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Declan Quinn

Breakfast on Pluto

Key credits: “Leaving Las Vegas,” “28 Days,” “In America”

Awards: Independent Spirit laurels for “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love,” “In America”

Connection: “I had known (‘Breakfast on Pluto’ director) Neil Jordan for a while. My brother (Aidan) has acted in his films and I met him visiting the set of ‘Michael Collins.’ The Irish filmmaking community is pretty small; I heard he was doing this film and we got in touch with each other and it happened. I read the script, which I liked a lot. I went to high school in Ireland in the ’70s, so it’s a period I was very familiar with. That made it more fun to shoot because I was using a lot of my memories of that period and how things felt and looked at that time. Of course Neil had the same experience; we’re close to each other in age, and the character in the film is probably about our age as well. So that was very helpful.”

Equipment: “We used the Arricam LT as our main camera and the main film stocks were Kodak 5218 for night exterior, and night and day interior; Kodak 5205 for day exterior; and Fuji 500 daylight film for some of the night exterior scenes where fire was involved.”

Challenge: “The schedule was very tight, and we were always in a new location, sometimes two or three times a day. We spent two weeks in a small town called Callan in County Kilkenny; then we had to move to Dublin, then to Belfast and finally London. So the logistics of moving and then getting the camera up and running again and rehearsed was challenging. But Neil was very concise about what he wanted, and we had prepped it in such a way that it was doable.”

Setback and solution: “We switched the crew in Belfast (and later London) and had to get used to a whole new group of people, and you have to adjust and still be able to stay on schedule. So there were compromises made in how we shot stuff and how quickly we lit stuff, and some of it shows in the movie. The way to get around it is simplifying setups until we get up to speed again.”

Creative mantra: “Ask myself if I believe what’s happening in front of the camera. Is it real? Does it feel natural? I’m trying to be the first audience member.”

Upcoming: “Right now I’m working on a film with (director) Gavin O’Connor called ‘Pride and Glory.’ It’s a family police drama in New York City. The biggest challenge is going to be to try to find a fresh way to do a police drama where it feels real and not like something we’ve seen a hundred times before.”

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