From Turbo Kid to Jonah: A Conversation with Munro Chambers for the Release of HARPOON
With his perfect family and perfect upbringing, Richard (Christopher Gray) appears to have it all. So when he thinks that his long-term girlfriend, Sasha (Emily Tyra), and best-friend, Jonah (Munro Chambers), are having an affair, it sends him into a fit of rage that leaves Jonah a bloody mess. Once Jonah and Sasha convince Richard the allegations are false, Richard tries to buy back their trust by taking them out for a day-trip on his family’s yacht.
Tension boils-over once out to sea, and, to make matters worse, the yacht’s engine fails. Stranded without food and supplies, the trio must set aside their differences in order to survive. One part post-modern Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, one part Knife in the Water with the cast of Seinfeld, Harpoon is a wickedly humorous and bloody deconstruction of friendship and love.
In our interview, The Fan Carpet‘s Jonathan Hughes in association with The Killer Spotlight Podcast spoke to Munro Chambers about HARPOON. In a interview spot forever known as HARPOONAPALOZZA, Munro tells Jon about working with Emily, Christopher and Rob, his dream role and being in awe of Jovanka Vuckovic…
It was very funny. It was just three teenagers, well not teenagers, just three young people, three young adults who seem to make the worst decisions ever on boats.
(laughs) Yeah they’re not good people and they made the wrong nautical decisions that’s for sure.
Absolutely. So what research did you do when you were getting ready to play this rather uniquely written character?
Yeah for Jonah what we did was, what I loved about was when I was sent the script I was told to look at Jonah and, his name was something different when I first read it, but Mike Petersen, who I did Knuckleball with, he was producing Harpoon and he said “you should look at it?” and I said “okay”, and I just loved the arc. There was nothing, you know there’s research I did for certain psyche’s and certain, you know, it’s not split personalities but just what Jonah does throughout and how damaged he is and how it’s a little PTSD of what he’s gone through in his life and how that translates into a very scary person. But other than that everything was just on the page, like Rob wrote a great script and I just wanted to make sure what was on the page came through correctly and what we were going to do with Jonah with little interruption. I feel like he was happy with it and I was happy to play it.
Fantastic yeah. We’re keeping it spoiler free as it’s released tomorrow as well here in the UK. So what was it like working with Emily, Christopher and Rob?
It was fantastic. It was really really good because it was a very intimate situation not only in the script but but also as a film, because we had a small crew and we filmed in Calgary and Belize and I think we created some very special bonds, Emily and Chris are two people I talk to, who I’ve become friends with and same with Rob. And they’re just, everyone was just 100% committed and when you’re doing a film like this which is very unique and very beside itself and brave you have to be 100% committed and everybody was and we just had fun trying to play with different genres and with different deliveries. It was a blast.
That’s good. What new experiences did you learn from being part of this production?
Oh what new experiences? New experience? There wasn’t anything, honestly, other than filming in Belize which was wild. I would probably say filming in Belize because when we were filming it we were kind of sleeping 50 yards way from where we were filming, where the yacht was, that we where all embarking on. So that an interesting experience just kind of filming abroad outside of the Americas, so that was really really cool and just taking a small little shuttle plane to and from work on a couple of days, that was pretty fun.
That’s cool man. You go through some changes in this film, I mean physically as well, it’s in the trailer anyway, you do have a little accident with your hand, that seems to pick up throughout the movie. There’s some interesting effects, practical effects done on your arm, how long did that all take to put on and was it uncomfortable at all?
Yeah it was a little uncomfortable, you know it’s in the trailer, there’s a fair bit of blood in this and most of the blood was done while we were filming in Calgary and that’s like negative 20/25 in February, so that’s pretty cold and it’s sticky. But it was nothing compared to some other prosthetics I’ve done, when I wad doing Knuckleball that whole prosthetic make-up took a whole 2/2 and half hours and that was a lot more intricate, but, you know, Ashley who was our key make-up, she was so wonderful with it and was such a professional and really made us feel comfortable so it was never an issue.
That’s cool man. I have to ask, would you rather be in a post apocalyptic 1997 getting hunted down by Michael Ironside or stuck on a boat with the less tempered Christopher Gray and Emily Tyra?
(laughs) That’s really hard, especially just given the…..I don’t….it’s hard to turn down the power suit to be honest., it’s hard to turn down the Turbo blaster. I don’t know, I don’t think I can pick, I really don’t think so, you know, I think they both have their positives and both have their negatives. Ironside is terrifying but at the same time Chris and Emily are pretty damn sneaky, so I don’t know, I don’t think I can pick and I don’t think it would be totally fair if I did.
(laughs) That’s cool man. Right I’ve been asking the other two, I’ve been asking Rob and Emily the same question, just a little trivia question. So if you where on a boat and then the boat was stuck and you were stranded, who would you love to be stranded on a boat with and who would you hate to be stranded on a boat with?
Oh wow. Who would I love? I think I’d love to be stranded with Viggo Mortensen because based on what I’ve heard about how he prepares for films I feel like he’s just so prepared for a situation like that, I feel like he’s already done the research. I heard that when he was doing Lord of the Rings he was actually camping on the hillside, so I feel like throughout all of his films he’d be able to figure out….if you watch the film what we do is not the best. The person I would hate to be with, who would I hate to be with? I’m just trying to think of someone who just asks a lot of questions or just wouldn’t stop talking. You know a certain character that would be like ‘let’s just be quiet we’re on a boat for how long, just shut it’ but one’s not coming to mind right now.
It sounds like the same person Rob was referring to. I asked Rob this question and he was referring to he was stuck on a boat once, only for 12 hours, and there was someone on there that he wanted to chuck off, and it sounds like the person you were talking about.
Absolutely. I feel like in that situation you’ve got to try and be as calm as possible and try not to get on each others nerve, but sometimes there’s always that person that just, you know, feels like they have to talk and it’s just like “we could die! Just shut it” but you know, you never know. Hopefully I never find myself in that situation so.
Of course. Now because of the scheduling of the interviews, I asked Emily and Rob to each pick a one question for you. Like Emily had to pick a question for Rob and you and then Rob had to pick a question for you. Emily is probably going to kill me because I wrote the question down but in a not so explained kind of way, just like in a rushed kind of way basically when I was doing this. But it was to do with your character Jonah, on a scale of 1 to 10, do you like Jonah or do you feel like Jonah sometimes? I think that’s what she meant.
On a scale from one to ten, do I like or do I feel like Jonah?
Yeah. Or do you relate to Jonah? I think that’s what she was on about.
So 10 being I relate to Jonah a lot and 1 being absolutely not!
Not at all. Yeah
So definitely a 1.
Definitely a 1? (laughs)
Yeah and maybe that… I don’t want to give too much…. yeah definitely a 1. I think maybe there’s moments where it’s a 2 or 3, but definitely a 1.
Definitely a 1. This is what happens when I don’t go back and listen to my… I was listening to some of the recording earlier and with Rob, but maybe could have listened in when she was asking that question maybe. Hey it’s episode 1 guys, give me a few dozen episodes and we’ll get there (laughs). But Rob asked ‘You’ve been playing quite a lot of villain roles lately, but you have played hero roles in the past’, but he’s asking specifically ‘What would be your dream role in general?’
That’s really hard. He knows as much as anybody that any role, if I get the opportunity to choose something, I want to play something that’s challenging, something that I can really sink my teeth into, that kind of……I don’t know, that’s really any role. I’d love to do a biopic of specific people, I’ve always loved to play certain disorders whether it’s mental or physical, I got the pleasure of playing a character who had turrets once and bi-polar and manic depressant, you know, that kind of journey where it all happens and , you know, if there’s ever a biopic of Michael J. Fox and his…..because personally I have experience in that field, so if I ever have the opportunity to play a biopic of Michael J. Fox and that journey, especially because of how amazing of a man he is I think that would be an absolute pleasure. But also just to be in something like Lord of the Rings or something and be like a Jedi which would be the best (laughs)
Hell yeah. Well you go the Amazon show haven’t you? The Amazon Lord of the Rings 1 billion dollar season coming up. I don’t think they’ve started filming or they have started filming….
Absolutely, if they just need to a background elf or a little hobbit in the back I’d be happy to join (laughs).
Yeah. Rian Johnson I think he was doing a Star Wars trilogy, now he’s not doing a Star Wars trilogy, they’re just going to milk so much Star Wars stuff after Rise of Skywalker anyway. So they’ll be plenty of opportunities to get a Star Wars role knowing them, knowing Disney.
Absolutely. You know, I think every actor has those trilogies or those fantasy stories they want to be in whether it be Harry Potter, Star Wars even the X-Men. I remember the best question I got was when we were filming Turbo Kid and doing all the press releases was ‘what about playing a superhero was great?’ and my answer was always the same, when I was really young I wanted Professor Xavier to knock on my door and say, you know, ‘you have very special abilities, come to the school and we’ll help you, teach you how to harness them’, so it was kind of like my (experience?) to do that. I think there’s so many…..as an actor, there’s some actors, you know, who kind of get stuck in a corner and people like to play specific things, but for me personally I like to play as far of a range as I possibly can, I grew up idolising actors with great range and so if I ever get the chance to play something out of my comfort zone or out of the realm that some people view me as, I’ll jump at that. So it’s hard to pick just one dream role because there’s many.
Yeah that makes a lot of sense yeah. I was asking Rob usually this is the scene I usually ask ‘What’s up next? What are you doing next?’ and I gave this question to Rob and he says he was focusing on writing his next project and he was discussing viewing the indie scene and how difficult the indie scene is or getting recognised by the likes of these big superhero Marvel movies, and what are your thoughts on that?
Do you think the films like the MCU’s or the DC, are superhero movies ruining it for the independent scene or is it just the independent scene more like ‘no no we’ll just get on with our own thing and we’ll make it our own terms’, what do you think?
That’s difficult right, because I think there’s a lot of indie films that are just (stopping?) from the underground and are really getting a voice and they’re getting a platform. There’s always going to be the lower budgeted indie films and the higher budget blockbusters and I think that’ll take a long time for it all to even out. And just because there are so many people that enjoy them, you know, there’s people who enjoy those big blockbuster films where people say it’s the same over and over again but it’s a formula that works, and then there’s indie films that people find is too complex and can’t follow it, but then there’s people who love it. So it’s in a very, I hate playing the political answer, but because art is so subjective and it’s based on your own view point over whether to determine it as good or bad or whatever it is, it’s very hard when many people like both sides.
So, you know, again my job is just performance, Rob is there as the director/producer/editor it’s a totally different side of the world and I totally respect his opinion and his viewpoint because he has that experience, but for me I love performing in either and also just love viewing them too. So it’s difficult, it’s hard.
Yeah I understand. Yeah so like I say, what you up to next?
So a couple of things. You know, we’re getting Harpoon out, which is great. Riot Girls has been released with Jovanka Vuckovic…
Is that how you pronounce her name?
Yeah, Jovanka, I always mess it up Vjokvic or Vukovic. I think it’s Vuckovic. Jovanka is her first name, is wonderful. Riot Girls has now been released which is fantastic, I got a film coming out that’ll be releasing in a North American premiere at the Whistler Film Festival called Entangled, it’s a Sci-Fi thriller about three quantum physicists who are trying to, oh what’s the word?, it’s basically they’re trying to prove quantum entanglement and they’re trying to break through that realm and they’re successful and there are consequences to that, so it’s a sci-fi thriller which is very exciting.
Nice that’s really good. Riot Girls, I am really keen to see Riot Girls because I liked her shorts that she did for XX and I watched it at the Prince Charles Cinema when it came out and there was a Q and A, a Skype Q and A with her.
Yeah she’s fantastic, it’s funny we did a press release when we did Fantasia Montreal and there’s a lot of it where I was, we’re doing the interviews together and I just catch myself just listening, I’m in the interview with her but I’m just kind of drawn and I just become an audience member because she’s so well spoken and I guess she has a journalists background so that really really helps that, but she’s so has such a presence to her and when she’s filming and she’s directing us she’s so… she just really cares about her actors and wants to hear our opinions and when she directs you she’s direct but she’s willing to collaborate and, you know, I feel like she’s been very successful at this and I’m really excited to see what she does after this, hopefully I can be a part of it with her at one point.
Yeah well definitely I’d love to have her on as a future guest someday and talk about Riot Girls and beyond definitely.
HARPOON IS AVAILABLE NOW