In a tech savvy world, we are all wrapped up in social media, smart phones, and putting all of our information out on the internet for anyone to look at. Hacking is a major global issue today that raises the question “is privacy a privilege?” I have been working in the I.T. industry for some time and have seen many lives ruined by not being aware of the downfalls of the internet. This includes updating banking information, social security numbers, and personal photos. In today’s society, is it possible to have a stress free and fulfilling life without a social media presence? The answer is yes and I condone anyone to go back to the days of person to person genuine conversation.
Today, I sat down with the star of the new tech thriller, I.T., James Frecheville who is no stranger to the film industry. He starred in 2014’s “The Drop” alongside Tom Hardy and was in the hit Australian film, Animal Kingdom. We spoke about playing a tech mastermind, filming with the legendary Pierce Brosnan, how the world is obsessed with the internet, and what can happen if you are not careful with your personal information. It is my pleasure to introduce James Frecheville…
Cinephellas (CP): Hello James! How are you doing today?
James Frecheville (JF): I’m doing very well Logan!
(CP): I just watched your new film I.T. and loved the premise since I have worked in the I.T. field for the past six years.
(JF): Ahh very well mate, it was an adventurous experience shooting this film in Dublin with a great team of film makers, actors, and actresses.
(CP): How did you get involved with this project?
(JF): I did an audition and I had a rough morning. I went in and I thought I tanked the audition which was in December of 2014. I got a phone call in March that I got the role as Ed and that was it. The director John Moore was the main factor that had the vision and wanted to develop this story further than the script that I had read originally. I didn’t think I did a very good job in the audition and I guess it worked out to my advantage. It happens all the time with actors when they feel off that day and it turns out they did really well to get the part in that specific film. It’s not really for me to judge, that’s the film team’s job to make the final decision.
(CP): You play this character Ed that is a technical mastermind. Do you have any experience in the IT field or did you have to do some extensive research to get into this character?
(JF): No, when I was in primary school there was a program called microworlds that taught us basic coding and animation, but I didn’t keep up with it. I don’t really have much of an I.T. background, it was a learning process while filming.
(CP): What was the timeframe of making this film?
(JF): I had six weeks to prep in LA where I currently live where I studied the script and researched on-line. I didn’t necessarily settle on any specifics in regards to mental health. I didn’t think it was necessary because things that Ed does in this film are never really explained and it’s more interesting to watch people do things that are completely inappropriate. When you watch people process information and then act accordingly is what makes cinema interesting.
(CP): I’ve worked in the IT industry for 6 years and it’s a tough industry to be in. As an actor, were there any obstacles getting into this character?
(JF): In some regards, I wasn’t sure if I had a handle on the character. The director wanted to base Ed’s look off the lead singer of Steppin Wolf. The haircut, the car he drove, etc. After the initial camera tests and before we started filming the movie, they told me I had to get rid of my mustache. I was looking forward to hiding behind the mustache because this character wasn’t me and was ultimately a re-adjustment. There’s a sequence in the film with Ed’s social networking pic and he has the mustache, hahahaha. I walked into filming with a huge beard and long hair that we transformed into the duck tail that was dyed/straightened to make me look really off. I was really happy with the final product of Ed and how he looked crazy.
(CP): This film touches on current issues going on in the world around us such hacking and stalking. What do you think the overall message that I.T. is trying to get across to the audience?
(JF): What I got out of the film is to not take shortcuts. For the most part, with Pierce Brosnan and his family, they are wealthy and have a lot of smart devices in their home. They were very materialistic and the major things I took out of I.T. is to prioritize what’s important in your life that doesn’t include technology. Go outside and enjoy the park with sunshine and fresh oxygen. I think people have hard lives and get caught up in negativity via the internet for a very long time. People get really stressed out and make poor choices where they get in over their head. In terms of the technology standpoint, you have to make sure you know what you are getting into. If you get a VPN and browse around on the dark web, you need to know who is watching you, and there are a lot of sharks waiting for the right moment to hack you. You get this power as a hacker where it becomes intoxicating and you can’t stop. I really think people who work in the I.T. field get these negative stereotypes and that’s totally incorrect for anyone that does this for a living. You’re not defined by your knowledge, but defined by your actions. You can bring an I.T. person over to your house to help you set up your network, you’re not endanger unless they act like a creep or pervert.
(CP): That’s how I have been stereotyped for many years and been looked at like the creepy guy that hangs out in the basement all day.
(JF): And that’s the thing with this film, Ed gets invited over to Pierce Brosnan’s house as a social gathering, but it turns out it was just to fix his home network. So he’s just another guy using me for my skillset instead of wanting to be friends.
(CP): In this film you say “privacy isn’t a right, it’s a privilege?” Do you think that is true? Why or why not?
(JF): Yes, it is because the landscapes changed. Privacy is a privilege because it’s personal time for you at home with your family away from work and the stressful day to day life. If you want to take shortcuts on how you manage your privacy, maybe it will come back to bite you in your ass. Being a celebrity in LA, people get tricked all the time and their personal pictures or messages get hacked into, then show up on the news. Or if you’re smart, you party in private and don’t go out in the public as a sloppy drunk that will end up on TMZ.
(CP): You get to work with Golden Eye himself in this film, Pierce Brosnan, what was it like working with him on set?
(JF): It was amazing! Pierce did a film with a friend of mine a few years back and heard lots of great stories that gave me a good feeling about him. Don’t put people on a pedestal because you might be let down. I try not to do that with anyone I work with so I can meet them on their terms. I was absolutely excited to work with Pierce and learned so much on this film with him. It was like being a sponge while watching Pierce work and absorbing everything I could to better myself as an actor. I have been really fortunate to work with a lot of great actors/actresses over the past five years and see how they do it. You learn tricks, how to manage your energy, and your emotions. It all takes place on camera when they say “action” and “cut.” As long as you’re professional, courteous, and you can communicate with your co-workers, you can play it any way you want. I had a really good time making this movie and it’s what I love to do! I’ve been in big and smaller films, everything is circumstantial with different settings. We filmed this film in Dublin and everyone got a long while I had the best time of my life.
(CP): Your characters started off as friends and quickly became enemies. What was it like transitioning into this sinister character after Mike fired you from the job?
(JF): We didn’t shoot things in order and filmed in different blocks. Pierce can get really angry which is great. We had a fight scene in the movie and it was really intense where we had a few accidental slaps across the face. It was like playing Golden Eye on Nintendo 64. We would talk about it a lot on set and to the point where we couldn’t talk about it anymore. I had a few really good hits to the face from Pierce and it was fun taking the opportunity to not fake these fight scenes. I’ve watched the film a few times and it’s pretty brutal. I’ve gave myself a black eye while filming and the last few days of shooting, I had to wear a lot of makeup to cover my black eye. I learned a lot while making I.T., I worked with great people, and brought as much as I could to the character. So far, I haven’t done anything obnoxious to actors/actresses for them to be rude to me, but only time will tell. HAHAHAHA
(CP): Do you have any upcoming projects in the works that we should be on the lookout for?
(JF): I have a few films in post production and some that haven’t actualized yet. I have been in touch with film-makers and looking forward to more upcoming work. I don’t have a social media presence and try to get an audience through my performances in film. I’d rather not get involved in the social media world and I look up to actors that do the same thing. I want to remember them from a specific movie instead of what they are doing in their personal lives. I am just about the work and the collaboration with people in this industry. I am really excited to see what opportunities are in the future after making this film! I guess everyone will have to wait to see my work because I have to wait.
Special thanks to James Frecheville for taking the time to sit down with Cinephellas. We’re really excited about the release of I.T. as well as his upcoming projects! I.T. hit theaters on September 23rd and is available on VOD.