On the surface Ari Gold’s Adventures of Power might seem like a silly comedy about a miner with an unusual fervor for air drumming, but the writer, director and star is quick to point out how the clever balance of humor and metaphor (along with some stellar talent) makes this film a one of a kind.
Here’s how he did it …
"Air-drumming is funny and that's true … I do feel like aside from the comedy aspect of it there's something going on in our country and in our culture for which air-drumming is an interesting metaphor. I'm not making it out to be a highbrow intellectual movie, but we do have millions of kids who instead of playing music in their garage they're playing 'Guitar Hero' or 'Rock Band' in their living room. At the same time we have a country that no longer manufactures most of its own goods. So this is telling a story about a guy who loves music, but doesn't play … he works in a copper mine which is an industry that's struggling, but still alive in this countrt. For me it seemed like a great opportunity that comes from my heart and is about that struggle to connect with life and to take pride in one's work and in one's passions even while you don't necessarily have the objects that you want, like in this case the drums."
Sporting Sweat Bands and Short Shorts
"I think that to some degree I was influenced by seeing bands like Loverboy and Styx, who did sometimes dress in athletic gear. I mean, that's really where the inspiration came from. When I first played Power I didn't really think about it. The first time that I appeared onstage I was in full sports gear. The biggest public appearance that I had was at the air-guitar competition a couple of years ago and as soon as I walked onstage dressed as Power people just started cheering. So I knew that I was onto something with that without necessarily knowing why he dressed that way."
Finding Talent in his own Entourage
"I've known [Adrian Grenier] for years. I play in a band with him called The Honey Brothers. We've been playing in that band for about five years and I met him before that because he was making a documentary called 'Shot in the Dark' and I was one of the camera operators on that. We actually met because I made a short film about my mother's death that was at Sundance and we had a mutual friend that was helping him put together his movie which was about his search for his father. So [the friend] thought we'd relate because we were both making movies that looked into ourselves and looked into our family history."
Capturing Country Chic
"What I said to the costume designer and to Adrian is that [Dallas] was a combination of Kenny Chesney and Paris Hilton. It was a real opportunity, I think, for everyone to be as creative and ridiculous as we could be. Adrian really embraced the over the topness of his outfit as did the costumer designer … she clearly sunk her teeth into this and came up with all this amazing stuff for him. The combination of country and bling which is so weird in real life, we just took that to it's extreme. Any time that either of them said, 'Is this going to be too much if we do this?' I always said, 'No. It's not possible for it to be too much.'"
Breaking an Arm, Not a Leg
"Well, there's a joke in the movie that it's harder than drumming in that it's a double workout … I challenge anyone to squat without sitting down, in a half sitting position and drum every hit of a really hard drum song and not collapse afterwards. It's incredibly strenuous … I was raising money to shoot the section where the character is trying to get from New Jersey to New York for the competition. So there was a lot of stuff on the docks of New Jersey and he's come all the way across the country and it's like the last barrier is the river to New York City. I ran into a pole on the docks trying to make my cameraman laugh which was as we were scouting the night before the shoot. Everyone started laughing and I was in incredible pain. Within seconds, my arm … looked as if these three golf balls were under my skin. [I] picked out all the shots that I had established where Power was wearing a long sleeve shirt and we shot all those shots just to get something out of this shoot that was supposed to happen and didn't. You can see that my arm looks a little Popeye like in a few scenes where I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt and then the short sleeve stuff I had to come back and shoot later."
Tapping into Spinal Tap
"Spinal Tap was one of my favorite movies and so I was really excited at the idea of working with him particularly because the role was not a comedic role. He's the dramatic heart of the movie and I had heard that he was a great dramatic actor. I hadn't seen much though that he had done that wasn't explicitly comic. So I didn't fully know what was going to happen when he showed up on the set. He came to set and it was instantly clear that he had the gravitas to pull of this role where he's the heart of the movie. He's the person that's keeping the community from falling apart and at the same time he's a person who hasn't accepted Power and Power has to win the love of his father over the course of the movie. While that story is a cliché with these kinds of movie where it's a trope, I still wanted to tell it in a very real way. I feel like the scenes between Power and his dad are some of my favorite things in the movie because he really went there in his performance."
Tuning in to Family
"My twin brother Ethan composed all the music for the film, for Power and also wrote all or a huge number of songs for the movie including the song that Adrian's fictional band plays--this country/hip hop/mall pop song. So my twin brother is in [the Honey Brothers] as well … people ask how I'd describe us, but I don't really know the answer to that. I think that there's a little bit of Ween and a little bit of Talking Heads, if you want the ‘something meets something’ description. I think we're a fun band. I think that we're really fun live and we have a real sense of humor about ourselves."