Nima Nourizadeh Has Made a Film About a House Party
Nov 2 2011
Next March, Warner Brothers are releasing a film called Project X. It's the story of a house party gone wrong (not this one) after some kids posted an open invite on Facebook while their parents were away. We’re expecting The Daily Mail to get hilariously furious about it.
Director Nima Nourizadeh is a Brit now living in LA, and his previous work consists of mostly music videos made with Santigold, Hot Chip and Lily Allen, as well as those Adidas adverts with Missy Elliot and Snoop Dogg in them. We caught up with Nima to discuss his Hollywood debut.
VICE: Hi Nima, how are you doing?
Nima: I'm good man, how are you?
I'm OK. So how did you go from making music videos and adverts to Hollywood feature films?
The guys out here at Warner Brothers saw the things I did with Adidas, the house party commercial, and it got them excited. They wanted someone who could jump right in and make it fucking cool. Todd Philips [Road Trip, Old School, The Hangover] was a big help. The combination of his ideas and my style worked really well.
What did you want to bring to the table?
I tried to bring something fresh and not make a party movie that you've seen a million times before.
How did that work out?
Well, it's a party movie that doesn't hold back in any way. It was making sure you didn't move it too far from what kids are into: cool music, exciting visuals, funny moments, girls and guys; always completely natural. You can’t think, 'That's utter bullshit, that would never happen.' This movie starts off being funny and progresses into something else. It's sexy, and it gets dark.
Sex and the dark are two of my favourite things. So, was it all shot from one POV?
It's a kid filming it, and other kids with their flips and their phones. We sourced every bit of footage and cut it together. We handed out cameras to our extras, made sure lots of angles were being shot. I think it's a sign of technology and our times. Kids film themselves. We've all seen shitty, pixellated footage of something interesting happening on YouTube. Kids today, that's all they watch, really.
Were there restrictions with that type of filming?
We shot it all in one house, with no removable walls. I wanted where we shot to really limit me and restrict me in the way it would if I was really going to shoot a house party. I think it adds to the realism of the movie.
Let's talk about the kids in the film. It was open casting, right?
Yeah. Going for this realistic approach, we couldn't really cast any known characters, that would throw off the whole idea. Also these kids are supposed to be 17 and you don't have too many known faces at that age anyway. We spent months whittling down thousands. I'm happy with the guys we picked.
That's good. Did the rejects end up as extras?
Some who came close became, like, day players with a line part, or extras. Again, with the extras we had to go through hundreds and hundreds… And that's part of the problem man, everyone just flops to LA to be seen. Everyone tries to hog the camera. That's been the hardest thing, just telling people to "Fuck off!"
Hahaha. So you shot it in LA then?
Yeah, we shot it here and it's set in Pasadena. We were shooting for seven weeks.
That doesn't sound that long.
No, it's really not. But four and half weeks of those seven were night shoots, so, we were shooting from 5PM to 5AM. That was the hardest part.
Four and a half weeks of throwing a party every night would probably get lame.
Mate, it became such a killer for me. When you go out and party yourself, the next day you wanna be in a quiet space and chill. Here I was at work, whilst having two hundred really excited young kids running around. And music pumping, every day, like a party.
You'll never want to party again.
I know, or at least just party with people my own age.
Yeah. What's going on with all the animals?
Well, there's the mum's dog. Some kids start fucking with it, but even the dog has a lark...
What does the dog do?
Let's just say the dog gets lucky by the end of the film.
Was that from a party experience you had growing up?
I don't have any wild animal gravy. Fuck, I wish I did. Maybe putting a wig on a friend's dog? That was like the funniest thing in the world ever.
That is funny. Thanks for talking to us Nima, good luck with Project X!