Embrace Of The Serpent Star Brionne Davis’ Serendipitous Journey Into the Heart of Humanity
Celebrities, including James Franco also gave a thumbs-up to this multi-layered portrayal of contemporary existence as seen through the prism of the Amazon, and its last survivors who hold the secrets to our very existence. This great river is a life-force that supports all humanity and in the movie, the fictional, rare and sacred yakruna plant (with its healing properties) serves as a metaphor for all life in the Amazon.
But this life-force has become endangered because of man’s selfishness, ignorance and failure to appreciate the world around him. Directed by Ciro Guerra, the film is far from ordinary and it’s cerebral, spiritual and mind-bending visuals put us right in the heart of this breathtaking South American paradise.
In this thrilling follow-up interview with Brionne Davis, star of the Oscar nominated foreign film, he takes us further into the jungle (and his mind) as he reveals his leap of faith; leaving a life behind in New York to further pursue his acting dreams in Los Angeles.
And it was kismet because while in LA, Brionne booked the horror thriller Avenged, which led to him ultimately meeting the Columbian producer for Embrace of the Serpent. This talented and multi-faceted actor shares this exciting story and many more inspiring tales from his transformational journey.
Embrace of the Serpent gives us hope that it’s not too late to reverse the damage that mankind has inflicted on the soul of the Amazon.
Like a caterpillar wrapped tightly in its cocoon, find out how the film and Brionne take flight like a butterfly transformed.
Click here to watch Brionne’s first interview in which he discusses his early life and career and how Embrace of the Serpent merged them into one.
Click here for more information on Brionne Davis’ current classes at Acting UP Network in Burbank, California, which include:
- Ongoing scene study and character development Monday & Wednesday nights beginning May 4th 2016
- Private couching & career counseling (available at discount rates for Acting UP members)
FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW (Brionne Davis):
When my dad died, I knew that I was going to have this void in my life without him in it. The only way I was going to fill that void was with good. Only good could get in there. It gradually…manifested into having a greater understanding of who I was in the world.
On-screen graphic: BRIONNE DAVIS HAS STARRED IN OVER 30 INDEPENDENT FILMS AND THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES…BUT BRIONNE TOOK A LEAP OF FAITH & LEFT A LIFE IN NEW YORK FOR A DREAM THAT WOULD SOON EMBRACE THE GLOBE.
In 2011, I came back to LA, started directing more. I booked a film Avenged. Fell in love with the material because it was a horror story… but at the heart of it, it was a love story between this interracial couple. Then my character, I would be playing uh–a bad guy, this crazy, racist. So I fought for the audition. I mean, you look at this, you don’t think Aryan brotherhood, you don’t think racist redneck. Well, that’s what I play. (laughs) So I go in, I shave my head, gave myself tattoos.
On-screen graphic: BRIONNE AUDITIONED FOR LEAD VILLAIN IN “AVENGED” BUT LANDED A SUPPORTING ROLE..NOT KNOWING IT WOULD PAVE THE ROAD TO A STARRING ROLE IN AN OSCAR NOMINATED FILM.
Avenged Clip – Get the fuck out of here. Sit your ass down, Cody. You walk out that door and that arrow is the least of your concerns. I feel like a fucking slaughtered pig here, Trey…
It was awesome. It was a phenomenal role, and I just wanted to work with the director and I loved the material.
Avenged Clip – You’re gonna die today! Baby give them hell!
The producer on that film, Jason Gurvitz, had worked with a Colombian producer. Flash-forward two years later, Jason gets a call from this Colombian producer, “We are looking for actors who you know can handle The Amazon.”
After seeing the director’s [Ciero Guerra] film, The Wind Journeys, and skyping with him, I knew that there was no way that I was ever going to be able to turn this opportunity down. And Ciero ended up offering me the role. And that movie was Embrace of the Serpent. It was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.
Embrace of the Serpent Clip – What the hell are you doing? Stop bothering me! What’s your problem with this boxes? Your things will only lead you to madness and death. What are you talking about?
I did research on Bogota, the Colombian Amazon, tried to figure out how safe it was gonna be and it just terrified me if I googled anything. It was just scary.
There’s this beginning of letting go.
Flying down there, I was like, I’m either gonna die (laughs), get kidnapped, fall off a cliff, or I was going to have the most amazing time of my life. So I get down there, and I meet the producer Cristina. The next morning, they fly me into Matu. This is an incredible story. So a week while I was there, I was walking with my friend Andres Barrientos, who is the acting coach on set. And this moth flew around…beautiful, landed on my shoulder, and then it flew around and landed on my foot. And he said, “When a moth or butterfly land on you, that means you’re going to go through a metamorphosis. You’re gonna go through a change in your life. He told me that, and I just opened myself up, and was gonna go on this incredible journey and not hold onto anything. And just be an observer.
On-screen graphic: THE MOTH ENCOUNTER WOULD PROVE SYMBOLIC THROUGHOUT FILMING…& LATER CHANGE THE FILM ITSELF.
And what I soon realized is that this character that I was playing was also an observer.
Embrace of the Serpent Clip – Many years ago, this man Theodor von Martius, was here and he wrote about the plant I’m looking for.
Embrace of the Serpent is based on the journals of two scientists. Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes, the American scientist and that’s who I play…father of ethno-botany. I’m traveling to The Amazon in the footprints of this former scientist, Theo, played by Jan Bijvoet, who’s a very good friend and incredible actor. We are guided by the same shaman, Karamakate, played by two different actors…the older and younger version of himself. Seeking this sacred plant called the yakruna plant, which is a mystical plant, but it’s a metaphor for all the plants of The Amazon. It has these healing components. I’m seeking it, one — because I was sent by the government to acquire rubber specimen.
Embrace of the Serpent Clip – My people need rubber. High-purity rubber.
But on a personal note, I was seeking it to gain the ability to have visions and dreams.
On-screen graphic: BRIONNE’S CHARACTER ‘EVAN’ EMBARKS ON A LIFE-CHANGING JOURNEY…FUELED BY CONTEMPORARY CYNICISM, ANCIENT LEGEND & A PERILOUS CONFLICT…THE ILLUSIONS OF DREAMS MASQUERADING AS REALTY.
Every single component of this film is woven with a fabric of texture and layers and sub-text.
Embrace of the Serpent Clip – You are two men.
It’s shot in black and white for a multitude of reasons. The separation between the human component and the natural component — in the black and white, there’s no separation. They are one. Cinema should be an experience. Audience should be a participant in that. I don’t think the audience should be separated from it. And i think when you challenge the audience, they appreciate it even that much more…by letting them use their own perspective.
The last few days of shooting, we’re shooting at one location. There’s this grouping of butterflies on the shore. And Ciero says, “Brionne, get over there and walk.” I know what’s about to happen. So I get to the butterflies, and I stop, and I turn, and the butterflies just swarm up behind me. It just feels like thousands of butterflies. And I can feel them like this. There was a whole other scene that written and shot, but that butterfly scene is the perfect, magical component to ending the film.
That’s the incredible part of this production. They had to get blessed by a Shaman to come into The Amazon… because not only to see if the story was going to be protective of The Amazon, but so that it would — we would all be protected and that the film would be protected. No one was hurt. The only time it would rain would be times when we were breaking for lunch or it was to capture something with rain on camera.
What the film does — every single thing is rich in humanities. And I think there’s a desperate need to get back to nature and get back to connecting to spirituality, and appreciating the voice of mother nature. Listening to your own intuition and your own purpose… not guided by the maps that society puts before you.
You know there’s this idea of letting go of your attachments, and there’s a fine line between not letting those things burden you, but let those things influence your work. Once you tap into that pain and become vulnerable to it…you’re unstoppable.
Embrace of the Serpent Clip – It’s a dream. You must follow it.