Copiii: The First Entry – Part 2

by E. H. DILLMORE
Copiii: The First Entry may have otherworldly elements, but the story is firmly rooted in time and place. We had the chance to sit down with L. Gustavo Cooper to find out more about the film, this time focusing on the setting and the development of main characters.
One of the most important things for independent film creators to consider is the feasibility of their script. Cooper told us that a writer needs to know their limits. “I try to give myself the most logical locations while writing, thinking ahead of time, so I [don’t] write myself into a corner and then not make the movie,” he says. Throughout writing the script he was “constantly aware of whether I could make that location happen. You don’t write Jurassic Park and expect it to get made when you’re on a small budget.” While there won’t be any dinosaurs in this film, expect other elements of intrigue derived from the setting.
Cooper says one the inspirations behind setting this film in the South was the Southern Gothic genre of literature made famous by William Faulkner. He wanted to tap into the magical realism element of that world and the brooding atmosphere of the genre. Cooper felt like the world of Faulkner complemented the story of the cursed tribe of gypsies, the Copiii Pierdere.
With film locations in St. Augustine and a haunted house located in the historic neighborhood of Riverside, the film will definitely be tapping into the spiritual undercurrents of North Florida. Cooper said that he is constantly inspired by the oddities of Florida history; it’s history of slavery, the Timucua tribe, the city of Cassadaga which is famous for it spiritual energy or the mermaid tank in Weeki Wachee Springs. All of these elements have contributed to the setting of the film and given Cooper and his producer, Brian Jerin, a template when they are out scouting for locations.
Another important element of consideration for the film was casting the right actors. When asked about his directorial philosophy about casting, Cooper was to the point: “The actors need to embody what story needs in the characters.” He says casting has been a collaborative effort with a talented actress named Courtney Gardner. He told us that she has “a great eye for talent, and I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without her.” The main characters of the film are a recently married couple who forgo the typical honeymoon trip and embark on a road trip adventure instead, visiting peculiar side-shows and cities, a decision with unimaginable consequences. Cooper told us that his characters are “some of the most likable people you’ll ever know, which makes what happens to them all the more horrifying.”

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october, 2021

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