INTERVISTA al regista – di Noah Jordan su Citypages.com
City Pages: What is your background in filmmaking?
Stewart Wade: I have a MFA in playwriting from UCLA, and while I was there I also took film courses. Later, I went back and took additional film writing and directing courses through UCLA extension. It was in the program that I directed my first short film, “Coffee Date.” It went on to become a big hit on the festival circuit, and made me realize that filmmaking was something I could do.
What was your inspiration for Such Good People?
I have always loved the screwball comedies of the 1930s, as well as the later versions like What’s Up, Doc? When I was approached with the script for Such Good People a few years ago, it felt like a contemporary version of those movies I’d loved, with the added benefit of having a loving gay couple as the central characters. I also thought the movie, despite being a delightful romp, had something real to say about our need to “keep up with the Joneses.”
What are you hoping people takeaway from the film?
I’m mostly hoping they laugh and have a great time. But I’m also hoping it shows them that gay people can be as crazy and screwed up as anyone else, as well as showing them to be as caring and as human as everyone else.
What was it like working with this particular cast?
This cast was amazing. They were so much fun to work with; often as funny offset as on. Everyone knew it was a low-budget picture being shot on a very tight schedule, so no one was a diva. Everyone really was just there to make a great movie, and I think we did.
This film was funded by a Kickstarter, was that your first experience with it?
Yes, this was my first experience with Kickstarter. It was nerve-wracking, but also very exciting, and so gratifying to see that there was so much support out there for our little movie.
Why do you think LGBTQ film festivals are so important?
Festivals like these are important both as social events for our community, and also for the chance for us to see our stories brought to life. Humans need to experience art to help them process their lives, and LGBTQ people need that just as much, if not more, than other folks.
What’s next for you?
I just directed a short film, which I’ll begin editing soon, and I’m in various stages of development with a few different features. Fingers crossed; I may be shooting another feature before the end of the year.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Stop making excuses for why you can’t get things done and just go do them.
If you could collaborate with someone who would it be and why?
I had a terrific time collaborating with David Avallone and David Michael Barrett. I’m hoping we get to do it again soon. But I’d also love to collaborate with a host of other talented people. Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Joss Whedon. He’s just so fun and has a great sensibility.
It’s difficult to be honest about a film when the intentions of the game cast are good. Such is the case with director Stewart Wade’s new film “Such Good People,” which stars the likeable and talented Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”) and “Queer as Folk” alum Randy Harrison. With a number of great actors in smaller roles such as Scott Wolf (“Party of Five”), Ana Ortiz (also “Ugly Betty”), Tom Lenk (Joss Whedon fave), and indie king James Urbaniak, it’s a shame to watch all this talent not shine on screen. The fault isn’t their own.
The plot of “Such Good People” is convoluted at best. It’s supposed to have a “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” or “Outrageous Fortune”-type vibe of wacky hijinks, but none of it really works because we really don’t care what happens. Ricahrd (Urie) and Alex (Randy) are a couple in Los Angeles who are trying to adopt a baby and settle down. When they go out looking at houses they can’t afford, they fall in love with a craftsman house in Silverlake where, conveniently, a party is in progress. Even more conveniently, Alex spots his sister going inside, so they decide to crash. (How they get in is one of the laziest plot devices of the year.) Inside they end up befriending the home owners who are raising money for orphans in Buhtan. The couple asks them to house sit, which they jump at. Little do they know that Alex’s half-sister Paige (Carrie Wiita) and her husband Cooper (Urbaniak) are in love with the house, too.
Cut to a montage of the happy couple enjoying their new digs until they accidentally discover a hidden room that has a secret stash of almost a million dollars in cash. They do a number of inexplicably dumb things at this point and when the couple for whom they are housesitting is tragically killed, they end up essentially stealing the money. Guilt ridden, they decide to give it to the orphans themselves, but the Buhtan agency is wildly homophobic so they decide against it and give it to a porpoise charity instead. (Don’t ask.) But then they have second thoughts about how they could buy the house and pay the money back (really?) and take the money back. Long story short: The cops are onto them and so is sister Paige. Everyone wants the cash, the house, and some priceless art piece from Buhtan that I won’t even go into. Wackiness ensues.
The biggest problem with “Such Good People” is that it is directed in such a way that there is absolutely no energy to it at all. This is a wild situational comedy, yet the constant use of slow motion and the flat way it is shot suck all of the life from otherwise terrific actor’s performances. You can see them all trying really hard, but the film just lays lifeless on the screen.
The script by David Michael Barrett is tortuously complicated and each character comes across kind of like an asshole. Even our loving leads make terribly selfish choices to the point where when they do the right thing at the end and there is a tender moment of them finally getting what they want, it’s unearned. With a fresher rewrite and zippier direction this could have been an over-the-top and enjoyable throw-back to old ’80s comedies. Instead, it doesn’t give us a reason to care and makes us wish these fine actors were given more of a chance to show us what they’ve got. (Kevin Taft, edgeonthenet.com)