Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Kerrigan and Co. Kick Off Reeler Screening Series in East Village

After nearly three months of planning, scheming and general prayers that I would not totally fuck it up, the Reeler Screening Series launched last night at the Pioneer Theater. As you likely know from the last week’s worth of garish self-promotion, I invited filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan to discuss his brilliant (if woefully underseen) drama Keane with me and my fellow bloggers Lawrence Levi and Karina Longworth. A wonderful crowd dropped in for the film, taking time afterward to pepper Kerrigan with questions and celebrate his work with a fitting beer-and-pizza reception.

Lodge Kerrigan has almost all the answers for Cinematical’s Karina Longworth Tuesday night at the Pioneer Theater (Photo: Ray Privett)

Naturally, I taped everything, and I will be working on assembling a podcast of the post-screening chat in the next week. In the meantime, here are a few choice Kerrigan insights to hold you over:
On shooting a movie at Port Authority: The biggest risk is that at Port Authority, 200,000 people pour through every day, and actors work at different rhythms. And I say this in a completely non-pejorative way. Damian would be ready out of the gate–in the first few takes. That’s when he was peaking. Abigail (Breslin), who gives such an incredible performance as Kira, even as much as I would rehearse with her she really didn’t hit her peak until take six or seven, at which point Damian was coming down. So I had to keep shooting, and was take 14 or 15 on average when the two of them are together. I’m running three or four minute scenes with no coverage, and all of the sudden–let’s say on take 12 or take 13, a bus arrives and some guy comes down and says, ‘Hey, are you making a movie?’ And you’re at zero. You start at nothing and go again. And I always wonder about that question. I’m like, ‘What? Was it the camera that gave us away?’ ”
On the ambiguity of Keane’s quest to find his daughter: “The idea for the film originated from the fact that I’m a parent, and my worst fear is that my own daughter would be abducted. I just tried to confront that fear to some degree. But a lot of people that I’ve encountered who suffer from mental illness, a lot of the times the stories they tell me I’m not sure if they’re really accurate or not. … I don’t think it’s a question that they’re being deceitful, but that delusion is a symptom of mental illness. I wanted to place the audience in the position of it seeming as real as possible–to try to force some identification with a character that you normally would avoid. And so really for the audience to answer that themselves.
On rehearsing: “I made a film years ago called Clean, Shaven, and I would rehearse all the time and want to get every reaction down, in this false belief, I think, that actors really turn it on for you in rehearsal, when they don’t at all. They wait until the camera’s rolling. But I’ve kind of moved away from that; in rehearsals now, what I do is really focus on making the characters as clear as possible. I’m not really concerned with performance until the day of the shooting. But y rehearsing on location, we were able to answer all of the technical questions and all of the actors’ questions so early that on the day of the shoot, all we dealt with was performance and rehearsing the camera. That’s it.”
On Steven Soderbergh’s cut of Keane, featured as a DVD extra: “As if he’s not prolific enough, he was shooting Ocean’s 12, and I was just about to picture lock. So out of respect–he is the executive producer of the movie, and arranged for financing through his company Populist Pictures–I sent him a cut of the movie. And he, as another filmmaker, just reordered it and re-edited it on his Mac, in between producing, directing and shooting Ocean’s 12. He said, ‘Oh, I’ve got a little more time. I’ll take a look at this.’ He said to me that it’s the visual equivalent of a conversation. That’s all it was. … When it came time to release the DVD, I didn’t have any bonus features and I really don’t like doing commentaries, so I think Steven came up with the idea: ‘Why don’t we include the other cut?’ And I was like, ‘That’s great. That’ll be the commentary.’ …
“It’s been really interesting–for myself, I laugh at it–to watch the response to it. Some critics/bloggers/opinion makers think that it’s a really passive-aggressive thing that he did; that really he didn’t like my cut and it was a backhanded way to tell me that. … Really it was just fun. We laughed, and I watched it, and we talked about it. And we thought it was kind of a cool thing to do.”
On the “lost” Kerrigan film, In God’s Hands: “I shot a feature on Super 16 called In God’s Hands. It actually had extensive negative damage and had to be abandoned. … It’ll never be seen. Actually, you know, legally, I’m bound by the terms of the settlement that I can’t talk about that. I signed a ‘gag clause.’ ”
“With who?” Longworth asked.
“I’m sorry,” Kerrigan said, almost as incredulous as his inquisitor. “I can’t answer that question.”
My goal is to have the full 30-minute podcast on this site by next Monday; a few freelance deadlines have their feet on my throat until then. But if, for whatever reason, you could not make it Tuesday night, start getting ‘sick’ now so you cancel whatever previous engagements you might have planned for the next one–whenever that is. But if last night’s success was any indication, it will arrive sooner than later. Thanks again to Ray Privett at the Pioneer, Eamonn Bowles at Magnolia Pictures, Lodge, Karina, Lawrence and all of you who came by; I look forward to seeing you again in the not-so-distant future.

One Response to “Kerrigan and Co. Kick Off Reeler Screening Series in East Village”

  1. EDouglas says:

    Brilliant stuff, S! Will try to make a future screening, for sure.

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima