A blog about movies and the Sturbridge area, including The Brookfields, Brimfield, Charlton, Holland, Wales, and Spencer as well as adjacent towns.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brunch With Team Cruelty

UPDATE:Kristen and Monica will be on the radio with Jim Polito at 8:07a.m. Friday, October 31. Tune into WTAG, 580 AM.

Last Sunday Team Cruelty came together at the National Grill in Sutton for a brunch. Not all the cast was there. The actors and actresses present were the California contingent. It was a pleasant morning to talk movie making.

The pictures you see are the work of Tony Colapietro,

The first actor I spoke to, Joseph Eid plays Michael Sullivan, a policeman. Stereotypically, police officers on screen are Irish and Joseph’s character does have a Hibernian name. Joseph, however, looks more like he might be from County Lebanon. True enough, his family is from the Levant. He is pleased to be on location, “It’s not like on a lot, it’s real.”

From New York City, Joe grew up in the suburbs. He started med school, but that was not to be his calling. Like most of the actors, he does have to make ends meet. To that end, he does freelance office management.

Ryan Jones is Tommy Brown. Ryan worked with Kristen in LA and was asked to read for the part. Relatively new in the business, he must have impressed. By the end of the month, he will have acquired significant experience in film.

A crew member from the West Coast was also there. Caitlin O’Hare is the wardrobe stylist and costume designer. She had to coordinate the clothing worn by the cast. According to Caitlin, if a film has a large budget, they will go out and buy what is necessary. In the case of Cruelty, financial reality required going through the closets of the performers and utilizing their clothes. She did make the waitress’ costume for the diner scene and the shadow costume.

Caitlin graduated from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco with a degree in fashion design. She is no flash in the pan having known as a child what she wanted to do. She said, “I would be happy sewing for the rest of my life.” Caitlin also commented about the vagaries of making a living in the film business, “either you get a gig, or you don’t get a gig.”

“Team Cruelty” from the post title is more than just a term. This was emphasized by cast member Kat Kaplan who portrays the devious Terra Lisker in the film. Kat was enthusiastic about the bonding the cast is doing. As they are out here in Massachusetts, living together, the cast does not split up and go home at the end of the day. She notes that the group has a selflessness toward each other. At the start of filming the first scenes were tentative as the actors were playing opposite people they didn’t know weli. Now she feels lucky they are all together. Kat also noted how naturally Kristen and Joe work together as partners (their roles in the movie).

Kat and a girlfriend comprise the Short Bus Bunnies comedy troupe. She describes it as old school comedy, but bawdy.

The two impresarios, Kristen Zaik and Monica Green, were also there. I had spoke at length with Kristen, who plays a detective, in an interview for the Sturbridge Times Magazine’s October issue (click on link to the right). Today, I got to hear more from Monica.

Monica and Kristen knew each other in Boston, but really clicked as friends in LA. Monica was moving West when her housing fell through. Kristen’s boyfriend was an old friend of Monica’s and she was able to find a place to crash.

They were introduced to the Cruelty project by a writer not in a position to pursue it. He trusted them to see it through and they have been working on it for a year. They have persevered through the sea of obstacles that face anyone who is trying to produce something in the current economic conditions. Still, by August things had gone too far. There had been too much press and the partners committed. It was do or die.

So the team came home for a working vacation in October. Kristen and Monica are Massachusetts natives and they have garnered much necessary local support for Cruelty. Monica said, “without local help and support, it couldn’t be done.”

They sought the help of over 100 people, family and friends. Typical of local support was the high school scene. Filmed at Sutton High with many local extras showing up, the Sutton Women’s Club provided food and facilities for the cast and extras. Also a great help was the Sutton Police Chief who even let them use his office for a scene.

A fortunate connection they made was with Sean Doyle and Baker Street Productions based in Arlington, Mass. The team is co-producing Cruelty with Kristen and Monica, lending their own Josh Leonard to direct. The assistant director they brought with them, Paul Speziale, has fit right in with Josh and Baker Street.

So, it is all coming together. At the National Grill, Monica looked a vision of tranquility. I was taken aback when she answered the question about making a movie in a three week time span and she answered that it was “ludicrous.” Well of course it was, but still they are getting it done. What amazes even more is how young they are. Monica is only 22 and Kristen 26 and they have taken the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Whether it was insanity or courage, is by now, beside the point.


Elizabeth H Jones, SRES, RSPS said...

Looking forward to seeing the movie!

Richard Murphy said...

It should be out around Memorial Day '09.

smplcv said...

Will make sure to watch this Sunday. Thanks for sharing this with me!

Art Director CV

Anonymous said...

Really interesting and very helpful information I found here. Thank you for sharing such a valuable thing with us.
Vacation Rental