Webseries are a great avenue for creative individuals to put forth some truly unique and “out-there” content which might not be able to find a placement on traditional television. A new webseries titled “Swerve” certain fits that description. A first for both director/producer Pasha Eshghi and ‘Vikings’ star Alexander Ludwig, “Swerve” is a zany action-comedy that will debut on YouTube on Thursday, February 25, 2016.
“Swerve” follows the never-ending disasters of lead character Reuben, a doltish chauffeur who “loses” a bag of the mob’s money after they flag down his limousine as a get-a-way car. In retribution for his loss, mob boss Hermann “convinces” Reuben to become his driver, and after witnessing what happens to people who cross the boss, Reuben heartily agrees to his new assignment.The relationship soon sours when Reuben gets on a roll of accidentally murdering people as the series progresses and chaos and calamity erupts everywhere they swerve.
R-rated show stars the hot Alexander Ludwig of ‘Vikings’ and ‘Hunger Games’ fame alongside Louis Dupuis and Al Dales. Alexander Ludwig is mostly known for playing dramatic roles but he readily admitted to having truly enjoyed his time working on this comedy. “My character Dr. Delucchi is psychotic, the irony being that he is a psychiatrist,” Alexander explained. “He is this eccentric personality who doesn’t follow the rules and takes what he wants. He is an absolute nut job.” Dr. Delucchi is, of course, poor Reuben’s shrink thus adding great velocity to the downward spiral the young man’s life has taken since he ‘lost’ mob money and later accidentally murdered a mob member.
Hermann is a career criminal but he has a good heart as far as homicidal hard-asses go,” says Dales of his mob boss character. “He has a soft spot for his pet limo driver since Reuben saved his life. It’s the same kind of affection that someone might have for a goofy puppy that lasts right up until the 47th time the puppy pees on your favourite suede shoes, only Reuben ain’t peein’ on shoes, he’s accidentally killing my boys.” The driving force behind all of this frivolity is Pasha Eshghi who says that after doing a few short films he was ready to do something bigger. “The web series format of storytelling is a rapidly expanding avenue of filmmaking, but it is still one that is full of untapped potential and so it’s an exciting medium to be a part of.”
Pasha Eshghi and Dupuis started writing scripts in September 2014 before going into prep at the end of January 2015. They shot for a total of 18 days but split it into 4-5 day chunks over the course of a few months. The total budget for the production was $76K, $60K of which was raised privately and an additional $16K was raised through a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Recently Pasha Eshghi, the director, producer and writer, spoke to the Examiner about his experiences working on this film. Pasha was born and raised in Vancouver, BC and attended the film program at the University of British Columbia where he graduated in 2015. He created “Swerve during” his last year of schooling as a personal project.
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to become a director?
Pasha Eshghi (P.E.): It all started back in high school drama class with my friend Louis Dupuis, who is the star of Swerve. We used to make short comedy videos in class and the more I did that, the more I realized it was something that I was passionate about. Since then we have continued to work together on videos with the goal of making each new one bigger and better than the last.
M.M.: Growing up, what kinds of shows–plays, TV shows, movies, etc.–had the biggest impact on you? Why?
P.E.: I loved watching movies and TV shows growing up, with my two favorite genres being action and comedy. It’s even better when the two are combined into one film – with some of the best action/comedies in my opinion being Bad Boys 2, the Rush Hour series, True Lies & Hot Fuzz. 24 is a TV series that I watched religiously growing up as well. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors and I definitely take a lot of inspiration from his gritty action sequences. So far all of my projects have been action/comedies and I don’t see that changing in the near future.
M.M.: What most appealed to you about “Swerve”?
P.E.: The more Louis (my co-writer) and I brainstormed about the concept, the more I realized its potential. The limo driver encountering different passengers allowed us a lot of freedom to introduce new characters with entirely different mini-stories within each episode whilst still having an over-arching through-line.
M.M.: What was it like to work with a big name like Alexander Ludwig?
P.E.: I have known Alexander since Grade 1, but this was my first time working with him and I was very impressed with his professionalism and talent. I had only seen him in dramatic roles prior to this, and I thought that he did a wonderful job in this comedic role. Such a big part of comedy is the on-set improv, and he came up with some spontaneous one-liners that Louis and I couldn’t have even dreamed of writing into the script.
M.M.: This sounds like one of the most off-beat yet hilarious comedies ever made. What was the script writing process like? Essentially, how on earth did you even think up these ideas?
P.E.: The script writing process was pretty much Louis and I meeting a few nights a week and spit-balling any and all ideas we had for things like what Reuben’s character would be like, who would be riding in the limo, what would happen in the end etc. We had many nights where no progress was made and that definitely caused some frustration but when we had a breakthrough and made strides it was a great feeling. Many of the ideas and jokes that ended up on-screen were a result of creative compromises that we made – Louis would have an idea that I vetoed, I would have an idea that Louis vetoed, so then we met somewhere in the middle.
M.M.: Are you planning to make more zany comedies in this style provided that “Swerve” is a success?
P.E.: Definitely. I’m not sure yet whether it will be a continuation of Swerve or a different project altogether but I intend to stay within this realm of outlandish action/comedy for the time being.
M.M.: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about being involved in the movie industry?
P.E.: The most rewarding thing so far was seeing Swerve come to fruition. It is by far my biggest project to-date and watching it come together was very exciting–from the first idea, to the writing process, to preproduction, to principal photography, to post production then finally to the big screen at the premiere. It was really rewarding to finally have it all come together after spending so much time and effort on every little aspect of it.
M.M.: Career wise, where do you hope to be in ten years?
P.E.: In ten years I hope to be doing what I am doing now but on a much bigger scale – directing blockbuster action/comedy movies.
M.M.: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
P.E.: Not as of right now, but hopefully soon!
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a director?
P.E.: I still have much to learn so I don’t think I’m in any position to be giving advice, but I think it’s important to just start doing it. Direct short films, music videos, whatever, and the more you do it the better you will get. Film is such a collaborative medium that it’s important as the director to be open to ideas and critiques from your creative team while at the same time holding true to your vision. I feel lucky to have been surrounded by such a talented and creative team that really helped make “Swerve” the best it could be.
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To learn more about “Swerve”, visit the official website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about Pasha visit his Instagram and Twitter. Louis Dupuis can be followed here.