James Ward Byrkit attends "The 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards" at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. �� LAN (Photo by Lars Niki/Corbis via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The Cast Of Coherence Was Just As Baffled As The Audience
Shot on a shoestring budget and starring Byrkit's real-life friends, James Ward Byrkit’s psychological thriller “Coherence” follows a group of friends having a dinner party on the night of a comet passing. The film is unpredictable until the very end which Byrkit achieved by keeping the stars in the dark about the film’s overarching plot during production.
Byrkit and cowriter Alex Manugian worked on the film’s plot for over a year, but when it came time for production, the film’s stars weren’t given a working script or a brief about their characters. Instead, Byrkit handed each actor "a page of notes for what they had to do" every day, which included snippets of backstory, motivations, and vague acting directions.
Possible notes included "Somehow, get outside tonight," or cues like “How would a person with said character traits realistically behave in a certain situation?" Aside from vague directions, each cast member was kept in the dark about the other’s notes, allowing them to authentically carve out their own arcs, give genuine reactions, and create startling natural dialogue.