INTERVIEW: Clark Westerman
(from Z Review) This week I had the chance to do a little Q + A session with Red Light Runners producer and writer Clark Westerman. In the interview, Clark reveals more about the plot, what it's like working with Michael Madsen and also gives us more details on who will be popping up in the movie.

Z REVIEW: Tell me a little about the story behind Red Light Runners. What's the premise?

CLARK WESTERMAN: Blatantly : If a motorist blows through a red light, the speed camera/Madsen's character will get you and leverage you for higher crimes. The audience thinks Madsen's character is a photo analyst for the
police/government. And he's using these speed camera photos to leverage these
motorists to do crimes for him-purportedly crimes that the government can't be caught doing itself- At one point Madsen's character, as Narrator queries the audience - "Do you think many people actually volunteer for hazard duty in the CIA and such?" No. its all about leverage.

ZR: But blowing a Red Light Isn't Much To Leverage a Person To Do A Higher Crime...

: Madsen's character is good at what he does, he either blatantly spots
things in the speed camera photos that indicate further surveillance should be
enacted or...he just has the gut feeling. Once you fall in his playing field you're in trouble.
The surveillance performed clues the audience in on each Red Light Runners'
criminal talents and through this introduction to the ensemble cast the audience then sees how the web aligns for the big heist at the end. But just how much are we telling the audience and what is real and what is not?

Michael Madsen and Clark Westerman.
Michael Madsen (left) and Clark Westerman.

ZR: How did you come to meet Michael Madsen and why did you decide to work together on Red Light Runners?

CW: I was able to get him the script....a few weeks later, after I thought it was a dead issue, he called me and asked to come aboard as both CO-Prod. and lead. We'd work together to get the project on its way.

ZR: What is it like working with him?

CW: In my mind, what it should be like...Michael is collaborative, he didn't just say 'use my name to open doors',' he has burned a lot of favors (Harvey, Dennis, Eddy) to get the momentum moving and given time to do the press conferences and such. The fact that all of Michael's fellow actors are a tight knit group that operate on a favors system -we'll call it 'a bad ass actors Mafia,' allows this thing to progress-no attitudes, no drama, no b.s.-only solid networking and filmmaking. Its how Vinnie came aboard...he understood the purity of what we're doing-we just want to make a great fu**ing film. Michael saw Harvey do extremely well on his assist in funding Reservoir Dogs and Michael sees this as his RD (not that we are a Tarrantino flick) in terms of reasonable budget vs. profit.

ZR: I can't seem to find any information on you chosen director, Nick Egan. What background has he come from and why have you decided to go with him?

CW: Download the prospectus at for full bio, but Nick is the glue and the epicenter. For every positive step you see us take forward Nick has been involved in some manner. Keitel is interested not just because Michael asked him ...Harvey did some checking on Nick and he found - Nick's Propaganda Satellite Films background (Alums include Fincher, Fuqua, Bay,
Jonze) translate to the Hollywood buzz that this guy is the next commercials,
music vid. Director to take the film genre one step further. Nick has earned
nods in commercials work and music vid work with Alanis, Duran, Oasis, Sonic
Youth Kylie, INXS, Soupdragons, Nike, Nintendo, Perry goes on...essentially this is the guy that knows everyone, has worked with
everyone and his number is up. He turned down three features to do
he's definitely got investiture. Harvey essentially told Madsen we chose
very, very well.

ZR: What are the reasons for making the film over here in the UK?

CW: The tax scheme we are using is avail. here. That's major, but its
secondary. First and foremost, Egan is a Brit and he said he'd only do it if
we could be a small part of reinvigorating UK film. Michael and I both love
the UK -Madsen just shot Bond over here- so no one had to have their arms
twisted. We also encounter less b.s. over here. People here have great enthusiasm for the medium. The US tax laws are slowly pushing filmmaking/ entertainment out of the country-and into Germany, Australia and the UK-nad for the US great for the UK. The tax scheme we're flowing through essentially, as Madsen puts it, 'is a vote of confidence by the UK government in the Arts.' Your choice is to either lazily toss your taxation to IR, or invest it in leisure/ entertainment. An investor immediately gets back 20% from IR (40% Capital gains relief that is retroactive for a year so last year if you did well and were taxed heavily and this year with the economy not performing as mightily, this may be a good one for some) and if a loss, another 40%- much better than 100% down the black hole eh? In addition if the film profits, 100% of profit is nontaxable for the investor. That's a massive deal.

ZR: You're using a lot of British talent in the movie too. Martin Kemp is a big star over here and indeed is an excellent actor. He's been cast in the film. Tell me a little about his role and have you seen (British soap) Eastenders?

CW: Never seen Eastenders. Martin was a target because of the Krays. He and Gary's turn in that film was, simply put, astounding. Martin plays, Letto, a dotcom exec who is a white collar criminal. Nick and I couldn't think of a better candidate. Kemp is one of the leads Madsen has ensnared. We will be weighted more heavily on the UK side of talent and that snowball is progressing with Vinnie, Gavin and now, I expect to be able to announce (Wednesday I think) some great additions to the ensemble.
Martin Kemp in 'The Krays'
Martin Kemp in 'The Krays'

ZR: What has the casting process been like and are there any more additions?

CW: Wednesday...Wednesday.

ZR: What's the word on Dennis Hopper and Harvey Keitel?

CW: Via Madsen they are in. We'd have been sued by now for using their name in connection with this film if Michael hadn't worked it out with them. As soon as we subscribe to 80% of budget, we can pay them down with formal agrees.

ZR: Where and when do you hope to shoot the film?

CW: UK, exteriors and Pinewood Studios, Late Oct/Early Nov this year.

ZR: Can you reveal anything else about the deceased celebrity that you intend to bring back to life through CGI?

CW: Soon. But there's a clue within this interview. I'd like to do this later after we complete our raise so it is truly a homage and not viewed as a publicity stunt. We're thinking of how to possibly enable this benefiting the celeb's surviving heir(s) in some positive manner.

ZR: And lastly, can I be in the film! As an extra maybe???

CW: We intend, in a pub scene to use extras, and some will be Nicks pals, My buddies , you bet. Just beware the beer we'll be serving will be real so keep a steady keel while others purposefully blow their lines to keep the pub open after normal licensing hours!

So there you go, a little more info on Red Light Runners plus the fact that I may get in the movie! Here's hoping! Anyway, we'll bring you any more casting news on the film, next week, when we get it. Thanks to Clark for giving us the interview.

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