Juan Renshaw – Interview
MATRIX: Can you give a brief history of how you started and what you are doing?
JUAN: It all started because of the need to bring coffee to the people, I suppose. I used to have a café, and I would sit there some mornings and wonder why people weren’t coming there. That is where the original idea came from. As far as the movies go, we didn’t start doing this, we started by doing office blocks and building sites, but we got picked up by the movies quickly. They are basically pretty perfect for an Espresso Bus, there are so many people in the film industry who really like coffee, good strong coffee. This is probably about the only industry where the people have the time to spend ten minutes here and there for a smoke and a coffee.
MATRIX: At all hours.
JUAN: Yes, they work all hours and in bizarre locations like this.
MATRIX: So it is perfect for a truck to just pull up.
JUAN: Yes, we can come whenever they call us, to wherever they are, which is the beauty of it.
MATRIX: So how did it first come about that you became, as I hear it, the coffee gods for this production?
JUAN: It all came about as a tip through a friend who said that there is a film about to happen here and it would be a big one. I wondered if they would want coffee, and my friend thought they would because they were stranded in Alexandria. So we chased it up, found that they were in pre-production, not actually filming yet, and we started to bring coffee to Alexandria… it rolled on from there. When they started filming they would fax us call sheets asking us to come out to where they were.
MATRIX: What was your initial impression of the film industry and has it changed?
JUAN: My initial impression was that they spend a lot of time standing around.
MATRIX: This is the first time that you are connected in any way with film?
JUAN: We’ve done another couple of films and commercials, but ‘The Matrix’ has certainly been our base from day one. We have pushed other things aside to make sure that we were serving them first. I think that you couldn’t get a nicer bunch of people in the film industry, from the construction guys right up to the directors. The two brothers are fantastic guys, they come up and get their own coffee, mix with the construction guys and have a talk with you. I think it is a fantastic mob of people, I didn’t think you could get 150 people together and not find anyone uptight or pedantic.
MATRIX: Have you seen any of the sets?
JUAN: Yes, we have been to basically every one of them, there have been some amazing ones.
MATRIX: Has any set in particular struck you as spectacular?
JUAN: I think the city backdrop on stage 2 was unbelievable, as was the city hall. All state of the art.
MATRIX: In America we have different names for coffee, have you had any problems dealing with the Americans on the crew?
MATRIX: They want doubles?
JUAN: Yes. I would say that has been the most predominant thing, they like large cups. As far as coffee names go, I think they adjusted pretty quickly actually. Mocha seems to be the favorite. Skim milk is also a bit of a favorite.
MATRIX: Essentially Americans like it larger?
JUAN: Larger, bigger, stronger. Which is great, I like making it like that.
MATRIX: Is there a difference to what the crew members drink as opposed to the office workers that you are used to?
JUAN: A big difference. Basically, bigger coffees, the mochas, the stronger coffee, not the standard flat whites and cappuccinos which seems to be across the board with the office workers. The film industry likes their coffee strong… to get them through their long hours I suppose.
MATRIX: Thanks Juan.
Interview by Spencer Lamm