Interviews: William Mapother - Star of The Atticus Institute, Another Earth, And Lost

The Movie Sleuth had a chance to talk to William Mapother about his experiences on Lost, the state of film, and his latest starring role in The Atticus Institute, new on blu-ray this week. 

TMS: You’ve got a long history of supporting roles on TV including Ethan (the creepy guy) on Lost. What’s been your favorite experience? Was it Lost or is there something else that stands out for you?

WM: Uh, I really have trouble with favorite questions. I’ll be honest. I’ve benefitted from all of them. Either it was a great location, a great role, or it bumped by career, or I made a really good friend on them. I really do feel that way. I have a soft spot for Lost because that represented the biggest bump to my career. And it was in Hawaii….and I really liked the cast and crew. I don’t know that I’d say it’s my favorite but I will always hold a soft spot for it.

I did a Reddit AMA last week and the Lost fans are out there and they’re alive and kicking.

TMS:  I’m still wondering with this X-Files thing possibly happening and what they did with 24, is Lost one of these shows that we could possibly see come back with a bit of a resurgence?

WM: It’s possible. It’s possible.  They’ve talked about a Lost movie but it’s just so….the logistics are so difficult when you have a large cast. They talked about doing that with Deadwood and they had the same problem. Getting everyone scheduled is a major pain. Netflix apparently had a heck of a time doing it with Arrested Development and that was a much smaller cast.

TMS: So we’ve discussed that you’ve moved from more of a supporting role, character type pieces, to more of a lead role. Is there anybody specific that influences your work as a lead actor now or is that too wide of a spectrum?

"What do you mean you didn't
like the ending?"
WM: Good question. I certainly have favorite actors. It’s part of a longer conversation. That’s interesting that you should ask me about moving from supporting to lead. I did Another Earth a few years ago. I don’t know if there’s anyone who influences me overall as a lead actor. I think it would be more specific to the role or the genre. The difference between supporting to lead….that’s a much longer conversation.

Another trend that I've observed in my own career is moving away from so many scary creepy roles. And it’s difficult because the industry wants to pigeonhole you and you have to work. I am very conscious about moving away from those. And last year I did several roles that were not. I was on The Lottery (a Lifetime show) and Hawaii 5.0.

TMS: Yes, you’ve done a lot of TV. I was looking at your IMDB page and you’ve got 81 credits to your name right now with your first being Born on the 4th of July. Was there anything different from your other roles when working on The Atticus Institute?

WM: One thing that sticks out is that I’ve never worked on a film which is comprised of so many pieces. And now after you’ve seen the movie you can certainly understand what I mean. There are very few long scenes and he uses so many different sources of footage. There’s security cameras, there’s footage we shot ourselves, there’s footage that allegedly a documentary crew shot of us in the lab. And I’ve never worked on a show that required me to communicate in such small pieces. That required a bit of an adjustment, trying to find ways to communicate character as effectively and succinctly as possible.

TMS? Is there anything you want to tell people about the Atticus Institute that they might not know?

WM: Well, one is, people might be categorizing it as a horror film, but I think of it more of a horror-thriller or even a thriller. Now that you’ve seen it you can understand what I mean. It doesn’t announce itself that way. It’s kind of a straight interesting drama. You can imagine it becoming more of a psychological drama. And I also think it might appeal to people who are fans of film itself meaning film as a medium. People who are familiar with genres and enjoy seeing filmmakers who consciously mash and tear up genres, because the movie does play with the expectations that people might have of documentaries or feature films or horror films or thrillers. It plays it all with a very straight face.

TMS: There’s a lot of things going on. You get The Exorcist feel, you get the documentary style, you get the found footage and all the different things going on. And what I really noticed was the people that were in the cut documentary style interview scenes were really convincing that this was a real situation and that they had actually experienced this.

WM: The casting and the performances, they’re right on the money.

TMS: If people want to see The Atticus Institute, where can they see it?

WM: It’s on demand, DVD, and blu-ray.

"I put this wall up so you'd stop
freaking me out. So, stop freaking
me out, damn it!!"
TMS: What’s going on next? After the promo for The Atticus Institute, what are you moving on to?

WM: Well, I’m in an episode of Constantine coming up on the 30th. That’s a week from today. It’s an NBC show based on Hellblazer the comic. I have a role in that. I have a couple other independent films in post-production. We’re coming up on pilot season, so I’m getting very busy with auditions for my next tv show. I also write. I’m also a co-founder of Slated. It is the only film finance marketplace. We bring together independent filmmakers with investors from around the world to help finance their movies. Instead of Kickstarter and Indie Go-Go where people only donate to projects, our site allows people to invest. We have tens of thousands of users and thousands of projects with movie stars and Oscar winners in there. Investors can browse all the projects and use filters to find projects that they’re really interested in. They can apply by genre or by language or by budget size. That occupies a good bit of my time. We’re trying to bring some efficiency and transparency to the film world which it badly needs.

TMS: We’ve seen a decline at the cinemas in many ways and it seems that independent film is thriving. I’m a big fan of that. It’s amazing what you can do with a limited budget now.

WM: The tools for production and post-production, the cost of them has dropped so much that you’re absolutely right. People cut things on I-movie, they shoot them on their I-phone. It’s terrific. The problem is in the marketing costs. The culture has become so loud and cluttered that the challenge is no longer making the movie but getting the eyeballs to watch it. 

We thank William for talking to us today. Check out The Atticus Institute.