VOD Spotlight: Mark Pellington (I MELT WITH YOU)November 08, 2011
On Demand Weekly spoke with Mark Pellington, director of the new movie on demand, I MELT WITH YOU, starring Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven, Christian McKay and Carla Cugino.
Frustrated by the often long process that comes with getting movies made today, Mark Pellington (GOING ALL THE WAY, ARLINGTON ROAD) resumed shooting music videos and began looking to, as he says, “take the creative process back to a more intuitive place of directorial freedom, and get out and shoot something down and dirty, yet meaningful— quickly.”
“I was looking to make a raw, visceral, music-driven film that expressed where I was in my life,” said Pellington.
He returned to a script (inspired by LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST)) from a lifelong friend, Glenn Porter, about men who had made an idealistic pact in college in their early twenties, and who are forced to confront the promise they made 25 years later.
“We are both 48, and found ourselves asking where our generation's version of Cassavetes’ HUSBANDS is…
where is the film about
our life experience?”
Together, they embraced the punk rock spirit of making the film their way and said “fuck it, let’s just do it ourselves,” Pellington recalls.
What transpires is a very dark, raw film. “Rather than provide answers,” offers Pellington, “The film asks a lot of questions about the real life experiences of males. I MELT WITH YOU is about self-examination and connecting with the human soul. It could be from an email. I got an email from a friend I hadn’t heard from in 20 years who saw the film.”
I MELT WITH YOU has a very recognizable cast. It started with Thomas Jane as Richard the teacher and former novelist. The film opens on Jane in the classroom with the “Uncover & Real” lesson written on the chalkboard. Pellington explains writing is the thing Richard can’t do in his life
Thomas Jane & Mark Pellington / I MELT WITH YOU (Magnolia)
They then cast Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay in the remaining three lead roles. “I needed male actors who had the courage to dig pretty deep, and Rob, Tom, Jeremy, Christian— they just went for it,” said Pellington. As the beginning of film continues, we see the remaining three characters leave their daily lives to embark on their annual reunion.
Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe & Jeremy Piven / I MELT WITH YOU (Magnolia)
They also cast longtime friend Carla Cugino as the local sheriff and the film’s moral compass. It didn’t hurt they were shooting I MELT WITH YOU in Big Sur, Cugino’s childhood hometown.
“We shot it in 18 days and submitted it to Sundance in August (2010. It played at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival),“ Pellington said. “My agent said the film would garner interest from about 3 buyers and Magnolia (ALL GOOD THINGS) was the most passionate.”
As Pellington has embraced a new more affordable form of digital filmmaking, he shared his thoughts on new forms of film distribution, video on demand. “I’m a father now and it takes a lot for me to be able to go to see a movie in theaters. Unless you go in the first 2 weeks, it disappears.
VOD is a new way to experience movies.
It opens up the possibility of seeing the film.
Making (and distributing) films this way has revolutionized the way I think of making films.”
Four quick questions with Mark.
On Demand Weekly; The Stone Roses I WANT TO BE ADORED is one of my favorite songs. Who selected the film’s songs?
Mark Pellington: Me too...Myself, the editor ..ultimately it was my call..
ODW Tell me about including Johnny Rotten’s interview by Tom Snyder in the beginning Day 2.
MP: A fragment of historical perspective, memory and aesthetic homage. I originally wanted to have lots of mid 70-s-early 80's cultural reminders. This and the challenger kind of bookend the film. John (Johnny Rotten ) Lydons perspective on aging and history is ironic. The challenger represents the death of masculine space program/death of dream of exploring. A metaphor for destruction
ODW: Do you feel the 4 main characters ultimately behaved as who they are on the trip away or as devotees to what their young 20-somethings selves envisioned?
MP: Who they were but emotionally as children/youth....devotees, clutching to the times when they were free.
ODW: How bad of an idea is it for people to have cell phones when partying to excess (Rob Lowe scene)?
MP: A bad one.
I MELT WITH YOU premiered on demand last week, a month before available in theaters.
Mark Pellington's Director’s Statement: