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Make room Coen brothers, we have another filmmaking brothers duo on the Hollywood horizon. Adam and Aaron Nee have been making films together since they were kids; Aaron was 11 years old and Adam was 8 years old when they created their first film with a borrowed VHS video camera.
In our one on one exclusive, the brothers share memories of their TV star cast members and food poisoning during filming. Adams also answers our signature question, what was his worst audition experience (this is one of the best!).
Q: I’m so amazed by the casting; you had Melissa Benoist from Supergirl, Matthew Gray Gubler from Criminal Minds, and Eric Christian Olsen from NCIS: Los Angeles. How did the casting process work? Was it a bunch of old friends coming together and having fun?
Adam: Matthew Gray Gubler is an old friend. We’ve known him for about eight years, so we knew he was going to be involved with the project and he’s also a producer. Eric Olsen is a friend. He’s a playing a smaller role in the film, and does an amazing job. He’s so great in it. I felt like it was a real favor to us that he did that. Melissa Benoist hadn’t gotten Supergirl yet. She’d done Whiplash which she was great in. She came in and auditioned for the film, and we immediately loved her and thought she was perfect. That’s a tribute to our casting director John McAlary who brought in the best, most interesting people. And people who are on the rise. He just has his finger on the pulse of that kind of thing. And so for us, with Melissa, we didn’t know her, and when we saw her read we knew she was our girl.
Q: What was the most challenging or difficult moment you both faced during the filmmaking process?
Adam: We had a lot of challenging moments. This movie is a very big movie with a small budget, so we had maybe 30 locations. There’s a big shootout scene that we shot in this old train station that is supposed to be a hotel. We had to shoot the entire shootout in a day. And so, we had to do a lot of figuring things out on the fly when things got very difficult. Anything specific?
Aaron: I think that shootout sequence was probably the most daunting. I was watching us get closer and closer to the day of the shoot and just thinking, “Oh, man. Are we ready for this?” Because we knew we were trying to pack too much into too little time. And it was also shot way out in Barstow, so you have this degree of detachment from fallback safety things. If something went wrong we couldn’t just run to a rental house. We didn’t have access to those fallbacks.
Adam: And to add to that, our crew got food poisoning while we were shooting that. We lost like half the crew, and so we were way skimmed down trying to shoot the most difficult stuff from the movie. Meanwhile, people are back in their hotel rooms and they couldn’t even make it to set. So, it was very, very challenging. And that’s just the nature of making a movie. But when it’s a small movie and you don’t have fallback money or fallback pickup days, you have to really think on your toes to try and figure out how to make that stuff work.
Band of Robbers opened in theaters and on VOD on January 15th.