Inspired by true events, the comedy movie "The Mimic" presents a lighter side of Sociopathy. Our protagonist is named "The Narrator" (Thomas Sadoski), a guy who befriends his young new neighbor, "The Kid" (Jake Robinson). The Narrator suspects that The Kid is a sociopath and decides to go to extreme lengths to uncover the truth.
In a short interview with Borrowing Tape, Writer/Director Thomas F. Mazziotti explained the various facets of the filmmaking process involved in the production of "The Mimic," — which is now available on VOD platforms and showing in select theaters (starting Feb 5, 2021).
Since The Mimic was inspired by true events, can you tell us a bit about those events?
The events took place about five years ago and lasted for six months. When the opening of the film occurred, which is verbatim, I knew it was time to end it. Since the person still lives in the town, I try to avoid the post office like the plague.
There is a statistic that gets talked about in the film — “1 in 25 people is a sociopath”. Everyone in the film seems to know a sociopath but not be one themselves. How many sociopaths do you know? Follow-up question: are you one?
I only know that one. I'm not one because I could never have written that dialogue if I was one.
Comedy is famously difficult to write. How did you go about it?
I listened more than I talked and observed people's reactions when this person was talking. Since reality is very hard to improve upon, it's best to stick as closely to it as possible. If the characters are well thought out enough, they will take you exactly where they want to go. I am only the conduit.
There is a scene where we cut to the writer and the director discussing the film. Those two people are not you. What was that scene about?
Since I dislike exposition, I put all of it in one scene. There are key things said in that scene that no character in the film would know to say. The only people that could say it are the people that made it.
How long did it take to make The Mimic — from pre-production to release?
Three years in total. 18 shooting days. 12 to 14 pages of dialogue a day. That's why I always use actors with strong theater backgrounds.
What was it like collaborating with Cinematographer Tim Gillis on The Mimic?
Tim likes to be prepared. The best way to do that is for me to storyboard every scene so everyone's on the same page the day of the shoot. That gives Tim more time to light and less time to yell.
The production design played a significant role in The Mimic. From the costumes to the sets, everything was so specific. Was this written into the script or later worked out with the art departments?
It was all written into the script exactly as I saw it originally. Most of the locations are the same as well. The more specific you are, the less questions there are on the set, and the more time you have to spend with the actors since there was only one day of rehearsal.
Which films or directors have influenced you as a filmmaker but also the film, The Mimic?
Sidney Lumet since I had his producer on my first film and Elaine May since I had her editor on the same film. It's difficult to make a film better than "Network". I'm influenced by 1940's Film Noir especially the dialogue. I don't think people change. They just talk faster.
Do you have another project in the works? Could you tell us a bit about it?
My next project is a comedy that deals with a famous mystery writer who is contacted by an unhappily married fan who wants out of his marriage.