500 years ago William Shakespeare penned the definitive opus of power, greed, revenge, fear and murder. The tale was set in the Scottish highlands during medieval times, when clan warfare was common and people would stop at nothing to achieve their claim to the throne. Actor/director Josh Murray’s compelling short film, The Soliloquy, shifts the scene from medieval Scotland to contemporary Washington, D.C. to prove that the only thing that really changes about human nature is the clothes we wear.
Mike Parker – “Power never goes out of style.” That’s the tagline for your short film, The Soliloquy, which is based on the immortal Bard’s most famous tragedy, MacBeth. What attracted you to The Scottish Play?
Josh Murray – My first encounter with the story was when I was a still a kid. I watched Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood which was based on MacBeth. I remember being impacted by moments like when the Lady MacBeth character was washing her hands. Even as a kid I was fascinated with the obsession about striving for power and the terrible spider’s web that can evolve as a result; that slippery slope. It affected me deeply. When I read MacBeth later in life, it was like déjà vu. I decided I wanted to make a film around the same time I decided to try my hand at Shakespeare. It just kind of coincided.
Parker – Beyond acting in the film, what other involvement did you have?
Murray – I produced it. I directed. It was my vision. I assembled the small core of filmmakers to help me complete the vision. It was my first time to make a film. The words are obviously from Shakespeare, but I crafted the contemporary storyline, in the halls of power in Washington, D.C.
Parker – You are inviting viewers to enter the mind of MacBeth. What kind of challenge was it to distill the essence of a three-hour play into an 11-minute film?
Murray – It was interesting. It was an organic process. I kind of entered it through the title, The Soliloquy, which is a construct in theater that invites the audience into the mind of the character. As a film device it is a bit artificial, but it works. My goal was to take that pivitol theatrical moment, and with film you can not only hear his thoughts but you can see his thoughts being played out. It reflects these towering visuals and sounds and music that accompany his mental process and deliberation.
Parker – You’ve got some unique plans for getting the film ‘out there.’ Can you talk about those plans?
Murray – August 6 The Soliloquy is debuting for a limited time on YouTube. In the interim we have what we call a ‘twitter-verse’ transmedia campaign to try to expand the reach to social media. Fans can get additional material and interact with the story.
Parker – What’s coming up next for you?
Murray – Next month I’m going to be on NBC’s action-comedy buddy-cop shop, Taxi Brooklyn in a guest role. I’m also working on a independent project called The Rangers, a fantasy film where I’ll be playing an elven warrior. I’m very excited about it. Anyone who is a fan of middle earth will dig it.
Parker – Last words?
Murray – If I’ve learned anything from making this film it’s that we shouldn’t do anything with a half-measure. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. But you shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk, or wait for permission to create something. Be dedicated and take a chance and make it happen. You’ll create joy in yourself and you’ll impact others.
The Seven Questions
1. What’s your favorite sound?
Murray – Waves of the ocean.
2. What makes you happy?
Murray – Seeing little babies smile.
3. What makes you angry?
Murray – Injustice. When people use their position of power to take advantage of the weak.
4. What is the secret of success?
Murray – Knowing what success is for you. If you allow another person’s definition or your own preconceptions of success to overshadow you, you’ll never be a success, or you won’t know it when you achieve it.
5. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, living or dead, who would it be?
Murray – Sir Francis Drake
6. What is the epitaph that is written on your tombstone?
Murray – “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
7. When you get to heaven, what is the first thing you want to hear God say to you?
Murray – “It is finished. You don’t have to try anymore.”