Kristian Diaz, who released his debut feature film, Retrocausality, on June 10. Retrocausality by definition is the idea that the future can influence the present and the present can influence the past. The quirky and cleverly narrated indie takes place at the beginning of a global pandemic and follows Scott, a 22-year-old blockbuster actor as he navigates dealing with his mom who is infected with a strange new virus, and finding a mystery woman, Max, who he has a strange, powerful connection with– before it’s too late.
Diaz wrote, directed and stars in the film, which has been a passion project of his for many years as it was the first screenplay he wrote, many years ago. The story was inspired by a real life event, when the Canadian native was walking around Toronto with his headphones on and stopped dead in his tracks to listen to a young woman perform on the street. He felt so drawn to her, almost like he had known her before, and that was the first spark of an idea that lead to the film.
I had the opportunity to interview Diaz about his debut project, influences in film and Toronto.
WTB: What inspired you to create Retrocausality?
KD: It started with a spark of an idea and it kind of grew from there- I just wanted to see how far and where it wanted to go.
I remember in the summer of 2015, I was walking around Toronto with my headphones in and I stopped to listen to a young musician perform on the street. There was a small crowd but the music was so good that it kind of overpowered my headphones. I felt like I knew who she was and it ended up kind of being the first spark. A lot of the ideas from the film came from that particular day and moment. I said good job, rushed home and started writing. I finished the first draft in like a month, then rewrote probably a hundred more times. Five years later here we are.
The story developed a lot since then, but a lot of those original ideas stuck even when I had no idea what I was writing. A cool thing happened a couple of years ago, I was listening to the radio and I found out that the young musician ended up being Jessie Reyez and she blew up!
Toronto has been producing a lot of great creatives especially this past decade. Who are some of your favorite creatives from Toronto?
Yes! It’s been inspiring to see. There are tons so it’s hard to choose… I feel like it started with Drake. Before him, Canadians were boxed into what was known as “Canadian Film” or “Canadian Hip-Hop” etc. as a genre. He kind of broke that barrier, so I’ll start the list with: Drake, then Jessie Reyez of course, Sean Leon and Tory Lanez to name a few that are my favourite to listen to. Of course, Jim Carey and James Cameron are legends from nearby. An actor from my hometown of Calgary that I’m a fan of is Elisha Cuthbert.
WTB: Retrocausality is the idea that the future can influence the present and the present can influence the past. If you can go in time and change anything knowing it could effect your future in a different way would you go back in time?
KD: No, I definitely wouldn’t go back in time.
That’s an amazing question and a perfect way of explaining Retrocausality. I think about that often. It’s actually one of the main questions we asked throughout production. It’s also what Scott, the protagonist, tries to figure out.
When I look back, I always think of key moments of my life and even this journey that I could change. Where I would end up if I changed the smallest detail. That’s what led to a lot of storylines and different cuts of the film.
I learned a lot about time throughout the process of making this film. We finished the first cut quickly and had everything ready to go but for some reason it felt like all the obstacles and delays were happening. I got stuck wishing it could go faster or wishing I could go back in time and change things. It definitely felt like something was missing.
I tried to move on to other projects that were exciting, but I always ended up back to Retrocausality. What I know now as a filmmaker and storyteller compared to when I first started or even after production is ridiculous. But everything happens for a reason and we were able to evolve and improve with Retrocausality instead of moving on.
I figured out or I guess I’m still figuring out that even if you could go back in time, you can only control the present. So I’m starting to realize that you have to live in the moment, know where you wanna go but be flexible on how you get there and how long it takes, because time is relative.
So to go back to your question, I wouldn’t go back in time to change anything- because I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than doing this interview with you guys.
WTB: Who are your top 5 directors of all time?
KD: As of right now here’s my list:
Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Spike Lee, Greta Gerwig, Damien Chazelle
WTB: If you had a $100 million dollar budget to create a movie. What kind of movie would you make? Also, who would star in that movie?
KD: Easily a classic 90’s era Romantic Comedy starring Brad Pitt, Jennifer Anniston and Myself. Nothing too complicated, just classic & cheesy. I would call it: The 21st of September
It would be about a couple that breaks up but has to work across from each other for a dating magazine. Jennifer Anniston would play the head of the company and Brad Pitt would be the executive editor. They’re trying to work together on their final article- about a young Quarterback played by me, the projected first overall NFL draft pick who’s going to finally meet the girl he has been dating online for years.
The twist is my character would be setting them up in a parent-trap kind of situation because the girl he’s been dating says that she’s their “long-lost daughter” and wants them both to be there for the wedding- but she ends up being a catfish.
Or maybe not- I’ll think of the rest when I get that cheque.