ATX Festivals TV & Film

Austin Film Festival 2016: Interview with Anna Camp & Matt Oberg

Anna Camp and Matt Oberg star as Peg and Chardy in the film “Brave New Jersey” which premiered at the Austin Film Festival. The film is about what happens to the town of Lullaby, New Jersey when they hear the “War of the Worlds” on the radio and believe that Martians are invading. We had a chance to interview the hilarious and funny duo.

This film is based on Orson Welles’ radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” that caused some panic during that time. Did you meet or know anyone who was alive during that broadcast or knew of someone when this aired live?

Anna: No, I didn’t get to meet anyone, but we did listen to the broadcast that Jody sent to all of us. That was incredibly helpful for research because it’s pretty dramatic the things that happened.

Matt: It’s sort of a myth that people lost their minds to this, but it’s interesting how easy it is to imagine that reaction even now because it kind of makes sense.It’s interesting to think that things haven’t changed that much.

Anna Camp as "Peg" in Brave New Jersey Photo by Corey Walter
Anna Camp as “Peg” in Brave New Jersey
Photo by Corey Walter

Interviewer 1: Was it fun that Jody created these characters that had this complete shift?

Anna: When I read the script, each character gets their journey and Matt’s character Chardy is the only one that stays really steadfast amidst the chaos. It was great to play Peg because she really went for it more than any other character and took it to the extreme. But I feel like that’s what happens when you have so much bottled up inside you and you have no place to release it. When that top is let off, go for it because you don’t know what you’re capable of.

Interviewer 1: What was it like filming in Tennessee and bonding together?

Matt: It was great, we were really welcomed by the community and supported. A lot of the people in the movie are people who lived in the area. There are not a ton of entertainment options in that area, so we got to really bond as a cast as a result and that helps the movie.

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Your character Peg seems disappointed at the end because there were no Martians and has to go back to being herself. How do you think she’ll cope with that?

Anna: I feel like that she’s going through a lot in the morning after. She’s happy to be alive, but there’s a bit of shame of having done what she did. There’s a fear that she went as far as she did. And now that she’s in the harsh light of day how would a woman really live in 1938. I wanted to make sure that we saw that she’s not done and there is fire that she found and she’s not going to let go.

What was your favorite part about making this film?

Anna: Getting to play with these characters and Jody who is so passionate about the movie. There’s so many great things I loved doing, I loved running through the fog carrying the gun and screaming at the top of my lungs. I only did that in one take. They were going to give us a few takes, but I ran through and I heard everyone cheer at the end and asked “did you get it?” and they were like “yeah we got it.”

Interviewer 1: It must be exciting having two very different films, “One Night” and “Brave New Jersey” at the festival and in different roles than we’re used to seeing you in.

Anna: I’m so pleased and happy that people are seeing these. I shot “One Night” two years ago and it was so fun to play just talking and listening and well written scenes. And “Brave New Jersey” is a bigger indie and I felt like I got to show sides of myself that I haven’t before. I hope people see them and continue to get good work and people want to cast me in the non-stereotypical blonde popular, bitchy girl way. So hopefully that will work out.

Interviewer 2: How was it seeing the film on the big screen at the premiere?

Matt: It was great because it’s a comedy and watching it with an audience lets you see what works, and we found out that a lot of it does. It was gratifying and a thrill to see it with an Austin audience. There are a lot of scenes where we’re not together, so it’s great to see the ensemble and stories that weave together.

Interview 2: Do you get a chance to catch up with fellow actors, see films, or go to panels?

Anna: I got here for “One Night” and got to go out and have these awesome donuts, and didn’t go to panels but we did talk about movies while we ate donuts, so it’s tax deductive. I wish I had more time to go see more films. I should’ve gone and met more writers so I could be in more movies and bought donuts for everyone.

Matt: When you meet these writers, tell them about me.

Anna: I will, Matt. (giggling)

Interview 1: If a real alien invasion occurred, what would you do? Would you be similar to your characters?

Anna: I’d grab my gun and put on my pant suit and get out there. No, I’m not violent person–I’d grab some alcohol and have some drinks to take the edge off. Then I would think of ways to communicate with the aliens to give them things (like donuts). I would bribe them to be friends and whatever they need to make sure they don’t hurt me.

Matt: Tony Hale’s character advocates for hiding and I think that’s the path I’d take. The exciting thing is that you don’t know what’s inside you when something like this happens. It’s exciting to think what would I do and this movie is about this question.

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