×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Phil Burgers Talks Starring in Carlos Reygadas’ ‘Nuestro Tiempo’

Award-winning multi-hyphenate Phil Burgers spent half his life traveling the world, living abroad in South America and Europe, before training at the prestigious French clown school, Ecole Philippe Gaulier — a workshop that has also trained Sacha Baron Cohen and Roberto Benigni. Acclaimed filmmaker Carlos Reygadas (“Silent Light,” “Post Tenebras Lux”) took note of Burgers’ work, and cast him in his latest opus, “Nuestro Tiempo,” which focuses on a Mexican family living in the country raising fighting bulls. The pic debuts at the Venice Film Festival. Burgers spoke with Variety about stepping in front of the camera for Reygadas, his background in comedy and what he has in store for the future.

How did you get involved with “Nuestro Tiempo”?
Carlos had seen a television special I did in the U.K. with Channel 4, and because I’m not a classically trained actor, and that’s what Carlos looks for when he does his casting — he never works with professional actors — he sparked to my work and asked me to be a part of his world. He was looking for an American cowboy, and at first I was a little hesitant, but then I watched four of his films and I said that I absolutely had to be a part of whatever he was doing. He’s not driven by the traditional three-act structure and there’s nothing Hollywood-esque about him.

What was it like collaborating with an auteur like Reygadas?
Watching Carlos work was amazing because he’s entirely doing his own thing, and never trying to appease anyone or fit any molds. He’s a master of his craft and yet extremely human and relatable and down to earth. It’s easy to connect with him as a human being, and he’s very much focused and concerned with the people who are all around him. He brought about a very communal atmosphere on set which was great to experience, considering how intense the material gets during the story.

What’s your background?
My background is in comedy, especially visual comedy, and I did some clown training in France and participated in comedy festivals all over the world. I also run the Lyric Hyperion Theater in Silver Lake. I’m interested in making human connections through comedy and better understanding other people’s cultures in a relevant and entertaining way.

How did your award-winning short film “The Passage” get made?
I partnered with Super Deluxe and “The Passage” and it’s had a terrific run. My character goes on a wild adventure all over the world without speaking the various native languages of the people he comes into contact with, and there are two guys who are in pursuit. It’s really an exploration of culture through comedy.

What are you working on now?
I’d love to develop “The Passage” into a feature, and I want to continue to focus on creating visually driven comedy, and getting those projects seen by a wider audience while always retaining a cinematic approach. I just want to demonstrate a sense of comedic joy and playfulness in all of my work.

More Film

  • Glass trailer

    'Glass': Five Box Office Takeaways From M. Night Shyamalan's Thriller

    With his fifth No. 1 box office opening, M. Night Shyamalan has plenty to celebrate. “Glass,” the conclusion to a trilogy that consists of the 2000 cult hit “Unbreakable” and 2016’s box office sensation “Split,” topped the box office last weekend — though its win comes with a few caveats. Related Monument Releasing Seals North [...]

  • Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama

    Berlin: Patra Spanou Picks Up Panorama Title 'Family Members' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Patra Spanou has picked up world sales rights to “Los miembros de la familia” (Family Members), which will world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section. Variety has been given an exclusive first look of the film’s trailer. The film is the second feature from writer/director Mateo Bendesky, and is produced by Agustina Costa [...]

  • Great Point Media, The Development Partnership

    Great Point Media, The Development Partnership Join Forces on Slate of Movies

    Great Point Media and The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of Robert Taylor’s talent agency the Artists Partnership, are joining forces to develop, package, and co-produce multiple films, kicking off with three projects, including “Chasing Agent Freegard,” starring James Norton (“War & Peace”). “Chasing Agent Freegard,” which is being produced by “Captain Phillips” [...]

  • Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’

    Berlin: FiGa Acquires ‘Landless,’ Drops ‘Hormigas’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s Miami-based FiGa Films, a leading sales agent on the independent Latin American scene, has announced the acquisition of Brazilian doc “Landless,” and released a trailer for the Costa Rican-Spanish drama “El despertar de las hormigas.” Both features will play at this year’s Berlinale Forum and come from young Latin American filmmakers making their [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to

    Ryan Reynolds Cancels Arm Surgery to Promote 'Deadpool 2' in China

    Ryan Reynolds canceled surgery on his arm to fly to China and charm “Deadpool” fans in Beijing on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s unexpected China theatrical debut. Just last week, Fox suddenly announced that a re-cut, PG-13 “Deadpool 2” would hit Chinese theaters starting this Friday – the first time the notoriously blood-splattered and foul-mouthed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content