An interview with screenwriter Stephen Ryder

An update – an exclusive review of the film at theskykid.com

The last days of April is the title of a new coming of age film to be released in September( USA) . I found out about it thanks to Stephen Ryder who is its script writer and producer .  He is also the screenwriter of the masterpiece L.I.E and was kind enough to answer to some questions about his new production.  Before proceeding with the exclusive interview  with Mr. Ryder I would like to quote the film`s synopsis which so far is the only publicly available information about it :

“A beautiful young woman who is a murderous sexual psychopath returns from combat as a mercenary in Iraq and abducts a 14 yr-old boy, holding him prisoner as a bizarre relationship develops “

It is definitely not your average plot  and my expectations for this production fueled by the official trailer (which  can  be seen below)  are quite high.The last days of April seems to be a combination of thriller and a drama with  a coming of age overtone .  The young lead TJ Plunkett seems to be a very talented actor even if I only had the short trailer to form my opinion on that.

Pegatinas personalizadas, pegatinas troqueladas, pegatinas para parachoques - Sticker Mule

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClAxw08F4Ws

“The last days of April” – Official web site

TheSkyKid.com interviews Stephen Ryder – the screenwriter of L.I.E and The last days of April

Screenwriter Stephen Ryder

Me : What inspired you do write the story behind ” The last days of April ” ?

Stephen Ryder : The director came to me with an idea for a movie in march of 2008 – he proposed that a man abduct a teen-aged girl and hold her captive. I felt that was too ordinary and that it had been done many times. When I rejected that suggestion –  Rick Lancaster came up with the idea that the  victim could be a boy.I said “Now that has not been done before!” and wrote the script . In 90 days or so we were in production.

Me : Did you have to make any changes of the script during the film`s production ?

Stephen Ryder : Since I wrote the script, I own Metropolis Films, and I produced the movie – who would have the authority to have me make any changes? Although – because George Bush was still President at the time – we deliberately didn’t film any sex scenes (you can’t take a chance with a radical right-wing Christian government)  like we would have in a free country like Spain or Denmark or The Netherlands.

Me : How did you cast TJ Plunkett – and what made him stand out for the role from the rest kids  who were auditioned ?

Stephen Ryder  : We had a nation-wide casting call out in the industry. He responded. Talent, guts and personality. We interviewed over 480 kids, there wasn’t even a close second-place. Everything about him was head and shoulders above the rest – and he was the former U.S. National Junior Karate Champion at 14. We needed that skill for the fight scenes (our actress was an expert in Thai kick-boxing.) He was highly intelligent, serious, professional and his dad was no problem – he stayed out of the way.

Me : Does your background as a law enforcement officer influence your writing( I am no expert – but I am guessing that the Stockholm syndrome  would play some role in your new film ) ?

Stephen Ryder  : All of my colorful experiences inform my writing to an extent, of course. But 99% of all my script are strictly imagination. Although I actually wound up playing the part of the Sheriff in this film because the actor we cast dropped out 24 hours before we were scheduled to shoot the scenes with the Sheriff in them. Since the Sheriff’s character was old, fat, bald and stupid, I felt I was perfect for the part. And my experience as a Deputy Sheriff lent an air of authenticity to that role. “The Stockholm Syndrome” question will be answered for you when you see the movie.

Me : Thank you for your time Mr.Ryder.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hello William,

    Thank you for commenting at theskykid.com ! Below you can find the official statement of Metropolis films addressing your questions :

    “The Last Days of April is a feature film for theatrical release that is currently making the film festival tour in the U.S. It is not yet in theaters and therefore it has not yet been released on DVD, which is why you cannot find it.

    Simply have your name and country entered onto our mailing list (we get hundreds of requests like yours,) and we will be happy to keep you posted as to what festivals, which theaters, when and where “April” will be playing.

    We will also notify you when the DVD goes on sale and direct you to where you can purchase it. Your E mail is all that was necessary to add you to our mailing list, if that's okay with you. For now, an extensive review and further information regarding the film can be found at http://www.theskykid.com

    Thank you for being a fan, and for thinking of Metropolis Films.”

    You can find the contact information of Metropolis films on their web site which is linked via a banner on the link page of this site. I would like to encourage you to check out my review of the film ( linked at the top of the current article ).

    I hope that your question was properly addressed .

  2. What is the newest release date for the DVD of “The Last Days of April” or else a date for playing in limited theatres or a date that the film will be available for downloading from a legal source? It is now at the end of July, 2010, and to my knowledge there has been no kind of release of the movie. The movie appears to have just been shown in limited film festivals. Most all of the comments in this Section are from 2009, so I'd like to find out what is happening currently!

  3. The actress is really beautiful. I myself felt for her and …like if she was around I would have been in love . So beautiful and smart she was…yet under other circumstances …one never knows how will he behave in an unusual and stressful situation

  4. Having seem the film now I can assure you that TJ Plunkett is an excellent actors. You can read my take on in following the link I just inserted on the top of this article. I think that the film is realistic enough – to a point that most journalist and various groups that are responsible for the safe upbringing of the kids – be there school organizations , religion or social ones – they all maintain an odd silence on what is happening in the real words. And the headlines of the newspapers do not always reflect the truth ( in 80 % of the cases they don`t ), To me that explosive scene is not that essential and when you see the film you will find many different psychological aspect of the plot that will attract your attention. As about an interview with T.J that is still an open possibility for when the film enters into wilder circulation.

  5. I agree with your observation , but yet the film had to be disturbing in order to show what can and might happen someday , somewhere. It still remains a work of art rather documentary / which believe me would have had much harsher scenes . Yes One should be aware of the world around us as it might feature not only pleasant and easygoing things. Speaking of the young actor – on stage he is usually accompanies by either either his parent or other responsible adult and of course knows that he is starring in a film …its him job to make you believe that what you see in scene is real – to shock you may be , to make you want to discus the film…etc

  6. Great movie trailor, but a bit disturbing. I would like to know given all the things that happen in the real world about children and abductions and abuse, what was he thinking while they were making the movie? Also, as I write this, I am also wondering how as a 14 year old he was able to seperate reality from the world of movie making which seems so real at times?

  7. I really liked the trailer. I agree TJ is hot, hot, hot. I wished they would have had more of him in the trailer. Did they kill him off in the movie as I see the woman dragging a body away….was it him? Anyone know how it ends? I will go see this when it comes out for sure.

  8. The film plot sounds interesting. Interesting and informative interview, as well. I first saw the trailer on YouTube. It looks like a film that could be taken from the headlines with some changes to make it less disturbing. Where the kidnapper is a woman rather than a man. Had he choosen a handsome young man returning from combat, this movie would be very disturbing and most likely be closer to reality than we all care to admit. I'll be interested in learning why this woman chooses a 14 year old to stalk and kidnapped. Is it simply for sexual reasons, or is there more behind the purpose and the plot than what the trailer shows? I can't say I particularly like the explosive collar gimic. First hand look through the trailer, cheapens it. My first reaction was “yeah right!” Seems I recall seeing an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie once with explosive collars. Perhaps it will be more believable when I see the movie and not just the trailer.

    Personally I don't see TJ Plunkett's acting skills coming across in the trailor. He appears to hold the same expression wihout much deviation throughout the trailer. Looks wise, he's convincing in the role. Young, athletic and handsome.

    In all, thumbs up to Stephen Ryder for nixing the “been there, done that” idea of the man kidnapping the girl and trying something different, though I have to say this looks like a movie for the Lifetime channel.

    Will be interested in reading your interview with TJ and read his thoughts about the movie and his relationship with Brett Helsham during filming.

  9. Trailer looks really interesting. Is something I never thought about. But it sorts of remind me of an episode of Doogie Howser M.D. When and old lady doctor ask him for his sperm, because she doesn't care about having a partner/boyfriend/lover/husband. She only wants to keep going with the species and she needs the sperm of a smart young man.

  10. What an interesting interview you got with Stephen Ryder! I recenty watched L.I.E and i sure hope this movie will be as good as LIE.

    Both the plot and the trailer seems to be very interesting so i can guarantee you that i will watch it as soon as they release it on dvd.

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