Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Interview Series - Night Before the Wedding - Actor James Anthony McQuillan

Actor James Anthony McQuillan on the set of Night Before the Wedding

Tell us one thing about yourself that no one really knows?

One thing no one knows about me is that I sleep on the right side of the bed.

How did you get your start in film?

I was a Sophomore in College when a third year NYU grad student saw me in a production the "Playboy of the Western World" and asked me if I would play a protagonist in one of his thesis films for acclaimed director Spike Lee.

How did you get involved in “Night Before the Wedding”?

It was a clear day in downtown Los Angeles when fabled writer/director David Branin informed me about a film he wanted to bring to fruition. This took place in the bowels of the Shrine auditorium during the 2007 Emmy's. 8 months later we had a full length feature film to sink our teeth into.

What is your role in this project?

I play the role of Corey Sullivan. He works in high finance and is married but with no kids and none on the horizon. He is a wonderful spirited gentleman who cares deeply about his friends and living life to the fullest. Corey is used to high pressure situations and finds himself in a morality battle that he may or may not win. Overall Corey enjoys his partying and thrives in positions that most people would crumble in.

I also handled the props for the film. There’s only one prop I couldn’t acquire, that being a plastic ass. One would think living in a town where pornography trumps all in terms of money and shear production that finding a plastic ass would be as easy as finding someone who works in porn. I was about 7 or 8 smut stores in on Hollywood Boulevard when I discovered this was a challenge. I usually do not frequent these places and all I can say is that there are some interesting people out there and they hang in the porn shops. Unreal.

What were your thoughts when you first read the script?

I was excited because the script contained all the elements of many past great films. Comedy, Drama, and a conclusion that will throw you for a loop. At first I thought it would be a difficult shooting schedule because of all the characters and it all takes place in large part in one room. You have to be doing some captivating stuff to keep the attention of the viewer. The more I read the script the more I felt this was going to be a minor issue due to how well it was written.

What attracted you to working on this film?

I have seen David's previous work "Shoot-Out" and "Honey I'm Home". I enjoyed both projects and felt as though Dave was on his way to big things in the film industry. Of course I wanted a chance to work with him and when he approached me about the 10-15 page script for a short to be shot in a weekend I jumped at the chance. A few days later that plan was scrapped because Dave's brain oozed 45 more pages and then another 45 that spawned a feature. Also, Dave was open to suggestions on flow and plot line not only for the entire plot but we also had a little say in how our characters panned out. I had been itching to get a feature done and this was my chance and I am glad it happened.

What was the most challenging thing you had to face with this project?

With so many characters in one room you have to be aware of how you fit in when you are not the focus of the shot. Keeping Corey true and as real as possible when acting in the background. It is easy to fade off and say I'm not the focus of this shot but you are just as important as anyone else in the shot. Working with so many different personalities was initially a concern but when I arrived on set the energy was electric and everyone had the same look in their eyes and that was a wave of relief. That and the heat. Must have been 125 degrees, maybe more in the garage scenes.

Ali-Reza Nusrat looks down on Actor James Anthony McQuillan
and Actress La'Rin Lane rehearsing a scene.

What did you love most about being involved with this production?

The fact that I was there from the infant stage of the project and saw it through to the end. Watching what Dave created unfold in front of me was both educational as well as exciting.

Is this a film for women to see?

Of course! There are so many characters to follow and women kind of want to know what really happens when their groom to be is going to his Stag party. I am not saying everyone gets down like these guys did but it gives you a great template as to what happens. There are great stories going on and women will be able to find redeeming qualities in this film.

Will you share this film with your Mom?

Considering my Mother had a Screening of "The Big Lebowski" at a convent, I would gladly sit down with her and watch this.

What does this film have that you will not find in a big Studio release?

A reasonability and a realness that allows you to let go of life's dilemmas and delve into the lives of these characters. I think anyone can identify with someone or something in this film.

What makes this a ‘must see’ movie?

The fact that this is the first feature for a lot of the actors so we all brought our A game to make this an interesting film. This is also as close as you can get to being at a bachelor party without attending one. "Night Before the Wedding" should be made available to all colleges and universities around the world as a survival guide to getting through the Stag party.


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