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An Interview with Mike Messier, Director of The Impeccable

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2019

Films directed by Mike Messier on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie The Impeccable - in a few words, what is it about?

 

An elegant, well-to-do lady, Clarrisse (played by Ashley Shea), and her younger kept man Henry (played by Adam LaFramboise) are expecting company on Cinco De Mayo; the lady’s niece Denise (played by Naira Zakaryan). Later, Clarrisse discovers that her niece Denise and boyfriend Henry have a prior relationship themselves. Fearing a loss of social status and his new-found financial fortune, Henry scrambles to keep them all on the same page.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing The Impeccable?

 

As a contributing playwright, I was assigned to write a script within just a few hours to include a character for Ashley Shea as part of a Play in a Day Festival produced by Michael Gonza in January, 2017. I had never met Ashley before this, but looking at her impressive acting credentials online, I figured she might be up for the challenge of a really intense role; so I did my best to provide.

So, credit to Mr. Gonza and all those behind the Play in a Day Festival, which ran its course in Natick, MA for four months. Both The Impeccable and another short film of mine, titled So, You’re the Guy?, currently in editing, came from Play in a Day stage pieces.

 

Which of the three characters in The Impeccable could you actually identify with the most, who the least, and why?

 

Oh boy, what a good question! I can probably identify with Denise the niece the most because, as a child, she was more or less raised by television as the adults around her fought and bickered. I can probably identify with Henry the rouge the least, because he tends to get by on charm, whereas I actually have to do the work!

 

Before making the movie, you actually brought The Impeccable to the stage, right? So could you talk about the stage version for a bit, and how it came into being? And how did directing it for stage and screen compare to one another?

 

As stated, The Impeccable was originally written for the Play in a Day Festival and I wrote that version as well, in about six hours. A good guy and very talented director named David LeBahn from the Boston theater scene was the assigned director for the stage version. I think David did a great job, especially given the time restrictions on such an event.

Watching the stage version live from the audience, among the elements that night, I was most impressed by Ashley’s work, as it was a natural fit for her to command the stage as Clarrisse. A year later, I had Naira on my TV show Messier Mantra as a guest, and she suggested we do a project together. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to collaborating with Naira, an international pageant winner and cover model! So, thinking on the various scripts I had to offer, I started to imagine her and Ashley playing off each other as aunt and niece; it seemed to fit.

So, I, more or less, took over as director for the film version, kept Ashley, reassigning the role of Denise to Naira, and began looking for a Henry. A good friend of mine was originally slated for the role, but he had to back out due to a scheduling conflict. Not wanting to change our shooting schedule, I posted online for the role of Henry. Adam sent in a video audition which was kind of interesting because he did a free form monologue of “Henry” but with his own words not from what I wrote in the script. I asked him to do another video with the actual text, which he also did quite well.

Adam and I met in person in New Hampshire and he has a great attitude and really is a straight shooter. There were three really talented guys in the “final ballot” up for the Henry role, but Adam’s infectious “British” accent was the deciding factor in him landing the role. So, Adam as Henry was the third and final piece in the casting puzzle.

 

The Impeccable is mostly confined to just one room - so how limiting but maybe also liberating was that, and how easy or hard was it to keep things visually interesting?

 

The one room confinement to me was perfect for this particular piece because it keeps the emphasis on the dialogue and also the disconnect that it’s “the family room” although in this particular family, there is so much dysfunction and distrust between aunt and niece, that the room seems to get smaller and darker as the piece moves along.

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

These are three unlikeable people. In most films, there is a character arc or “redeeming value” assigned to the protagonist , or even an antagonist or anti-hero, that people can hang their hat on as the “moral lesson” for the piece. For The Impeccable, I wanted to turn this norm upside down a bit. Instead of the audience feeling that they have witnessed a character be “redeemed”,  I want the audience itself to feel as if they have been morally corrupted, and that they have turned their own moral compass – even for a few moments – towards the direction of the characters' viewpoints. In other words, the “arc” is not with the fictional characters in The Impeccable, but, hopefully, with the very real audience watching the film.

 

Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Naira is a very busy model and actress with a unique international and financial work background. She lives and works in New York City and also commutes to Boston for projects as needed.

Ashley Shea is a wonderfully talented actress, who is relatively new to Boston, after spending most of her life in the South with her talented director/actor husband Jack Shea. Some of Ashley’s modeling photos from her previous projects remind me favorably of Susan Sarandon from The Rocky Horror Picture Show era.

Adam is a really hard working, dedicated actor who really approaches this whole thing from a grounded perspective; which is refreshing in its integrity.

 

Overall, a great cast. I’d love to work with all of them again in more projects; but in fairness to everybody, I’d rather have a bigger budget in place before doing such.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Tim Labonte, DP, editor and co-producer, was really instrumental in making this shoot move smooth. Tim secured the location from his friend Joseph Rapoza who really helped us out. The small additional crew of producer Kim Kayling (also on boom mic) and “World’s Greatest PA” Celia Cataldo worked very hard and were well organized. We had a bit of local support from our caterer Chelo’s Hometown Bar & Grille in Woonsocket, RI restaurant and Sons of Liberty Spirits Company that provided an instrumental prop we later drank. We shot the 23 minute movie in one long day, which was really a testimony to everyone being rehearsed, and on-point and ready to work hard. Please note, that we did have a back-up day in place in case we needed it, but it turned out not to be necessary.

 

In post-production, I had fun bouncing back and forth between video editing sessions with Tim and brain-storming with our composer Tony Caramadre  with the score. Those guys are the experts in their respective fields, but I enjoy the co-pilot role for each of those aspects of production. Finally, a gentleman named David West, also of New England, provided the wonderful photography that became our promotional cast photos and lent themselves to our film poster.

 

The sixty four thousand Dollar question of course, where can your movie be seen?

 

We are currently sending out to festivals, so the full film is not online yet, but the trailer is featured on a very special episode of Messier Mantra, which can be found here: https://mikemessier.com/2019/01/19/the-impeccable-teaser-debuts-on-messier-mantra/

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Impeccable?

 

The few that have seen it have enjoyed it, but not many have seen it as of now.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I’d like to have Distance from Avalon on stage and filmed sooner than later. I have several other scripts of various genres with titles like To Fight or Play Basketball, Also Ran, Chris and the Coffee Girl and Wrestling with Sanity. Even scripts or projects of mine that have been “back burnered”, I’d like to reboot before I’m dead. A lot of this is documented quite well in Disregard the Vampire – A Mike Messier Documentary which your readers can view here for free: https://youtu.be/t9jFqZCB9o4

Also, Tim Labonte and I recently revamped and rereleased Blood! Sugar! Sid! Ace!, an arthouse feature film for festival consideration.

 

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Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

https://mikemessier.com/

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https://distancefromavalon.com/

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I’d really like to get some type of agent or manager moving forward with my career, Mike! So, anyone reading this who either is an agent or manager, or knows of one, please contact me at mikemessiermoviemaker@gmail.com

I’ve got many viable projects that I think are worthy of both art and commerce!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Never surrender, Mike.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD