Exclusive Interview With Ramaa Mosley On The Brass Teapot

We Got This Covered: Juno Temple and Michael Angarano have great chemistry together in this film. Was that the result of the actors really clicking together or was it something you worked on with them?

Ramaa Mosley: I think either people have it or they don’t. When we did our original reading with them it was clear they had it. It was like “woof!” It was palpable. There’s always this thing about actors falling in love on set, and I was like “you’re not allowed!” But you know people can’t help but fall in love with each other in some degree, and I think that what they did was really convey that feeling of love and adoration for each other so well. That’s chemistry. It either works or it doesn’t. I don’t know how it happens, but when it happens you get really lucky, and I got really, really lucky with Juno and Michael.

We Got This Covered: Regarding all the images of the teapot that we see during the opening credits, were those taken from history or were they created just for this movie or was it a combination of both?

Ramaa Mosley: Primarily they were taken from history from images provided by the Theosophist Society which I really encourage you to check out even though they’re protesting the movie. One of my friends said “it’s kind of like ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and the Catholic Church.” they’re protesting the movie because originally when I started making this project, I reached out to Dr. Ling who runs the Theosophist Society. I asked him a bunch of questions and I think he thought that I was making a documentary and he said of course I could use his name in the film. And then when he found out it was a feature film and he saw it had actors, he got really upset. Now there’s this whole big internet protest.

The opening sequence we worked really hard on. The thing about a little movie like this, and the budget was less than some of my commercials that I shoot on a regular basis, is that you make it by being creative and thinking of new ways to do something that other people might have millions to spend on. We had nothing, so I just thought about it a lot and I went and I did research and I found the images, and then I worked with a visual effects house called Brickyard and they brought on an amazing designer who created that whole book feel because I wanted it to be like the book in the story.

That’s the thing that’s so much fun about indie filmmaking; it is painful and challenging, but there’s so much that’s possible when you are allowed to just be completely creative. Being on commercials you can get really used to having money to spend, so this was a good experience to go through this. My father-in-law came and worked for a month on the set. He figured out the tube that would hook to the teapot that would shoot the money out, and he figured out the right paper for the hundred dollar bills because we had to print like thousands.

We Got This Covered: Robert Rodriguez once talked about how having less money to work with forces you to be more creative, and it sounds like that was the case for you on this film.

Ramaa Mosley: It was and I think Robert is actually such a great example of a director. Any per diem he would ever get on his films he would give to his brother to put him through college. Obviously this film is supposed to be an entertaining film, it’s a comedy, but there is also a message and I wonder if people will get it and I hope they appreciate it.

We’re living in a time where people are struggling financially with economic downturn, and do we really need to buy the next Smartphone? Do we need to buy the latest version of that car that we have? Is it okay to just not have a flat screen TV and just listen to the radio? I know I sound like I’m from the prairie days, but these are the things that I think about and that is the message that this couple starts off in this really simple situation and the simple life, and then they just go down this road of acquiring more and more stuff, and in the end they come back full circle.

We Got This Covered: It was cool to see Bobby Moynihan in this movie. What made you cast him as Chuck?

Ramaa Mosley: I love him, I love Bobby Moynihan! He’s so funny on Saturday Night Live! Everyday working with him was so fun. The thing about him is that he’s one of those guys who came up from Upright Citizens Brigade, and those actors are just genius at delivering the script and then making it so full of life and like play with it and are just throwing things out there. It was a lesson in real comic timing. They must have like super genius brains, especially Bobby because his brain works so fast. He would just come up with stuff, and to do that on the spot was like watching a really toned racehorse (laughs). Bobby would laugh at that description of himself.

That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Ramaa for her time. Be sure to check out The Brass Teapot, which hits theatres this Friday.