Patrick D. Green, “Vincent”/Producer
Tell us about the character you play in Escaping Freedom (no spoilers!).
I play Vincent in Escaping Freedom. I was lucky in that I got to spend a great deal of time with Vincent before we shot Escaping Freedom, while we were shooting the prequel web series entitled Letters. Vincent is a pastor at a small church in Portland, OR. But, after having taken on the lead pastor position, he has started to feel the weight of being in this position that is so revered and can show little to no flaws. This pressure has been building in him for a while so he has reached out to his sister, with whom he had a falling out years prior, via some letters she has mostly ignored. She was once his closest friend and confidant and he is feeling this great need to have her back in his life. In the meantime, he has started to fall for another male pastor in the church and this kind of desire is very much looked down upon by his church. When his sister Krystal does show up back in his life, everything comes to a head for Vincent.
What attracted you to this role and/or film?
It was a lot of different factors for me. I was a fan of Edd Blott's first feature, A Tale of Delight, so I definitely wanted to work with him. I love the way in which he shoots a film, where actors are very much allowed to live in the moment and try things. As for the story, I'm familiar with having very different philosophies on life than family members so that aspect was intriguing, as well as the struggle with religious beliefs and one's sexuality. I am always fascinated by rich, three dimensional characters who are deeply flawed but so wanting to be the best they can be. I think that lives in all of us and I love to try and express that onscreen. That's what makes film so powerful, bringing these characters to life so an audience can experience the path of others and see how we are all struggling, and so much more alike than we are different.
Without giving away plot points, what do you see as your character’s longings and desires in life? How do they go about reaching them?
Vincent has found himself in circumstances where he is unsure he has chosen the right path for his life. He doesn't want to disappoint anyone else so he struggles to maintain. But, deep down, he knows this is impossible and actually more harmful to others as well as himself. Vincent wants to break free from the chains he put on himself, but he's unsure how to do so. He longs to be free of the crushing weight of others' expectations. He longs to experience love. He longs to reconnect with his sister. He's just unsure how to go about it all and often makes poor decisions on how to do so.
If you don’t mind sharing, what are some ways that you felt you were very different from or similar to your character?
I'm similar in that I have a tendency to be a 'yes' person and end up putting more pressure on myself than I should (but I'm working on that!). I'm different in that I think I resolved what my philosophy was on life at a younger age and have stuck to it. I think Vincent struggles with that a great deal more.
What got you interested in acting?
I was really shy as a child, actually kind of terrified of talking to others. But around age 12, I took a theatre class and figured out you could get up on a stage in front of folks and speak someone else's words. It took so much pressure off. The more I did it, playing these other characters, the more I learned about myself and learned to empathize with others. It was almost like an addiction from there on.
What did you look forward to most when filming began?
Just being on set daily. There is so much joy in that feeling. We assembled an incredible but small crew, and an immensely talented cast. Although the film definitely has some heavy moments, we spent so much time laughing on set. It felt very familial. I miss it.
When approaching a role of this nature, what type of preparation do you do?
I spent a lot of time researching pastors and small churches, listening to sermons and such. I also tend to spend a lot of time with the script on my own, breaking it down over and over again. But, once I'm on set, I do my best to let it all go and just play with what happens in the moment. It's a really lovely feeling when you forget yourself.
What is the most important thing you would want an audience member to take away after watching Escaping Freedom?
I think it is that we are all struggling. All people struggle. We need to keep this in mind and be kinder to ourselves and others. No one has it easy.
What was the most challenging aspect of working on this film for you?
The most challenging thing for me when I'm also producing is I tend to want to make sure everyone is doing okay, but I think I tend to do a disservice to myself in that regard. Otherwise, the church scene days felt like a whirlwind. So much dialogue! And such quick scene changes! Haha. But, I think that's also helpful for getting out of your head, so maybe it was a blessing. Ba Dum Tss!
Being an actor, what do you see as your role in the filmmaking process?
My role is to come to set prepared... know my lines, know my motivations, having done my prep work, and then, being completely open and available to my fellow cast members and the director.
Who are some artists (any field) whose work inspires you?
Right now, I'm fascinated with Yorgos Lanthimos' films, and always with Aronofsky. Also, Xavier Dolan and Steve McQueen. Actor wise, I'm kind of obsessed with Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy at the moment.
What’s one memory from this project that you will never forget?
One? I can't do just one. Getting to improvise and play with Kelly Godell. Love. Bawling my eyes out after a particular scene with Jonathan Miles. A makeup prosthetic piece flying off an unnamed part of my anatomy between takes. Edd and Evan getting super dizzy shooting a particular argument scene. All the seed in the trunk. Ah man, so many great memories. Let's do it again.
Patrick, in addition to being an excellent producer and actor, you a dear friend. Thank you for investing so much time and energy the last 3 years (and beyond) into this film in order to make it the best it can be. I look forward to seeing what happens next for you! - Edd