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2015, 77m, comedy, sport
With no job prospects and an angry new landlord demanding rent, things are looking bleak for best friends Carl and Larry... until a charismatic stranger comes up with a plan to solve their financial woes. The brilliant idea? Fight each other in a boxing match so they both get paid. But will battling in the ring drive a wedge between best friends? Unique characters, sharp dialogue and a distinct brand of humor may split a crowd, or cause you to split your sides in laughter.
Produced by: Min Soo Elle Kim, Rachel Whelan
Cast: Kenny Zimlinghaus, Aaron Wertheimer, Anthony Mascorro
10 questions with Wedgerino director, Aaron Wertheimer at the half-way mark.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
1Hi Aaron! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Summer Festival. What was the initial inspiration behind your Wedgerino? The initial inspiration was this idea that it's exhausting when people hyper-analyze their romantic relationships, and then thinking it'd be funny to transfer that analysis and obsession over to a friendship.
2You wrote this film as well. What was your writing process like and how long did it take you to write the script? At first I wrote a 10-page short and gave it to my friend Andre to read, and he said it was funny and he wished it didn't end so soon. I took him literally and decided to write a feature. It took about six months to outline and write the first draft, and then I started showing it to trusted friends for feedback. I kept revising up until it was time to start shooting.
3The humor in this film is like nothing I've seen before. Every character says everything they're thinking which I found pretty hilarious. I'm curious what films or tv shows you find funny? Where did this unique brand of humor come from? Thank you. I guess I like dry humor, where you can think about it later and chuckle to yourself. A big influence has been early '90s offbeat NYC indie films like Tom DiCillo's Johnny Suede and Hal Hartley's work from The Unbelievable Truth to Simple Men. Hal Hartley's stuff is stilted and melodramatic in a really amusing, unique and confident way that I admire. I feel so grateful to have discovered those movies.
Films and TV shows I grew up thinking are funny include The Naked Gun trilogy and The Simpsons, and then there are some overlooked comedies like Hot Rod and Observe and Report. I was also influenced by high school TV shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson's Creek, The OC, etc., as well as serious movies, like the flashback where Johnny thinks about his ex was inspired by the scenes in The Thin Red Line with Ben Chaplin thinking about his wife on the swing set, and of course for the boxing sequence I watched many boxing films. My favorite is Michael Mann's Ali.
4Can you share a war story from the shoot? There was a two-week break before the final three days of shooting, and in that time I crashed my motorcycle, which was the motorcycle used in the film. We were supposed to get a shot of Johnny jumping on the bike and zooming off, but we never did due to the crash. I was driving down a big street in Brooklyn and this SUV pulled out of a parking spot at the last second and I smashed right into it. There was this split second when I realized I was going to hit the SUV and that moment was crazy, pretty much exactly a Jason Bourne situation. Except he would never get in a crash. I smashed into the side of the SUV, flew over the hood and landed in the street. The bike was totaled. I was taken to the hospital on a stretcher, they X-rayed me and said nothing was broken. I had some scratches on my leg and my number one pair of jeans got ripped up. And I'm not into the ripped jeans look. So basically I walked away from this crazy crash, it was like Bruce Willis in Unbreakable. A movie I don't like, for the record.
5How difficult was it for you to act and direct the film at the same time? How were you able to gauge your performance and how difficult was it to stay in character in the scene instead of thinking as the director? It wasn't that hard, I was pretty used to it from acting in my own short videos through the years. It was very helpful to have a DP who also directs in Don Downie, and to have a great AD in Rachel Whelan. If you're acting in your own stuff you need to have a crew you trust. Just ask my extremely close friend Kevin Costner.
6I was dying at the random 90's tv style montage and the scene where Johnny was sitting on top of the fridge eating almonds. What's your favorite scene in the film and what did it take to get it right? Personally my favorite scene is the date between Johnny and Nicole, where they go through the ups and downs of a relationship all on one brief date. I think I got it right in the casting. The actors understood it as a dramatic Beverly Hills 90210 sort of thing. And the location was pretty solid.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? Lost Highway by David Lynch. I remember seeing that in the theater in Boston, and just being completely overwhelmed by its force and slow burning intensity, and by the vision of David Lynch. It blew me away, that a film like that could exist.
8You and Kenny Kimlinghaus play great together. How did you two meet and how did you know Kenny would be perfect for the part? We met in NYC when he was temping at a nonprofit I was working at. He overheard me talking on the phone about softball and asked to join the team. We started by becoming softball friends, especially because Kenny is an awesome softball player. He's a standup comedian and he wanted to make short videos to play at his shows, so we started doing that. Some of the shorts were with these melodramatic characters Larry and Carl, who the main characters in Wedgerino are based on.
Incidentally, Kenny's last name is Zimlinghaus, not Kimlinghaus. He told me that his last name was originally Gimlingham before his ancestors changed it.
9I'm curious what the response has been like for this film? Did it do well at festivals? It takes a little getting used to in the beginning because it's such a different form of comedy, but once you're in it, I thought it was hilarious. The response is pretty hit or miss, for the most part people are either really into it or kind of like, what is this? Why is everyone talking like this? It played at six festivals and had a nice reception at four of them. My wife's grandmother saw the movie and told me I need to get better at writing dialogue because the dialogue in Wedgerino is not realistic. I'm glad you think it's hilarious, I appreciate that.
10What's next? I plan on shooting my second feature, called Skippers, this fall. Hopefully it'll blow Wedgerino out of the water.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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