In February, DC Movie Examiner caught up with writer/director Nicholas Richards and talked to him about his new movie, Normal, which is set to make its world premiere at the DC Independent Film Festival on March 9th. In his interview, Richards gives us background about "Normal" and the process regarding how it came to be.
What compelled you to make this movie?
I finished my first feature and it didn’t really do much [laughs]… It was a learning process, so I was in a place where I wasn’t sure if I was gonna keep doing it or not and then we moved to the south side of Chicago. And the people that I met there were odd beyond any conceivable explanation [laughs]. They had amazing stories that kind of… stories where you hear and don’t believe, y’know? Oh, you woke up in a car with three chicks heading to the same…. And you don’t know how you got there… that kind of thing. It’s constant out there. So, not that any of those stories specifically made it into the film but I wanted to capture all the stories I got from all the weirdos from Northwest Indiana and the Southside of Chicago [laughs].
Did that then bring about the gorilla suit?
Yeah, yeah. The gorilla suit was kind of a mixture between a friend that had… an actor friend got a couple jobs doing a photo shoot where he had to wear this pink bunny outfit while he had to look very pensive and sad and that triggered memories of when I was a kid. My dad for Halloween one year dressed as a gorilla and it had red flashing eyes. So there’s this family story where [my dad] on Halloween went over to his cousin’s house and almost broke down the door and picked up his cousin and was running. And she had no idea who it was. So, my dad’s running around the yard with her and she’s freaking out. And so it’s become this holiday story that we tell every time we get together. We had the gorilla suit in the basement. I wore it one year for Halloween. Me and my sister would wear it just to play, so I just had this picture of this gorilla suit and needed to make it into something… [laughs].
So why Normal, Illinois?
Well, it ended up being a… a majority of the narrative ended up being a road trip from Chicago to Normal, Illinois, which my sister went to college there. And just the fact that there’s a town called Normal was fascinating. And of course, that had to make it into the film and it kind of became the underlying theme of the film is what is normal... If you care to get that deep into it. But yeah, because the story is about the people I met there, it made sense to anchor it.
For more information and to get tickets to see "Normal", check out the DC Independent Film Festival website.