In our opinion, the time-travel short Hirsute was one of the strongest of the festival, particularly if we discount the almost unfairly good Madame Tutli-Putli. We recently talked with writer and director A.J. Bond (pictured above on the left and right) about the creation of the short, his inspirations, and the “Many Martys” theory.
Today’s Interview: A.J. Bond, writer/director of Hirsute
Torontoist: So the burning question is: given the option, would you go back in time and try and have sex with yourself?
A.J. Bond: I don’t know if I’d go back in time specifically to have sex with myself, but I’ve thought about it a lot and I’d probably try to make out with myself at least. I probably wouldn’t go the whole way.
Why are eggs so central to your film?
I’m fascinated by eggs, and I actually spent a lot of time trying to figure out the time machine. Something that was different but simple, and made logical sense. I get really annoyed with time machines that somehow “know” to take your clothes as well. I thought a water concept was a way to get around that, and I was similarly looking for something iconic and simple for the time machine—I was wondering, “how can I make the ‘iPod’ of time machines?” And hard boiled eggs work as the inspiration for the character in the design of his time machine.
I used to love hard boiled eggs until I made this movie and I had to eat about a dozen in one go.
How was the filming?
We shot for six days, which is fairly long for a short film, as every time we had the twinning effect we had to shoot the whole scene twice with several takes each. My apartment was basically taken over for a month. That’s one thing I’ve learned—don’t shoot in your apartment. Don’t cast yourself in your own movie, either.
Is it hard to direct and star?
It’s extremely difficult. It was simple in the way that I didn’t have to worry about actors getting the scene right, but I definitely felt that it’s extremely limiting to be in a bathtub, or naked in bed and try and direct and frame shots.
What other films featuring time travel have inspired you?
Back to the Future, for one. It was one of my favourite movies when I was a kid, and it’s always frustrated me that the logic is inconsistent in the movie. To the degree where I was obsessed with it and had long arguments with my parents about time travel. I even did a presentation during university about the inconsistencies in the film! So I’ve always been inspired to create a time travel movie with a strong internal logic. What I love about Back to the Future is that if they’d followed logic they’d have had some really interesting potential for a sequel which they didn’t explore as they didn’t think it through. I don’t know if you want to go into it.
Lets go into it.
Well, here’s my theory. I call it the “Many Martys” theory. The idea is that Marty changes his past, and then at the very end of the movie he goes back to the future and sees himself go into the past. And you assume that the one he observes will go back in time and do the same thing over again. But when you think about it, when Marty goes home, he discovers that his parents are entirely different—his dad is successful, his mum is thin—so clearly the Marty that got into that car is a different Marty. You cannot claim that they are the same. What would actually happen, in my mind, is that they’d crash into each other—there would be two Martys in the past. And this would just keep going and the amount of Martys would keep growing until they disrupted the timeline until no Martys were ever born.
That idea really inspired me. The idea that each time you go back in time it’s a different version of yourself.
You’re very recognizable as the “original” version of the character, but the future version doesn’t look like you at all…
I’m glad—that’s great. That’s exactly what I wanted. When I showed it to my family—who were the first people to see it—well, they all hated the version from the future. It’s ironic, because it’s the kind of person I could see myself becoming—a very vain, success-orientated person. I suppose it’s a cautionary tale for myself. I bought myself a black shirt the other day that looks a little bit too much like the one the character wore in the film, and my mom was like, “Take it off! Take it off! Don’t become him!”
Hirsute played as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 4, and is to play at festivals across the country throughout fall. For more information, check out http://hirsute.thesiblings.ca/