RISING THROUGH THE RANKS. A true citizen of the world, Pedro Correa pursues his passion for filmmaking to all the corners of the globe
Outfit by Givenchy
Writer, editor, producer and actor, Pedro Correa lives and breathes filmmaking. And now, after more than a half dozen of his own short films, indie films and other projects, he’s making his way to the big screen. Unfortunately, it’s all still pretty hush-hush. Fortunately, it looks like Correa is never short of ongoing projects to pique our interest. Case in point: “Echo,” which was shot and produced all the way in China.
Outfit by Louis Vuitton
DA MAN: Hi, Pedro; awesome to finally have a chat with you. So, we’ve heard that you’ve just finished directing and acting in your own short film produced in China. First of all, why China?
Pedro Correa: I had been binge watching foreign films and stumbled across one of my favorites, a Korean flick, “Oldboy,” and thought to myself: It’d be a blast to direct a foreign film. So, I wrote the script for “Echo,” got it translated into Mandarin and booked a flight to the south of China. My geographically-ADD mom had been teaching at a school over there at the time. I had never been there. So, I went. If I can combine traveling with filmmaking, I’m golden. A good character and a foreign country is the perfect escape.
DA MAN: Next up, the logistics of a project like that must have been quite challenging. How did you manage to get everything in order?
Pedro Correa: I had no cinematographer, no crew, no actors and no budget. Just me and my camera. Luckily, just before leaving, I ended up convincing a stranger, in a Facebook group, to fly across the country to shoot the film pro bono. He happened to be an insanely talented Polish cinematographer, Pawel Kacprzak, who lived in the north of China. I found my Mandarin-speaking actors days before shooting, in a long line of WeChat messaging between friends of friends of friends. Then we shot! For most of the film, we had no translators. I directed our Mandarin-speaking actors with WeChat’s translation feature on my phone, then I’d call action while holding the boom pole under the table while in front of the camera and then perform lines in a language I didn’t speak. It was a huge challenge. And for that reason alone, it’s been my favorite project so far. I’ll remember that shoot for the rest of my life.
DA MAN: Other than the obvious challenge, can you share some of your most memorable moments from this project?
Pedro Correa: We had a last minute location change and one of our lead actors, an 80-something year old Chinese woman, snuck into a local farm in the middle of the night and insisted we shoot there. The location was incredible, so I couldn’t argue … or communicate with her, for that matter. As soon as we began rolling we discovered she spoke Cantonese, not Mandarin—which put a lot of pressure on our Mandarin translator, because she barely spoke English. It was a beautiful disaster that we somehow made into art.
“I had no cinematographer, no crew, no actors and no budget. Just me and my camera”
DA MAN: Can you also tell us a bit about the movie itself? The themes you explore, the visual style and so on…
Pedro Correa: “Echo” is an Asian inspired neo-noir revenge film. The story follows an obsessive young man who stalks the outskirts of China plotting his revenge on the killer of his girlfriend and unborn child. We explore the mundanity of death, the hypocrisy of vengeance and the absurdities we endure for the ones we love. It sheds light on the tragic-irony of revenge; the unwitting cycles we fall victim to when indulging in despair. “Echo” touches on the age-old question: Is ignorance really bliss?
DA MAN: Do you have any other movies or TV shows lined up after this?
Pedro Correa: Right now, I’m prepping for a dream role that’s still under wraps. It’s been the most intense physical and emotional transformation I’ve ever taken on. I’m also developing my first self-produced feature. It seems masochistic at times, with the never ending all-nighters, but I’m absolutely obsessed with telling a good story.
DA MAN: Looking back a bit, what would you say has been your most defining film project?
Pedro Correa: I’m constantly aiming to redefine myself with every project I do. If a story or character isn’t raw, uncomfortable or terrifying it doesn’t interest me. I learn when I throw myself into the fire, and if I don’t feel the heat, I’ve failed. Comfort is the death of progress.
DA MAN: And what was it that drew you to acting in the first place?
Pedro Correa: When I was 11 years old, my mom bought me an old school webcam and I started producing comedy sketches out of my bedroom. If I was able to get a reaction out of my friends or family, it made me feel like a magician playing emotional tricks on my audience. I thought it was, and still think it is, the coolest superpower in the world.
Jacket by Salvatore Ferragamo
DA MAN: Has anything changed in the way you perceive the idea of acting today compared to those first moments when you fell in love with it?
Pedro Correa: Completely. In the beginning, acting was just a way to get my mom to crack a smile and for my friends to pee their pants. Today, it’s evolved into a mirror that I can unmask the faces around me with. It’s a force that I hope sparks dialogue in what’s right, wrong and the greys in between. When you show people who they are, they’re forced to rethink how they operate. Acting started as my hobby, but quickly became my purpose.
DA MAN: You also have quite a bit of experience in writing and directing. Do you think that your skills in the behind the camera stuff helps you when you’re acting in front of it and vice versa?
Pedro Correa: One-thousand percent. Writing and directing has radically developed my own sense of perspective on the world. And character is just that: perspective. A performance that lacks opinion is as good as a loaf of white bread. It’s empty carbs.
Jacket by Versace
DA MAN: Moving ahead, where do you think will you gravitate more towards: acting or directing and writing?
Pedro Correa: It’s all storytelling to me. Acting is my high, writing is my therapy and I direct my own stories out of obsession. If I had to choose to quit all but one? My choice would be to stop sleeping. I’m an actor, but I’ll never stop making films.
DA MAN: On this magazine alone, you’ve appeared on several fashion spreads. In your opinion, is there a correlation between acting and modeling?
Pedro Correa: Every costume we have in our closet is a character. With everything I wear, I’m playing out a different scene in my head, whether that’s for a still photo or for a moving photo.
“Acting is my high, writing is my therapy and I direct my own stories out of obsession”
DA MAN: Moving on to personal stuff, we’ve learned that you grew up all around the world. Can you tell us a bit about this part of your life?
Pedro Correa: I was born in Florida, a product of my Peruvian father and American mother. I grew up in Seattle, Washington, bouncing back and forth, spending my summers in Perú. Towards the end of middle-school my mom rang me up and said something along the lines of, “Hey, wanna move to the middle-east?” I said “no” and we were off. I did half of high school in Qatar, an hour drive from Saudi Arabia, and the rest in Perú. Then I graduated early to move to Los Angeles to act full-time.
Outfit by Salvatore Ferragamo
DA MAN: How do you think has all this shaped your personality and worldview?
Pedro Correa: Being constantly moving definitely sparked my addiction for traveling. Each cultural idiosyncrasy informs the stories I tell and the characters I play. Personally, it’s conditioned me to be very diplomatic and sort of a melting-pot of strange.
DA MAN: Are there any particular locations that you absolutely want to visit sometime in the future?
Pedro Correa: Everywhere I haven’t been. It’s overwhelming to think about, because every foreign country I visit seems to birth new inspiration for a project.
Outfit by Givenchy
DA MAN: Besides film-making and acting, what are your other interests?
Pedro Correa: I have a huge fear of the ocean, so surfing is always a humbling experience. I’ll be stressed about a film I’m writing or an audition, and then I’m immediately reminded that I could be ripped apart by a shark or drown under a pier. It really puts things in perspective. Really, anything involving adrenaline.
DA MAN: What is your ultimate dream project?
Pedro Correa: I’m developing one of them, and acting in another. I’m pumped for y’all to see them!
DA MAN: Last question: If you could pick one word to describe your life right now, what would it be?
Pedro Correa: Obsessed.