne Crawford: Yeah, man. It’s all good. Yeah, I’m grateful for it, man. It’s beautiful.

Steven Prusakowski: How much trust do you have to put into Robert’s hands? You have this story you are working on together and then he has his grand vision for this complex character – there are a lot of layers here. When you’re working with a director on set, and it’s not a one dimensional character as you mentioned before. What’s the relationship like?

Clayne Crawford: Because Robert is such a technical guy. Before we shot The Killing, he had always made all of his other films with his partner, Rodrigo. The two of them had fallen out. When we made The Killing, he’s like, ‘Look man, it’ll just be me.’ I said, ‘That’s great if you think you can do it.’ We had like eight guys on they crew, they were all his ex-students. And he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be great, I’m gonna have this kid shoot for me.’ Which I was a little concerned, because Robert had always shot everything. And I was really looking for his eye. But it was great. Oscar (cinematographer Oscar Ignacio Jimenez)came in, and they had a really wonderful relationship, you know, very student teacher.

There’s a lot of respect there, and a lot of shorthand. But what was interesting is that Robert had never directed anyone but his kids. He came in and approached it, that he was going to set up these shots and was going to let me live within these frames. He said, ‘It’s going to be these photographs, essentially.’ I had mentioned how I wanted to get back to, in one of our previous conversations, to theater. Maybe it is more like, I need to get on the stage again, and just really kind of get my legs and figure out why I love acting in the first place. As a result, he created a stage, in this film, tours, these living photographs.

Think about the scene with Nikki and I, by the truck, when I’m loading the dummy into the back and she comes over to ask me about going into the boys’ house that night in the window. It is this stage, like this photograph. There was not a lot of direction. Robert knew what I was wanting to do. He knew that I wanted to come into this, and that I had a performance based around this character that I really wanted to kind of live in. And to his testament, Robert, just allowed me to be in that space. He just made it look beautiful.

Steven Prusakowski: So where did you draw from for David? How did you develop this character?

Clayne Crawford: We have a dad. And I’m married, I’ve been married for 15 years. So for me, I was able to at least understand how I would feel if I lost them. And, how I would feel if I could not go through my rituals of brushing teeth and laying down my youngest and reading a story and waking up in the mornings. Even if we’re all just eating a bowl of cereal and jumping in the car. Those are the moments that I cherish the most. And to think about having to compress my love into every other weekend is truly terrifying for me, right?

So I understood that we were dealing with a man that was hanging off of a cliff by his fingernails – he’s hanging on to the edge. At least I knew where he was. And Robert crafted such a great piece of material. I stood up when I read the draft, and he’s standing in the bedroom with a gun to his wife’s head. I was like, ‘Holy shit!’ There’s no confusion – we’re gonna judge this guy. Now all I have to do is live in this place of, I truly love my kids, love my wife, and try to do everything I can to give her space. With, obviously, the nagging of knowing that she’s with another man and so forth. I think bringing in the betrayal, I think all of us have been betrayed. 

Not to harp on what happened at Lethal, but it was certainly a betrayal in a lot of ways. I think I was kind of a little butt hurt after the whole thing. And, maybe in a very therapeutic way, maybe it was me kind of channeling all of that negative energy that I dealt with into something positive. And, trying as we do as artists, let’s take it and channel it into art, bear our soul a little bit and give it to do something different. I think that was motivation, right as well. I think the brief answers to my family and life experiences allowed me to understand where David was. The geography of the town, the emptiness like that we were in this fishbowl with this mountain. That and the wardrobe and the truck, it all really kind of came together, where I felt like this guy. And look man, there were no trailers, right? We were in this town of 300 people. I wake up, I put on the overalls and I sit in my red truck until it’s time to act.

I was David. And the kids were with me all the time, because Robert’s kids, so he and I were down there and Kanash, we’re promising his wife we’ll watch the kids. So, I’m riding around in the golf cart with the boys when we’re not shooting with Seppy (Sepideh). We’re a family, man. It’s one of those experiences where there were no distractions. We were able to become these characters, and then immerse ourselves in this environment that allowed us to kind of create a bubble we never came out of until it was time to wrap.Then the scenes themselves with the dialogue, and so forth, give it this new life – you’re able to find these fun ways to go. But we stayed in it. And, not to be repetitive, but it was the lack of distractions that helped us performances, and Robert, respecting the space and just really letting us find.

Steven Prusakowski: This character is very conflicting. At times it is easy to understand how he feels, especially being a father myself. Then at others he is so extreme you feel bad for ever empathizing with him. How did you find that balance? What has the reaction been like from fans and viewers?

Clayne Crawford: People have always been quite kind. I don’t know, if anyone’s ever really said, what they might say to someone else. It’s my job not to judge him. I think that performing on a level that people can truly relate to, you have to have just this overwhelming amount of empathy. And you also have to, in very difficult times, justify how we would, classically, we would kind of label some of his very poor behavior. I just had to realize, David does not have the tools that allow him to navigate these difficult situations. He just was just not given these tools. He didn’t watch his father navigate in this way. And, he doesn’t know how to behave. He’s like a wild animal, right? For me, I had to just love him as much as I could and justify each action that he did, that he made, was based on how much he loved his children, and that he would do anything for them. 

You and I may say, well, that means to step back and to support your wife, and to make sure that the transition is as smooth as possible for the children, and so forth. What I have found interesting is who finds it to be a good ending, and who finds it to be a very sad ending, right? For me, I read the script, and it’s very sad. Because the killing of two lovers is I’m the guy, I’m the murderer, right? I’ve destroyed this love between Nikki and Tall Man (Coy). I find that interesting.  Yet one thing I think is clear when I watch this film, is the children are happy. Their worlds are back to normal. You see my daughter’s on her phone? She’s not pissed anymore. The kids are climbing all over everything. They’re happy. And that was very interesting. But yeah, David’s a mess. I mean, if you see the film totally from Nikki’s perspective – oh my god, you’ve got this insane, this lunatic climbing into the windows with a gun and sneaking up at night. He’s creeping around the house like he’s dangerous. You gotta call the cops. Right now. He’s got a gun in the car. And as soon as he gets pulled over, he’s going to jail.

Steven Prusakowski: She’s upset that he’s talking to the kids without permission, and he’s holding a gun over their heads.

Clayne Crawford: Not to mention riding around in his car with the kids all piled up in the front seat. While that weapon is underneath the front seat. I think with Chris Coy, he always gets the hate. ‘Oh, he’s such a dick.’ He’s like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m taking care of this woman and willing to accept her and all these children.’ He’s like, ‘I’m a good guy. I’m over here trying to do the right thing, bringing flowers and so forth.’ So I think it’s all perception. That’s what’s fun about telling these kinds of stories. It’s why I was drawn to Robert and his style of filmmaking.  I’m drawn to the honesty of a moment and how conflicting it is. We don’t know if we like someone or hate someone. That’s life, man. Yeah, you know, what we call unconditional love, right? Because there’s a lot of shit that makes us go, man, I don’t know if I like this person anymore.

Steven Prusakowski: When it comes to the style there’s the incredible sound design and then the unique cinematography, where we get the 4:3 aspect ratio and these very long takes with a locked down camera and then these extreme close ups plus. It’s just such a beautiful film, and the visual and audio are used to enhance the story. How did that factor into your performance? Did you know what to expect of the sound design as you were shooting the film? And how intimately Robert was going to be framing these shots? 

Clayne Crawford: Yeah, I did know. I did understand the framing. We were very specific going through storyboards and understanding at least – again, because I think there’s something like 83 cuts in the entire film. I certainly had a clear understanding of what those were. And, of course, the 4:3 aspect ratio is related to the claustrophobia – specifically in the truck. We were kind of always talking about how it doesn’t matter what’s in front of David, or what’s behind him, because David doesn’t give a shit what’s in front of him or behind him. So we’re just living with him.

I knew that we were going to allow things to really breathe, because Robert and I are both big fans of allowing an actor to just sit in a moment, and to let things kind of play out methodically. I knew that I had time; that I could almost live in slow motion – things could just pass through me as an actor. That was definitely going into it, we were going to take that more of a concrete kind of sound design more with practical sounds and things that we were going to pull from the film. What I didn’t realize was that Peter (Albrechtsen) was going to take so much from the truck. And when he called, he’s like, ‘I listened to this movie, and they go out the door slams like, I don’t know, like, 96 times.’ And we’re like, holy shit, that’s a lot of door slams. And he goes, I built it into the design. He saw it in a way that was exactly what David does.

That’s a testament to Robert – what makes him such a great collaborator, is that he lets people do their thing. He’s like, I’m going to make sure that the frame and the lighting are right. You’re the actor, so you’re going to come and you’re going to do your part. And when he gives it the sound, he gave it to Peter and said go. He really gave Peter all the freedom. Peter brought it back and he just said I think this is a reflection of David’s mental state.

The first piece we heard was when he climbed out of the window and he’s making the long run down to his home before he puts the weapon in the truck. Robert and I were both just blown away. His intention was only to have that plan a couple of places. Robert was like ‘this has got to be throughout the entire piece.’ The moment we hear that or the clicking of the gun and revolver when we hear the buzzing at the door when the doors open, the slamming, the creaking of the ship, the pressure. It all started to play into that. When we hear that, it was almost like the Jaws theme song. It’s like, oh, shit, here it comes – something’s happening. 

That was exciting. I’d never anticipated something like that. It’s a testament to that part of the world and what they’re doing with storytelling, and how they’re kind of pushing the boundaries in so many different ways. When he brought it back, we flipped out. Peter thought he was going to lose his job, it was quite the opposite. We lost our minds. We told him to run it through. We got Robert on a plane, he flew to Copenhagen and they just started knocking it out. Then we all went to LA and did our final mix. To me, it elevated the film in such a magical way, just completely far exceeded all expectations.

Steven Prusakowski: A friend of mine is an Academy Award winner for sound on Whiplash. He saw the film, and was quite impressed with the sound design. It’s just such a risk and it pays off tenfold. When you saw it all together in the final cut? What was your reaction to it all? It had to be rewarding.

Clayne Crawford: When I saw it for the first time it was in black and white with zero sound, complete silence. It completely moved me. I was just blown away by watching these human beings silently in these worlds. So it’s such a, then you know, by the time I’ve watched it in its completion, after color and sound, it’s probably close to 50 times that I’ve seen the film. I will say this. I just watched it recently. I had not seen it since Sundance, and I sat in the theaters. And it really punched me in the chest. That was exciting. 

Sometimes you watch something that you’ve been in and if you’ve seen it multiple times you’ve seen it and it’s lost something. In this film I had quite the opposite reaction. I was just full of gratitude and very proud of what we accomplished. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do that again. It was just so special. I met Robert ‘09 nine at Sundance. We’ve been trying to do something literally for 10 years and just couldn’t make the pieces line up. Then when we did, we just poured everything we had in our hearts into it. I think the movie is a reflection of that.

Steven Prusakowski: The first time I’d watched the film, I remember when it ended and as the credits were rolling I was just numb. I watched again before speaking to you and I was concerned if it would hold up. It completely did. And honestly, it may have worked even better. It is such a powerful film. What was the most challenging for you to shoot?

Clayne Crawford: Singing. I don’t think Robert knows that is a vulnerable place for me. I won’t do any karaoke bars. It’s just because it makes me feel so nervous and uncomfortable. He wrote it in there obviously, intentionally to make me be extremely vulnerable and so uncomfortable with Sepideh. So it was super tough to do that.

The other scene that was very challenging, the scene outside the house – the last thing. I think it was 17 minutes – that scene that leads to the fight. Our golf cart kept breaking down and that was our dolly. We kept it so limited. I think we had four takes of that. We’re just trying to make sure that we were staying within the frame. There’s a lot of improv that can happen in these kinds of films when there’s no stopping and cutting. Which is beautiful, because you already know the trajectory of the scene, so it can just guide itself there organically. But we were trying not to turn this into 30 minutes yelling at each other on the street. That was challenging keeping it between the lines. 

We wanted to keep it a dance – the three of us were kind of always working to make sure who was in the middle. Was it Chris? Was it Seppy? Someone was always trying to make sure they were in the middle, keeping one away from the other. That kind of dance was – we had a lot of fun. But you know, none of it was difficult, because we only got two or three takes on every single thing. Again, we only had 12 days, it was so quick. So none of it was challenging. It was all just full of excitement.

Rectify helped, Tawney (Adelaide Clemens) and I had seen in the last season where we’re divorcing and breaking up in the bedroom. God it was like, I don’t know, 12 pages long and it took us something like 11 hours to shoot. It nearly ripped my soul out of my body. I mean, there’s a moment in the show where Tawney leans down on her knees and goes, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t.’ That’s Addie going, ‘I’m fucking done Ray, I can’t do this anymore.’ And that was just her poor little body just finally breaking down. There was none of that on this film. Like I said, a couple of vulnerable moments, which just helped make the scene play even better. It was all just a joy and a rush of time. We wanted to make sure that we were great and that we were ready. We knew we didn’t have a lot of luxuries with camera readjustments and so forth. We needed to make sure we hit it on the first go.

Steven Prusakowski: Is there a scene you’re most proud of the way it turned out?

Clayne Crawford: I think the rocket scene is my favorite. He has such a childlike quality about him. Robert had told me a story about his brother – he and his wife had just recently broken up and he was taking the kids to the beach and it was cold. And the beach wasn’t a great day because he’s just trying to make the most of his time with him and just trying to build a sandcastle with him and the waves keeps knocking it down. And it’s like, no, it’s okay. It’s okay. Then one of his kids is crying. He’s like, No, it’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. And just wanting it to be a good experience and just trying to make the most of his time. But the kids are just uncomfortable, obviously confused, nervous and scared.

We were trying to generate that. David out in the park on this cold day and we’re gonna run a lot, launch these rockets and he’s so proud of himself. He went to the store and thought of this and built these things. Then when it goes wrong watching him try to pick up the pieces and literally gather up the things from the rocket and he stops and he goes and hugs the boys. That was one of those moments that just happened organically. I happened to look over and see them huddled, and the scene got so aggressive and made them feel a little uncomfortable. It was a very organic moment that happened, that we didn’t plan. As an actor, that’s always very exciting. So yeah, the rocket scene. And we only got that one time, because it started pouring down snow. We were like, if it doesn’t work we’re screwed. We’re going to have to reshoot it. So we went in that night while it was snowing and we watched it and we were all very touched.

Steven Prusakowski: In general, how does it feel to created this this work that people are gonna watch and enjoy and talk about for years? What’s it like, as an artist?

Clayne Crawford: You know, rewarding is the short answer. I appreciate everything so much more after going through what I did. To do something, when you do it, we try to do it as parents, we try to do it with our wives, or partners, we try to do the right thing every day. We try to lead with love, and not let ego get in the way with any decision that we make and truly hope for the best. I don’t feel like we do that in our personal life and our business lives every day. I think that sometimes there’s protocol, a certain way to do business, and that we sometimes all get in line and try to do it the “right way.” With this, we truly just lead with our hearts, and we kind of approached it with a rock and roll attitude.

On film sets and TV, 90% of the time, it’s fear based people afraid they’re gonna lose their jobs. And the directors are afraid that they don’t get enough coverage that they’re going to be kicked out of the edit. The actors are nervous that if they don’t get the right performance, that they’re gonna be cut out of the film. None of that was present on this film. Every decision we made was based on our heart and what we felt was right and good. 

Even when people told us when the #MeToo movement had blown up, and we were told, ‘Look man, you cannot have a movie where you’re pointing a weapon at a woman’s face in the first five minutes. Recut it, dude. Get rid of that – figure out another.’ I’m talking about nine out of 10 people who we showed the film to, soon before we submitted to Sundance, told us we had to get rid of that. And Robert and I had a big coming to Jesus moment when we had to sit down and say, ‘What are we doing?’ We had a vision, and we think the movie’s beautiful, and we don’t care. We spent 30 grand on it. If we only get to watch it with our family and friends, then fuck it we will watch with our family and friends. And that it paid off… that’s the greatest lesson for me, is that it took me to be 40 to get there. But even everything I did, not just my wife and kids, because I love them more than anything in the world. Even the little things in life, just lead with your heart, do the right thing and have no expectations. And for me that we had this experience as a result of that is just the cup runneth over man.

Steven Prusakowski: Thank you for your time today. Thank you again, for your work. I’m a big fan. And I really appreciate being given the time to speak to you and hear this, this insight. I think it actually makes me appreciate the work even more. So thank you.

Clayne Crawford: Man, I really appreciate you taking the time today.

The Killing of Two Lovers is currently streaming on Hulu and available on all major digital outlets.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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