Slackjaw Rises

September 16th, 2014 § 0 comments


Zach here. I’m in La Grande, OR right now and just two days away from the finish line of of Ian Clark’s new movie – A MORNING LIGHT. I’m acting. It’s fun. I can’t think of a better way to follow up my own project than to sit around for eighteen days looking pretty, not worrying about shit, and eating for free. Thanks, Ian. [UPDATE: I’m not in La Grande anymore but the fact that it was fun still stands.]
By contrast, however, August was a month fraught with uncertainty, tension, last-minute saves, and occasional high leisure. I’m referring to the production of SLACKJAW – the mildly political bromantic superhero origin dramedy I made with usual suspects Nandan, Rob, Brad, and Jesse – along with the indispensable help of several fine local yokels that I’ll introduce shortly.

While the project began as a complex excuse to restore the blog to former glory, things quickly spiraled out of control and the movie took over. We’re arguably not kids anymore, and even just a scant 35 continuous days of someone’s time/energy is becoming a lot to ask. That’s why I decided to skip a process that we in the industry refer to as pre-production and launched into shooting almost totally unprepared. Turns out it was a fucked up decision. Anyway, my point is that while I would have loved to provide a daily breakdown of our progress complete with pretty stills and fun anecdotes, it just wasn’t possible. That’s why I’m here now – to save face with a general description of what it was all like, and to highlight some of the individuals involved.
That’s Rob Malone checking himself out after a makeup test in his dressing room. At least one of Rob’s appendages appears in every single scene of the movie. He was the first person on board since at least eighteen months ago. He underwent a full-on Raging Bull-style transformation for the role, exploring and embracing the chill NW lifestyle. Bless him.
This is clearly Nandan. From our very first collaboration he displayed an unparalleled talent for putting the camera on a tripod and finding focus. And that was back then. This is Nandan 2.0. Observe the muscles and the effortless personal style. Look at that motherfucking Steadicam. Can you imagine how cool this movie must look?
The man on the right is Brad, looking timeless in his money print button down with the letters U, S, and A shaved/painted into the side of his dome. Brad produced the movie, but he is seen here reviving his brief role from THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING, which he also produced. He is always down for a cocktail and/or a deep thought no matter the hour or circumstances. In the above photo he is enjoying both after we shot our big Fourth of July sequence. On the left we have Ian Clark (mentioned above). Let’s get a closer look at him.
Ian is directing the movie I’m working on right now. He drove up from Portland just to hang out that day and found himself playing a key role in a handful of important scenes. Look at the dedication at play here. All in the span of a day, Ian submitted himself to a gross hot dog eating contest, multiple beers poured over his head, roman candles fired at his car, and – best of all – the haircut pictured above.
Here we have a classic behind the scenes image, with the camera looking high tech as ever. The more dedicated Newhard fans will recognize Kym (from YOU MAKE ME FEEL SO YOUNG) on the left, followed by Johanna and Martine. The three of them showed up on short notice one day and crushed their cameos. They are great. Fourth from the left we have Blaise. She had one of the larger roles in the movie. As is my custom, I cast her without any sort of audition or prior knowledge of her acting abilities. She exceeded all expectations and tore the role to shreds. I must have a demon watching over me, because I surely do not deserve this level of excellence. Hail Satan.
And here we have MaryJane. She is a punk singer/general performative genius. She appeared in a handful of scenes and every time she came to set we felt like frauds to have someone so rad hanging out with us. Check out that switchblade earring. You can’t write that.
In this corner, representing the corporate bro lifestyle, we have the Jesses. On the left is Jesse Ruiz, the Slackjaw MVP of handsome and high charisma. On the right is Jesse Rudoy, star of Nandan’s THE MEN OF DODGE CITY. Like Rob, Rudoy went deep method with his role – never shedding his fresh teal polo or ceasing his stream of improvised frat-grade witticisms. Not pictured is Alex Rivera, my since-day-one homie and critical third member of the movie’s bro-trio.
Speaking of corporate, here’s a taste of the movie’s high production value as evidenced by this sick sign my dad is holding behind the scenes of his brief cameo as a stock photo model. Psyched about that. Not pictured above but entirely worthy of thanks are people like Kanako, Peru, Chask’e, Kyle, Chris, Justine, Steve, Jahla/Kenny (who performed this beautiful music in one of my favorite scenes), and everyone who came to our shoots and delivered a line or simply walked/skated by in the background. Also thanks to Seth the campus cop who rolled by on a Segway while we were shooting in the Evergreen basement at night without permission (me wearing nothing but a sheet) and simply said, “Carry on.”

So that’s SLACKJAW. It’s a weird bird to be sure. I still don’t know how it’ll turn out in the end, but I needed to venture into strange territory and I thank all of the friends new/old who came with me. It was rarely easy and a few times it wasn’t even fun, but in accordance with Newhard law, we ended on a high note…
Screenshot 2014-08-25 15.59.15
The edit is well underway and I’ll probably serve up a teaser sooner or later just to keep myself pumped. [UPDATE: The edit is even more well underway and I made a silly teaser…]

Meanwhile, you can check out my previous movies on Fandor. I’m really excited about that. Also, if you’re in Seattle on Monday, Sept. 29, Brian Perkins’ movie SPEED OF SOUND will be playing Local Sightings at the NW Film Forum at 7pm. I acted in it and Brian is great. See you there or else see you here with future updates. [UPDATE: The screening happened and the movie was awesome. Look out for it.]

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