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Movies & TV / Columns

Christopher Lawrence Chapman Talks w/411 About His New Film Inoperable

February 1, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Inoperable

The 411 Interview: Christopher Lawrence Chapman

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Christopher Lawrence Chapman is a writer, director, actor, and producer who has been making movies since 2015. He has produced the short films Morgan Pickett’s Charge, Axiom, and City of Mermaids and directed the feature film The Accident. Chapman’s latest movie is Inoperable starring modern horror icon Danielle Harris, which hits DVD via ITN Distribution on February 6th (check out my review of Inoperable here). In this interview Chapman talks with this writer about the making of Inoperable and more.

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InoperablePoster

Bryan Kristopowitz: How did Inoperable happen?

Christopher Lawrence Chapman: I had shot a few films and began working on a film with Jeff Miller. He and I met on a project, Clowntown, and there we began the discussion of making another horror film. Jeff is a very accomplished producer and has produced many films. He gave me some thoughts about what he felt was interesting generally and what he felt would “move the needle” so I took the ball and ran with it. I drew on an experience I had (years and years ago) in a hospital while an actual hurricane was threatening the general area where this hospital was located. My mind began to wander and I felt it was such a great “world” in which to create a narrative to operate inside of.

BK: Where did you film Inoperable?

CLC: We shot Inoperable in Pasco County, Florida, which is located about 30 to 45 minutes north of Tampa. It was actually an empty building and production designer Bobby Marinelli and his team turned it into a hospital. At one point, many years ago, the location had been a functioning hospital, but then it was a government administration building, and then finally vacant. We resurrected it and with proper production design, turned it back into a “hospital”. After shooting, it was slated to be demolished.

It was fun shooting there. The building had character and one could feel the eeriness and loneliness in simply being inside. Personally, I felt really connected to the building since we were likely going to be the last real bit of “liveliness” and activity this old building would ever see again. The building, in my opinion, really helped sell the story.

BK: How long did it take to make Inoperable, from writing the script to finishing post-production? Did the story change at all while making it?

CLC: Jeff and I began general discussions about a possible horror project around late spring/early summer of 2015. I started writing with Jeff and I bouncing ideas off of eachother. I then geared up in pre-production and started hiring crew and selecting cast. We started hunting for locations soon afterwards and finally found our location. We began set design inside of the location a week before production and production design got to work loading in various equipment, decorations, signage, etc., to make it look like an actual hospital (it was just a large empty building). We shot the film in Jan/Feb of 2016 and began the editing process immediately afterward. I would say that, total, from writing to a final distributable film was about a year, but then the film goes to a distributor and there are many other things that happen there which can take a while. The story basically stayed the same while shooting, but we added a little bit more as a sort of back story.

BK: What was the hardest part of making Inoperable? The easiest?

CLC: I’m not sure what was the hardest other than general stressors and issues when filming a feature film. Overall, the shoot went very well and we had no real issues. If I had to pick an issue which was a little harder than general production, I would say that keeping the timelines straight was slightly challenging, but we had a great plan for dealing with it and we had some very talented cast/crew so it wasn’t bad. The easiest was probably everything else as we had an amazing cast and crew that was very dialed in to what we were doing. We spent a lot of time rehearsing before the actual shooting of the film, so that everyone is on the same page and we can quickly deal with issues as they arise. Also, the location representatives were perfect and really great to work with which always makes a production run better.

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BK: How did star Danielle Harris get involved with Inoperable? How were Katie Keene and Jeff Denton cast?

CLC: Jeff Miller is very dialed in to the horror genre and who the distributors and ultimately the audience want to watch. There were some names we were talking about but ultimately liked Danielle to play the lead. Danielle Harris is incredible. She is an accomplished actor and director and really knows this genre and it shows. Katie Keene and I had worked on Clowntown together along with Jeff Denton and Chris Hahn. We liked working with them so much, with their work ethic and talent, that we really wanted to work with them again. Plus, Katie and Jeff just had the right look we were going for, and, more importantly, they are both very good actors.

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BK: The main set is amazing. Is that an actual abandoned hospital used as the main set or is it a building that you made to look like an abandoned hospital?

CLC: Good question! At one point the location had been a functioning hospital but that was many years ago. It was used by various county offices later, and was finally left vacant and slated for demolition. Everything you see that makes the location (on film) look like a hospital (with very limited exception) we brought in and the production designer (Bobby Marinelli) created the world in which we shot in. It is always a compliment to us as filmmakers when critics/writers remark how fortunate it was for us to find a real hospital to shoot in. However, that wasn’t the case as we had to make it look like an actual hospital.

BK: Do you consider Inoperable a straight on horror movie or is it a mix of genres? I do see certain sci-fi elements in the story.

CLC: Indeed. I don’t think it is a straight up horror film. It definitely has some sci-fi elements to it, and also a blend of a psychological thriller. I wanted a film where the viewers would think about what is happening and not just be simply along for the ride. It’s not your standard slasher film, that’s for sure!

BK: To you, is Inoperable a movie that could lead to some sort of sequel or is it more of a “one-off”?

CLC: It could definitely lead to a sequel, but that was not my goal when writing/filming. When people see it, I think they will feel like there could be more later on in a continuing (or even prequel) or parallel story. I already have some fun ideas that we could run with if the desire is there for another film based on this story.

BK: Who are your movie making heroes?

CLC: That’s really tough for me, as I like the stories, concepts and ideas more than the actual people. I guess if I had to name some names, I would say Christopher Nolan, M. Night Shyamalan and George Lucas.

BK: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

CLC: Actually, as I participate in this interview, we just wrapped with principal photography on another horror film. It’s going to be interesting as it’s a sort of movie within a movie.

BK: Where did you find that sweet white Corvette that Danielle Harris uses in the movie?

CLC: Ohhh! It’s actually mine! It’s a 1972 and I just drove it a few days ago. It was pretty much stock when I bought it a while back and not much was done to it by the time I was filming Inoperable, but since then it has a newly rebuilt 383 Stroker engine, carb, intake, heads, etc., new 4 speed transmission, a new rear differential, all new exhaust, new tires, and a bunch of other fun stuff!

It fit the story line perfectly, and was easy to shoot with as it is white, and the windows weren’t tinted, and pretty clear. Plus it just looks cool! We could have used an older, great looking, muscle car, but since I had it sitting in my garage, it’s now a movie star!

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I want to thank Christopher Lawrence Chapman for agreeing to participate in this interview and Justin Cook for helping set it up.

Check out the Inoperable website here.

Check out the Inoperable Facebook page here.

Buy Inoperable here.

All images courtesy of Zorya Films.

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