Garrett Wareing: Star of Psychodelic Sci-Fi Thriller Perfect Image

Eddie Alcazar’s Perfect was first released at SXSW in 2018 and only played out a few times, including once at The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival as a secret screening. The film absolutely blew me away and I named it as one of my top ten favorite films of 2018. It was officially released to the public in 2019, so I guess I could technically put it on my list for this year too. It’s so good I could mention it twice.

It is total psychotronic pandemonium. The general plot is that a teenager (Garrett Wareing) may or may not have killed his girlfriend and his mega-rich supermodel mother (Abbie Cornish) decides to send him off to a clinic where she also went when she was his age. It’s where people of all types go for “treatment” for whatever prevents them from being their best selves.

Of course, this is the most simplified version of the story that I can give you and I feel as though that is best. The film has incredible special and practical effects and an awesome score by Flying Lotus that he created partially while he was on set. Garrett Wareing was only 15 when he played Vessel 13 in Perfect which was shocking to me because this role and this entire film is very….uh…mature. It’s a sci-fi lover’s dream come true, with visual sensibilities similar to Blade Runner and even Tron and a similar mood as Beyond The Black Rainbow.

I was extremely lucky to speak with the incredibly charming 17-year-old Garrett Wareing about his experiences working on this phenomenal project, Dante’s Inferno, The X-Men and more. I think it’s safe to say that this kid is going to be around for a long time and I’m glad to say that I got to talk to him..oh and we’re supposed to make this Dante’s Inferno movie together so don’t forget, Garrett! 

I’m really curious to know how you got involved with the project.
Garrett Wareing: I met the director (Eddie Alcazar) at the gym. At the time I was 14 and we were talking. He thought that I was 18 at the time. He says, “yeah, you’ve gotta kill people, shave your head, lose 30 pounds for the role, light people on fire and all this stuff”. So I’m like “This movie sounds perfect! This is exactly what I want to be doing!” And then he goes  “Wait, how old are you?’ and I told him I was 14. And he says “This is probably too mature for you.” I was like “No, this is the perfect movie for me. This is the exact kind of work that I want to be doing.” So fast forward, I think we were doing auditions in August and then we started filming in January. We did rehearsals. I got the livecast done for my prosthetic makeup and it was a great process. Just a sort of collaboration through teamwork at the gym.

That’s crazy that you met at the gym.
Yeah. It’s really different. I think you meet people that you’re supposed to meet and I think he was one of them, you know?

“…yeah, you’ve gotta kill people, shave your head, lose 30 pounds for the role, light people on fire and all this stuff…”

What was Eddie Alcazar like to work with? Because when I went to the screening at BHFF,  he was supposed to be there, but he didn’t show up. He doesn’t really like talking about stuff is what I’ve heard?
Well, that’s Eddie. He’s very enigmatic and he tries hard at that. Eddie has a vision. He’s very creative. I think we were shooting for 12 days in this crazy Goldstein Mansion, and those days were probably some of the hardest 12 days of my life. It was really a crew of creative people who were all there to make something cool because we believe in Eddie’s vision. That’s really what sold this movie because he was able to get these people that he knew who were creative types and put them together in the same building and make this movie by the skin of his toenails. He made something that I think we can be proud of.

I mean it was a team of people trying to make something out of a 40-page script. I think Steven Soderbergh was able to add to this movie. It elevated it in such a way that made this movie one of my favorites that I’ve worked on.

I’m curious, if you were going to tell somebody what your interpretation of Perfect is, what would you say?
Well, I think the movie is very subjective and I think it’s supposed to be that way. So everybody gets something different out of the movie-watching experience. And no two people that I’ve talked to who have seen it have said the same thing. My interpretation that I built as the character was that everybody in this world has something that they want to fix about themselves. So they go to this clinic to have these problems cured. Mine is the psychotic visions, so I go to this clinic where everyone’s choosing their path and everybody’s evolving and becoming better versions of themselves.

It was more expository in earlier drafts of the script, but there was one girl in the movie, she was turning into a tree because she needed to be more grounded and rooted saying she was taking too many selfies. I don’t know if you remember, she was the one with the camera and at the end, you see the tree again and that’s her transforming. They had put some stuff in her transforming throughout the movie, but they cut a lot of those scenes.. there are little flashes. Everything is in the movie for a reason and you can catch them if you watch hard enough.

Is is true that you eventually want to write and direct films?
Oh yeah, and I think what really inspired me behind that was working on Perfect because I saw how much of the collaboration and the creativity behind it and the teamwork there. I definitely want to write and direct. I have scripts that I’ve been writing and friends that I like to make little shorts and music videos and that sort of thing. I always want to stay in the creative side of this business, whether that manifests itself in acting, writing, producing, directing, any of it.

What kind of film do you think you would be most passionate about making?
I don’t want to stick to a genre. I mean, Stanley Kubrick had his movies, but each of them sorts of hit on a different thing. I mean they’re all sort of weird in that thing, but they had heart and mind to them. I love all kinds of films, all the way from Neon Demon to Coraline to Mother and Thoroughbreds, stuff in the artistic realm, but also stop motion, and like Wes Anderson, all of the above.

“…what really inspired me…I saw how much of the collaboration and the creativity behind it and the teamwork there…”

So what are you working on next after this?
I finished Perfect  awhile ago now, it’s finally coming out. Thank God. I actually just filmed this really amazing super gritty family drama up in Switzerland in the Alps and it’s about this family of nomads hiding out in the Montana mountains. It’s a beautiful story and I’m so happy to have been a part of that. It’s awesome. I’m so excited for this movie…it’s called Jill.  Then recently I just made this little series called Pretty Little Liars on ABC freeform. The season one finale is on Wednesday and it’s been great. The response has been awesome and I’m super happy to be part of that. But I really do love films like Perfect and Jill.

I’m wondering about how soon after Perfect did you go into Pretty Little Liars because that seems like such a big adjustment.
So we finished Perfect in January of 2016 and then I go and I shoot Jill in October of 2018. So that gap is huge. And I did a little TV spot in Chicago Med, but finding work like this age gap is weird because I’m like super tall, but I have the face of a baby and I’m just trying to make it in this business and it’s really difficult, but you have to enjoy the journey and grow along the way. So then Jill happened right after we got  Pretty Little Liars and now I’m in New York about to go to the premiere and life is good.

Oh, that’s great. That’s great. Is there a  historical figure, like a musician or anybody that if you had the chance to play that you’d be overjoyed about?
That’s a good question. I mean, I love the role of Alex in A Clockwork Orange. I know it’s not really a historical figure, but I love that role, it is so cool to me. Who would I…I’m thinking like a pirate, like a famous go-getter. I don’t know why. I really like Dracula. I love vampires. I love that realm of things. Oh, what about the Jersey Devil? Wouldn’t that be fun?

Oh wait, I want to be in Dante’s Inferno. If they ever make a movie, I want to be in it . I know I’m white and not Italian, but like that would be awesome.

When you were little, was there a film or a TV show that you saw that made you know that you wanted to act?
Oh, for sure. I mean, I’m such a fan of movies. I can go on and on and on about movies. That’s my love language. And I think what really sparked it for me, I was sitting in the living room watching the TV and my dad put on the first X-Men from the early 2000’s. So it was Rogue and Sabertooth in that car and I just fell in love. I realized that I wanted to be a superhero. I want to be on the screen, I want to do this. And then I watched Iron Man and that was all confirmed for me. I want to wear his suit…then I saw Harry Potter. I was like “I want to use a wand!” So that was, that was like 10,11,12 year old me. Now I realize, I want to do real work that I can be proud of and sink my teeth into just like I did with the peach in Perfect. Um, so like actually like find the character and then do real work for that. And that’s why I love the X-Men series because sure, there’s the fanciful aspect of the superpowers but this is grounded in the human and human reality.

I love the films.  I’m really excited about the new one.
I know. I still think First Class is my favorite, though.

We talked more about meeting later at the premiere and at the premiere, after Steven Soderbergh spoke to all of us about how he got attached as the producer of the project and the movie played, Garrett came out like a rocket and captivated everyone. He really is just the most impressive charming teenager that I can actually stand and  I wish the absolute best for in all honesty. Please check out Perfect, it’s not 100% perfect but it’s pretty damn close.  

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