Happy Holidays Everyone! Katie here! I have a special treat for everyone. Remember last week when I wrote an article about this awesome Short Film called MERRY XMAS???? You know this article ->MERRY XMAS starring Dick Van Dyke – A Holiday Comedy you Don’t want to Miss…. Well if you don’t remember just click back there and check it out.
As a result of that fabulous article and a well placed email, I was presented with the opportunity to have an “email sit-down interview” with Boman Modine, the Director and co-writer, and Matthew Modine, Co-Writer, Producer, and Actor, of the Holiday Comedy Short Film, MERRY XMAS.
Interview with Boman and Matthew Modine
BM: Boman Modine, MM: Matthew Modine
Q1: Short films are such a unique genre; you have such a limited time to tell a story. Can you describe what it was like telling an entire story in such a short time?
- BM: In many ways I think telling a short is harder because every word and action that ends up on the screen needs to convey an integral element to the story. Such selections can be tricky.
- MM: I believe making short films is a great discipline for writers and directors. The economy of time and simplicity necessary to convey a complex story quickly is terrific training ground for feature filmmaking.
Q2: In the credits it said this film was based on an old, old joke scenario. Where did this joke come from? Whose idea was it to create a short film from this joke?
- BM: My grandfather ‘dad’ Modine told my father the joke who told it several times at dinner tables before he pitched the idea to me while I was driving for Lyft.
- MM: I’m pretty sure the first time I heard the joke was from my dad. So I must’ve repeated it to Boman and there you go!
Q3: Boman as the Director, how close does the final product resemble your original vision? Did the film evolve in any way during filming?
- BM: Absolutely. The idea started modest, low-key, it would be just a few friends making a movie. When Dick Van Dyke came on board with Glenne Headly and then Valerie Harper- the emphasis of the movie changed to flesh out all of the characters. Most drastically, the characters became older thus giving the story a different consideration.
Q4: Did you have Dick Van Dyke in mind as the father when you wrote the screenplay? What about Valerie Harper and Glenne Headly?
- BM: Dick Van Dyke was my first choice when considering the father. Valerie Harper represented adding an interesting dynamic. A lot of people knew the punchline was coming in the script but having someone with Valerie’s pedigree added extra punch during the delivery.
Q5: Are there any behind the scenes moments that stand out that you would be willing to share with us?
- BM: Many. I’ll keep it brief: The trick to a long and healthy life filled with infectious happiness seems to be dancing. Mr. Van Dyke dances everywhere. Constantly and without holding back.
Q6: I personally have 2 favorite scenes. When Abe calls his sister and says, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make a cellphone call to Hong Kong?” and the moment when we realize the divorce was all a ploy to get the kids to come home. I laughed so much. Was there a particular scene or moment in the film or during filming that was your favorite?
- BM: The scene where Abe is talking to his father on the phone was probably my favorite. It was the first time I got to really direct my father and then I couldn’t be in the car because there wasn’t room. I had to trust Sara Garth, our cinematographer, and Matthew. “I’m always busy” is my favorite line in the short.
Q7: What was it like winning Best Pilot at the New Media Film Festival and being nominated for Best Short Film at the Oldenburg Film Festival and Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival? Congratulations, by the way!
- BM: Just being accepted is a win.
- MM: I was happy for Boman because he and Dick and Valerie discussed the possibility of a series on set when they shot their scenes. Boman and Dick agreed that the family should never be seen together as a family unit. That dad would always be trying to physically get the family together using different methods – but never actually succeed.
Q8: Are there any other projects currently in the works or past projects we missed out on that you would like to share with us?
- BM: I have a modern-fairy tale I’ve been working on this year called ‘Lefty’ which is the story of a disembodied, reanimated, hand that befriends two intrepid little girls. I’m very excited to finish it.
- MM: I’m presently working on a Netflix series with Winona Ryder called STRANGER THINGS. It’s a very cool mystery show. Goonies meets ET meets Poltergeist. I also have two features coming out in 2016, 47 METERS DOWN and HIPPOPOTAMUS based on the a novel by the amazing Stephen Fry.
We are looking forward to all the new projects that both Boman and Matthew are working on!
On behalf of Temple of Geek and myself, we would like to thank Boman and Matthew Modine for taking the time to answer our questions. We would also like to thank Theo Dumont from Dumont Marketing for making this interview possible!
Additionally, we would like to extend our Congratulations on the success of MERRY XMAS! Top 10 List of Short Films on iTunes Movies. THAT’S AWESOME!!!!
— Matthew Modine (@MatthewModine) December 24, 2015
Thank you again! We wish everyone a very Happy Holidays and we hope you have a Fantastic New Years!!!!!!