Forget worrying about traditions like having the groom not see the bride in the wedding dress before the wedding or wearing something blue. Apparently, when planning for a wedding, the best way toward wedded bliss is to use that time to write a movie- or, at least that's what worked for filmmakers Michael Ciulla and Sara Lindsay. The dynamic duo spent their engagement writing a script for their newest film, the psychological thriller Blue Jay, that proves that these two aren't just an adventurous couple, they are adventurous auteurs as well.
Both Lindsey and now-husband Ciulla take on several hats for their passion project as they not only co-wrote the movie, but each of them maintain other functions as well. While Michael steps behind the camera as the film's director, Sara steps in front, taking on the role of the leading character Ashley- a girl who becomes the twisted obsession of a bunch of mountain men atop Mount Whitney.
And while that may just be the plot of the film, it's easy to see why Sara is the apple of Michael's eye. The dazzling actress isn't really your typical bride, spending the the days before her wedding in a freezing cold lake to make sure to get a shot right. Having already acted alongside such humongous talents like Viola Davis and Francis McDormand, and highly admiring actresses like Emily Blunt and Amy Adams, if there is one thing that Lindsey is dedicated to, it's her craft- and it's that passion and integrity for great art that clearly lights Ciulla's fire even on top of the coldest mountains- which is sure to lead to a very successful work relationship, and an even more successful marriage.
Excited to talk about their new film, the newlyweds sat down for an interview to fill fans in on what they can expect from Blue Jay, and take some questions on what else they would love to do, who else they would love to work with, and what it's like working together. Read on for more!
So, "Blue Jay" sounds pretty intense, and fans can really expect a gripping roller coaster! Why don't you tell audiences what it's about and what they can expect?
MICHAEL CIULLA: Blue Jay follows Ashley, who goes on a kind of a hiking date. She's seeing this guy, and she's on the precipice of what you'd call "boyfriend-girlfriend". It's a modern relationship, they're not quite there yet, and they go on a hike of Mount Whitney which is in-between hike. It's the tallest mountain in the lower 48, so it's quite challenging, but it's not a technical climb. You don't have to use ropes and carabineers to get up it. While on the trip, they run into a group of lightweight backpackers who've been out in the wilderness for a very long time. The hikers form a strange obsession with Ashley and...I don't want to reveal any more than that!
SARA LINDSEY: It's a classic thriller with a psychological twist.
And not only do you guys both write, but you also wear multiple hats with Michael taking on the role of director, and Sara taking on the role of star. Talk about that a bit.
SARA LINDSEY: We wrote the film with the intention for us to make it, which was really fun. It was great being part of the entire process from start to finish.
MICHAEL CIULLA: Directing something that I was a part of writing allowed me to pre-visualize the film, and when you write the script yourself I think you kind of get to take a step out of the process and write it the way you imagine it. As far as working on the script with Sara, I think developing the character was much easier and more specific because it really allowed us to channel the thoughts of the character into the script. I think when you rehearse and shoot a movie, you kind of re-write it a little bit to fit the talent anyway, so going through the process with her just allowed us to be specific from the jump.
SARA LINDSEY: Due to the high altitudes and weather on set, we had a limited time to rehearse and shoot. We were dealing with snow, water, running, extreme temperatures... there were a lot of elements in play. So having in-depth conversations during the writing process helped me get inside the mind of the character and start really working on the story before we got to set.
And this was really what you did instead of planning your wedding correct? You got to work and filmed a movie on top of a mountain? Tell fans about that!
MICHAEL CIULLA: We decided to do a very small destination wedding. The main planning of the wedding was just getting everyone there, but once we were there it was very contained. So, we were able to focus on the movie completely. It also kind of turned into the ultimate test of whether or not we were destined to get married. If our relationship could survive making this movie in these intense conditions, we could get through anything.
SARA LINDSEY: Yeah, we basically planned the wedding via email in the months leading up, and put all of our energy into the movie. We picked our first dance song fifteen minutes before the reception. But it was amazing!
Sara, you've already co-starred with some big names like will Smith in "Concussion," Viola Davis in "Won't Back Down," and Francis McDormand in "Promised Land." Who else would you love to work with, and love to have in one of your films?
SARA LINDSEY: I'm dying to work with Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. If I could have either or both of them in a movie I was making, that would be a dream come true. I've met both of them socially, and haven't completely confessed to them my adoration because I think it would freak them out. But they're both insanely talented, and they are huge inspirations for me.
Moving forward, what kind of films are you excited to make? Is there anything else in the works that you guys are thinking up that fans can look out for?
MICHAEL CIULLA: We have written another film, but we're not going to give away too much yet. It has a different sort of structure, we're kind of making it with a different format, but we have a great cast put together and are really excited to be starting another film together. I think in general we'd like to continue to try and make experiential movies. I think we both enjoy really immersing ourselves. They might not always be this physically challenging, but you never know.
SARA LINDSEY: I'm so excited for this next project. Mostly because I don't have to jump into a frozen lake, but also because working with Mike is truly my favorite thing in the world!
And luckily for Sara, she now gets to work with Mike for the rest of her life and continue to make beautiful magic- on screen and off.
Blue Jay will be released by Gravitas on December 6th.