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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Lizzy Caplan

SXSW 2012: Unusual buzz-building with 'frankie go boom'

March 11, 2012 |  8:02 pm

Charlie Hunnam and Chris O'Dowd in "frankie go boom"



Is is possible for a movie to peak with its description in a film festival announcement? That was the question in Austin on Saturday night at South by Southwest going into the premiere of the "frankie go boom," screening as part of the Narrative Spotlight section.

The film had begun generating buzz when it was first announced for the Texas festival, not because of filmmaking pedigree or talent attached, but rather for the oddly worded, quizzically spelled, poorly punctuated and slightly vulgar description that accompanied it -- "A flick by bruce about his little brother frank who's a crybaby ... who shouldn't do ... embarrassing ... if he dozn't want people to 2 see it." For anyone who has had it with another family reunion/weekend wedding/road trip log-line, it was just weird enough to be refreshing. 

"Welcome to my mid-life crisis," said writer-director Jordan Roberts, a longtime screenwriter whose credits include the narration to "The March of the Penguins," while introducing the film. With an enviable cast that includes Chris O'Dowd, Charlie Hunnam, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Perlman, Chris Noth and Whitney Cummings, one might expect a packed red carpet, but none of the cast were in attendance.

"I'm sorry the actors aren't here," said Roberts, "but they are all working. They don't hate me."

The story centers on two brothers, Frankie and Bruce. Frankie (Hunnam) is trying to live down the disgrace of not only finding out that his fiancee had been cheating on him as their wedding was underway, but also that his brother Bruce (O'Dowd) posted a video of his subsequent meltdown on the Internet. Bruce is struggling to overcome addiction issues and reenters Frankie's life just as Frankie is meeting a woman (Caplan) he might have a real chance with. When Bruce uploads another video and complications ensue.

The wild farce went over well in the room. Citing "Borat," "Flirting With Disaster" and "Some Like It Hot" as his main influences in writing the story, Roberts said during the post-screening Q&A that, "I wanted to make a comedy about second chance, in love, second chance in whatever the thing you got slapped down at, and I was fascinated by humiliation and challenging humiliation." 

The inevitable question about whether he has a real-life sibling yielded an interesting response, given that the film centers around two brothers, one an addict, as well as a colorful and tender transgender character played by Ron Perlman.

"I have a brother who is now my sister, or a sister who used to be my brother," said Roberts, "and I have a brother who is no longer with us. So there is addiction in our family, and that's definitely in play here. I feel like these two characters are as much me as they are my brother and I. I am both a rabid, despicable, hungry, voracious quester for fame and I am also a shy, withholding guy who wants to be in the background. So I'm both Frank and Bruce."

Related: 

SXSW 2012: Two sides of opening night with 'Cabin' and 'Babymakers'

SXSW 2012: 'Gimme The Loot' a freewheeling inner-city adventure

SXSW 2012: 'Jeff' explores Dahmer's effect on Milwaukee

-- Mark Olsen, reporting from Austin, Texas

twitter.com/indiefocus

Photo: Charlie Hunnam and Chris O'Dowd in "frankie go boom." Credit: Courtesy of South by Southwest Film Festival


Lizzy Caplan: The restless mind of a Sundance star

January 31, 2012 |  7:00 am

Lizzycaplan-600

As life problems go, you could find yourself in worse pickles than deciding which Sundance house to stay in while you premiere a pair of movies at the country’s preeminent film gathering.

But don't douse the comedic actress Lizzy Caplan in too much hater-ade -- not even as she describes how she was forced to choose between the Park City, Utah, condo hosting the group from the grown-sibling dramedy "Save the Date," in which she plays a commitment-phobe sister, and the crash pad for the raunchy femme romp "Bachelorette," in which she plays a coke-fried bridesmaid opposite Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher.

"I spent one night [with the 'Save the Date' crew] and then realized it was too much to go back and forth, so I stayed with the 'Bachelorette' [people]'" Caplan said at the festival last week, describing her temporary housing situation.

At 29, after years of promising but false starts on sputtering television shows, the occasional part in a hit such as "Cloverfield" and very small roles in critically acclaimed movies (quick, who did she play in "127 Hours"?), the Los Angeles-raised actress is again on the cusp of wider fame. Needless to say, it's a position she's found herself in before.

"I did a show called 'The Class' where they took us on a private plane, the creators of the show and Jimmy Burrows, the epic sitcom director," Caplan recalled. "They brought us to Vegas and took us to dinner and took us gambling and gave us a big speech that it's the last time we're going to be able to go out in public. And everybody was like 'Oh my God.' So I said to Jimmy, 'Well, what's your batting average?'" And he said he was right almost every time. He was wrong only one time." She paused. "I was kind of honored to be the second time."

Ebullient and unguarded, Caplan, who is perhaps best known for the cult Starz television comedy "Party Down," has no shortage of fears about fame -- and few compunctions about revealing them. In an era when most actors put on a stoic front about how lucky they feel, Caplan is surprisingly open about the drawbacks and insecurities of a life in front of the camera.

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