Best known for his role as Ray Ploshansky on HBO’s “Girls,” indie filmmaker Alex Karpovsky helmed both films of a double feature slated for a limited release at Lincoln Center this Friday. Karpovsky wrote, directed and stars in both “Red Flag” and “Rubberneck.” “Red Flag” tells the story of a filmmaker on a lonely road-trip, and “Rubberneck” centers on an introverted scientist whose infatuation with a co-worker turns into obsession. Karpovsky spoke with us about what draws him into a story, getting into character and what loneliness does to his head.
You tend to play characters at crossroads in their lives. They’re living through difficult times, jilted in love — is this something you seek out?
To some extent. “Rubberneck,” “Red Flag” and “Girls” are largely character-driven. I think stories of people in transition are naturally interesting. That’s where all the juicy stuff is.
And you’re specifically interested in loneliness?
Lonely people searching for a cure for their loneliness. No matter how misguided or tortured or perverse that search might be.
Would you say that you’re a romantic? I think a lot of people would say that the Ray and Shoshanna arc is their favorite in “Girls.”
I like to think I’m interested in all of those things. In “Girls,” I try to understand what they want from me, and it’s usually something that I have a lot of fun doing. In my own projects, I tend toward stories driven by misfortune. I’m not particularly engaged by watching people be showered in fortune and blessings. It doesn’t create a forum for conflict.
Creative loneliness inspired “Red Flag.” Are you glad to be out of that part of your life?
I do a lot of things as part of a negotiation with loneliness. I wrote “Red Flag” by myself, but the writing process wasn’t that long, so I didn’t have time for the suicidal thoughts to really solidify.
Can you tell us anything about your next project?
I’m starting to collaborate with people on it, which is making it bearable. It’s something I want to shoot in Mexico. We went down there in December to do some location scouting, and hopefully it should come out at some point in the future.
What do you like best about the filmmaking process?
The variety. Writing is usually a solitary thing, so I start itching for collaboration. Production is more of a circus. With editing, it’s back to a sort of solitary state. I don’t know how writers don’t get paralyzed by loneliness. I couldn’t do it.