Director, Tony Aloupis, talks highly anticipated feature ‘Safelight’

By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Tony Aloupis

Actors Evan Peters, and Juno Temple in Safelight.
Actor Evan Peters, and Actress Juno Temple on the set of Safelight.

Director Tony Aloupis, talks exclusively about making the highly anticipated feature Safelight. The film stars renown talent Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass), Kevin Alejandro (True Blood), Jason Beghe (Californication), and Ariel Winter (Modern Family).

Your first writing credit was for the feature film Sugar. What inspired you to become a screenwriter?

I was formerly a musician and I felt comfortable writing within a structured song format. When I decided to write more, I found the same structure in screenplays. That’s what led me into screenwriting.

Safelight tells the touching story of a teenage boy and girl as they go on a road trip to photograph lighthouses. Can you tell us where the idea came from?

I used to take a train into Manhattan for writing classes and there was a kid on the same train who had CP. I wondered how he might come to accept his affliction. I liked the idea of young people helping each other believe in themselves. And, the lighthouses added visual and thematic dynamics.

Evan Peters also gave one incredible lead performance as handicapped Charles. How do you achieve making Evan crippled in the film?

I studied the different ways CP could affect someone. Then, Evan and I discussed Charles and which type would fit him. It came down to Evan feeling good about this direction. During filming, it was all Evan making Charles’s handicap real.

Safelight tells the story of a teenage boy and girl who discover a renewed sense of possibility as they go on a road trip to photograph lighthouses along the California coast.

Everyone knows California is famous for it’s beautiful lighthouses. How many lighthouses did you actually visit during production?

We actually shot 3 lighthouses: Point Arena, Point Cabrillo and Pigeon Point.

Safelight was shot in the vast California desert. Can you give us some insight into the location scouting for Safelight?

We started in LA and went north until we found lighthouses that we loved. The northern California lighthouses were perfect for the way we wanted to shot the scenes. The furthest north we went was Mendicino.

Actor Evan Peters, and Actress Juno Temple in Safelight.
Actor Evan Peters, and Actress Juno Temple in promotional posters for Safelight.


The immensely talented Ariel Winter from Modern Family plays Vicki’s little sister Kate. How did Ariel approach acting in such a dramatic role being so well-known for playing Alex Dunphy on Television?

Ariel is so prepared and professional. We briefly discussed her character and she ran with it. She needed very little direction from me.

Rising actress Juno Temple gave a breathtaking lead performance as Vicki. How did you end-up casting Juno?

Our casting agents, Nancy Nayor and Andy Henry, sent the script out to the talent agencies and the response was amazing. Juno came in for an audition and then came back to read with Evan and we decided that she was the one. She had an incredible understanding of the character of Vicki.

Safelight features the music of alternative rock band Typhoon performing there single Young Fathers.

Safelight recently screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival back in April. What has been the audience reaction so far?

The audience reaction has been fantastic. People seem to respond to different aspects of the film.

Safelight is a perfect example of how one can tell a beautiful story while, still getting captivating performances. Do you have any advice for our readers who might be looking to choosing screenwriting as a profession?

I think you have to learn the craft and then write as much as possible. Everything you write is important to developing your skills.

Lastly we’ve gotten requests asking where people can view the film. Do you have any more upcoming festival screenings for Safelight?

We have actually just sold the film to a domestic distributor and it looks like we will have a theatrical and digital release very soon!

Follow Safelight on Twitter, and Facebook.

Watch the official trailer for Safelight in selected theaters July 17th, 2015.