It’s nearly impossible to watch “Automotive” and not feel like a bug on the windshield. Writer/director Tom Glynn has crafted a contemporary film noir told from the perspective of 1964 Mercury. The action always takes place in and around this classic car.
“To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would feel to watch an entire movie from inside a car. That was the part of it for me that was exciting, to discover what that was like once we got it in the can and started looking at it and cutting it together,” Glynn said when reached via telephone. “I knew that was going to bring something powerful to the experience, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that was.”
Making its world premiere at Dance With Films 2013 in Hollywood, “Automotive” focuses on a troubled young man named Kansas (Will Estes). Trying to prove his worth to the beautiful Lonely (Emily Foxler), Kansas gets in too deep with the criminal element. As he struggles, the ever-vigilant Mercury stays silent and loyal to its owner.
“I think the car really starts to develop its own persona and perspective. It’s this weird combination of the car having a first-person point-of-view and also the car being a distant observer–and the car being an actor in the movie,” Glynn said.
Knowing he was going to shoot an entire movie in a car, space was an issue, especially in scenes with three or four actors sitting inside. With its exceptionally large interior, the Mercury lent itself to the role.
The director also wanted a vehicle that would be something more than just an old car to the audience.
“I was looking for something on the interior,” he explained. “For someone who’s a car buff, you could see details, little descriptors that would tell what kind of car this was and what year it was. But for the general audience, [I wanted] something that would look distinctive beyond just being old.”
While filming shots with multiple actors, Glynn said he could be found on the floorboards behind the backseat. “Watching the outtakes, you’ll see my head pop up like a groundhog,” Glynn said, laughing. “On one hand, it was tight. On the other hand, it was kind of awesome because wherever we went, the whole set and the whole personality of the movie came with us with the car.”
Glynn also points out that there’s a double-discontinuity in the narrative of the story. “On one hand, you are stuck in the car and you don’t get to see a story in continuity that you would normally get to see because you don’t always get to see what’s happening,” he explained.
The story also jumps back in time, fleshing out details about the relationship between Kansas and Lonely. The flashbacks also explain the reasons why Kansas does the things he does. “There’s a potential to get a little lost in the story. For myself, I tried to follow the deeper, emotional story as best I could. Sometimes we skip something, but we pick it up later on.”