August 10th, 2008 at 11:14 am
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream

Links for Pipe Dream:

January 24th, 2006 at 3:16 pm
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream

Pipe Dream movie poster

Pipe Dream video cover

Pan Terra web site

Toni & David
Jeremy Walker PR web site

Toni & David
Yahoo Movies

Toni & David
Official website

Jeremy Walker PR web site

set still

Mary-Louise & Martin
Nam’s MLP web site

Mary-Louise, Martin, & Kevin
Nam’s MLP web site

Martin, Mary-Louise, & Kevin
Nam’s MLP web site

David & Toni
Nam’s MLP web site

Martin, Mary-Louise, & John
Nam’s MLP web site

David & Marliss
Lions Gate Films

RJ, David, & Toni
Yahoo Movies

Lions Gate Films


David & Toni

Images were taken from various sources, and are the copyright of their respective owners.

November 20th, 2003 at 11:44 am
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream

Weblog of Eric:

“My very favorite part of SIFF (yes, even more than nasty couples engaging in heavy petting in the row ahead of us) is the Q&A sessions. It’s totally exciting to see filmmakers who show up after their movies for Q&A sessions, but it was extra exciting a couple days ago when I met Martin Donovan after “Pipe Dream”. The director and co-writer were also there, but their respective coolnesses cried and had self-esteem issues when faced with such coolness as Martin Donovan’s. Actually, he came across as a little snobby, but I still like him a lot. He made the audience laugh. Afterward, I wanted to go get his autograph, or get my picture taken with him, or kidnap him and make him my own, but I settled for shuffling out of the theater directly behind him by pure coincidence and pretending that we were meant to be together. Hey, whatever works.”

November 20th, 2003 at 11:25 am
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream

Press Notes from Jeremy Walker (the PR firm)

“Pipe Dream” is a new romantic comedy from writer/director John C. Walsh. “Pipe Dream” is Walsh’s second feature; his first, the 1996 film “Ed’s Next Move,” had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to play at the Seattle and Toronto Film Festivals and was released in theatres by Orion Classics. Starring Matt Ross, Callie Thorne and Kevin Carroll, “Ed’s Next Move” established Walsh as a director with a light comic touch.

That film’s premise ”a young guy from Wisconsin moves to New York, trying to fit in and find a girl” pleased audiences around the country with its quiet wit and offbeat charm. It proved Walsh a director intent on eliciting truthful, understated performances. Walsh’s approach to romance relies on restraint; keenly observant, he also knows how to have fun with his characters, especially when they are flawed.

The new film, “Pipe Dream” also brings together a cast of New York characters. The film stars Martin Donovan as David Kulovic, an unnoticed plumber who poses as a film director in order to meet women. Feeling that his job puts him in a low “perception category,” he wants to try a better one on for size.

As “Pipe Dream” opens, David finds his neighbor, Toni Edelman (Mary-Louise Parker), kicking out her boyfriend. David consoles Toni and they end up spending the night together. On his way out the next morning, David overhears Toni on the phone with a friend, saying, “I don’t know where my brain was. I can’t…. he’s a plumber.” Toni just can’t see herself with a man who clears sewer lines for a living. At the door Toni invites David to a reading of her screenplay, which she has written in her spare time away from editing corporate videos. “My writing group are all so critical and I would love to hear the opinion of an average person,” she says. Though innocently meant, this comment stings David, and only serves to confirm his feeling that people can’t see past his job.

At the office of a friend, commercial casting director RJ Martling (Kevin Carroll), David is briefly mistaken for a director. For an instant he glows with the same attention given to a director. David sees that not only are directors held in higher esteem, they also get to meet a lot of lovely actresses. With a little plumber’s bribery, David convinces RJ to set up a fake casting session, presenting him as the director. The only thing they need is a few pages from a real movie script — which David manages to steal from Toni without her knowledge. David is enraptured at his “casting session” and it goes off without a hitch.

But things get out of hand when a buzz unexpectedly builds. David’s non-existent movie and its mysterious director start heating up the phone lines at talent agencies around town. As one agent?s assistant puts it, “it’s inspired the most pathetic actor frenzy I’ve ever seen.”

When Toni first discovers the scheme, she’s disgusted. But she sees an opportunity to get her script made and decides to build on David’s ruse. Toni takes advantage of an offer from a medical software millionaire to invest a couple of million dollars in this supposed hot, new project.

Toni decides to serve as the script supervisor so she can guide David’s every move as the “director.” And they actually begin to make a movie. David gets to keep playing director as Toni realizes her dream: sets are built, actors and crew are hired and filming begins. Forced to become a team, sparks of tension fly between David and Toni. But that tension derives from the attraction they?ve felt for one another since their one night together. And attraction which, for their own separate reasons, each denies.

Just as Toni allows herself to look past David’s occupation to see someone she may actually want, David begins heavily pursuing his leading lady, Marliss Funt (Rebecca Gayheart). And as two of New York’s most fiercely competitive talent agents Diane Beltrami and Arnie Hufflitz (played by Guinivere Turner and Peter Jacobson) jockey to sign David, the risk is always present that the scam will be uncovered.

“Pipe Dream” is directed by John C. Walsh from a screenplay by Walsh and Cynthia Kaplan. A Flowing Films Production, “Pipe Dream” is produced by Sally Roy and Carole Curb Nemoy and Mike Curb, with Michael Zilkha serving as executive producer.

About the Production

“Pipe Dream” was shot entirely on location and soundstages in New York in the late fall and winter of 2001, at the same time Mary-Louis Parker was appearing live on stage every night in the Broadway hit “Proof.” For her work in the play Parker was rewarded with the Tony, Drama Desk and every other theatre award an actor could win. The fact that she was holding down a day job at the same time makes the honors even more significant.

“Pipe Dream,” was only the second occasion for which Parker allowed her agent to book her to work in a play and on a film at the same time. In 1993 she shot a role in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” while she was appearing in “Four Dogs and a Bone,” written and directed by John Patrick Shanley.

The fact that Parker was only available to work between 7:30am and 4:45pm daily made “Pipe Dream” a particularly challenging film to shoot. However, Walsh and his producer, Sally Roy, are used to challenges.

“‘Ed’s Next Move’ worked more on the charm of its characters and the way little moments were observed,” Walsh says. “But with ‘Pipe Dream’ I was determined to tell a story that was as strong as the characters, to tell a good, fun story, where the audience would always want to know what would happen next.”

Walsh and writing partner Cynthia Kaplan (who also plays Charlotte, the assistant to agent Arnie Hufflitz), began work on the script for “Pipe Dream” in 1997, after he had seen his first film through the festival circuit and distribution. Walsh was interested in telling a story that used classic romantic comic conventions. Walsh and Kaplan were both influenced by these older comedies, particularly those of George Cukor and Preston Sturges. They also drew for inspiration on pictures from the 1960′s like “Bedtime Story” and “Pillow Talk.” In both those pictures, as in “Pipe Dream,” the leading men pose as someone they are not to gain the affection of a woman. The goal in the writing was to reference these conventions and, at the same time, have the story and characters reflect modern social standards. For example, David and Toni sleep together in the very first minutes of the film. This plot element, inconceivable in 1965, is more in keeping with today’s social standards, where people sometimes have sex first, then get to know one another.

The process of making, selling and promoting “Ed’s Next Move,” an independent film, was a life-shaping challenge for Walsh. “Pipe Dream,” he says, “is a direct product of the experiences in making my first movie. I found that the amount of attention that is paid to movie directors is totally absurd in relationship to the value of what they actually do. There is something about movies and the people who inhabit that world that continues to really impress people.”

The irony with “Pipe Dream,” of course, is that it is a film that starts out as a hoax. But the mere perception of a movie takes on a momentum of its own, dragging the writer and “director” along for the ride.

Walsh also used the experience of what it was like to go from “aspiring filmmaker” to “movie director” as he and Kaplan wrote “Pipe Dream.” “Unquestionably,” he says, “people started treating me differently after my first film got into Sundance and got distribution. It was both enjoyable and disturbing at the same time. People I hadn’t heard from in years were suddenly interested in talking to me, yet I was still the same person.”

Another inspiration for “Pipe Dream” came when Walsh read that the composer Philip Glass was still working as a plumber just as his breakout opera “Einstein on the Beach” was catapulting him to fame. The story is that Glass shocked the music critic at a major national magazine when he showed up to make a repair in the critic’s apartment. To Glass’s amusement, his plumbing client suggested that the work was too lowly for such a talented man. “The story suggested an American take on class that people don’t talk about much,” noted Walsh, “The idea that you are what you do and that you can never be anything beyond what you do is very powerful to me. It’s one of the themes I wanted to be under the surface all the time in Pipe Dream.”

Seeing how the actresses at RJ Martling’s casting sessions light up around the director, David Kulovic decides that he will pose as one. Over lunch at Time Cafe’ fixture in New York’s downtown independent film scene), David explains to RJ his theory about perception categories. “I’m the servant class,” he says. “I’m invisible.”

Casting an actor to play someone who has suddenly shifted perception categories was one of the earliest challenges of “Pipe Dream.” Says Walsh, “I was looking for someone who could be bold enough to try to pull off the ruse, but who could suggest complexity and some mystery. I have always thought of Martin Donovan as a terrifically funny actor, so hilarious in Hal Hartley’s “Trust” and “Simple Men” and in “The Opposite of Sex.” My only concern was that Martin’s good looks might convey a sense of entitlement to success with women that some actors, like Brad Pitt, can’t help but project. But Martin has quality of restlessness, of unfulfilled desire that plays down his looks. His natural and slightly darker, introspective qualities also helped with this.

“This is in some ways a very upbeat story and my goal was to cast against expectations,” Walsh continues. “I needed astringent actors to cut against the natural sweetness of the script. For that reason I thought Martin was great: he doesn’t play for sympathy, he plays for the truth of the character. He is able to get the audience to care about his predicament, even though his motivations are not always admirable.”

Says Donovan, “The script gave me room to do a lot of stuff that I think I’m good at that I’ve rarely been given a chance to do. Namely, light comedy. Usually the parameters feel narrower with many characters I’ve played. But this character let me stretch out. It was chance to use different muscles in the process, to do a comedy that was straightforward, not ironic.”

Before Donovan made it as an actor, he worked as a drapery installer. “I’ve been on a million back elevators and through a million service entrances. I’ve dealt with these people on the Upper East Side, in the Hamptons, in Beverly Hills, you name it. I know what it’s like to be the guy who comes to your house and fixes your garbage disposal.”

As someone who has certainly paid his dues in the New York independent film scene, Donavan brought a lot of first-hand knowledge of the inner-workings of a movie to his character. “I was able to come up with a lot of choices for David in terms of what a layperson doesn’t know about how a movie is made,” he says. “So I was able to present a character who could go about his work on a set and appear in charge without really having a clue.”

Walsh adds, “What’s great about Martin in the role is that it could have been done as a clown, but Martin came at it as a real person. He’s a very subtle actor and this is a character that could have easily been played over the top.”

Donovan first heard “Pipe Dream” from a friend, fellow actor Bill Sage, who was at the time working with Walsh’s wife, Mary Harron, on her film “American Psycho.” Walsh was interested in Donovan for the role, and knowing that he and Sage had worked together in a Hal Hartley film asked Sage to mention “Pipe Dream” to his friend. Having read a lot of negligible scripts handed to him on the side, Donovan at first wondered if “Pipe Dream” was little more than its title suggested. But he loved the script, and besides, he had never been offered the lead in a romantic comedy before. Donovan committed immediately.

Mary-Louise Parker’s agent at William Morris brought her to the project. Parker and Donovan met when they worked together in the Jane Campion drama “Portrait of a Lady,” so each had a high degree of comfort with the other during the making of “Pipe Dream.”

“We liked each other a lot and hung out together a lot” while they made “Portrait of a Lady” in Italy and England, Parker remembers. Although they were in few scenes together, they formed a friendship that lasts to this day.

When they came to make “Pipe Dream,” “Working with Martin was fantastic,” says Parker. We got to have whole scenes together and he’s the greatest kind of actor to work with. He’s intelligent, prepared, hilarious and to him the work is the most important thing. We are very similar as people.”

“Toni, like the other characters in “Pipe Dream,” wants to be someone else,” says Walsh, “yet she doesn’t carry even a hint of self-pity. She is very strong and determined to get what she wants, even when she can’t recognize it right away.”

Like Toni, John C. Walsh worked as an editor of corporate videos as a day job before he started making movies. But he did not discuss the specifics of that work with Parker, more “where she was in relationship to where she really wanted to be,” explains Parker. “I’ve had many, many day jobs,” she continues, “far too many to count. I sold shoes, I worked at a law firm on Wall Street. I worked in a lot of offices, although I wasn’t terribly successful in office situations. I worked for a tax accountant once, and I would time myself putting together tax returns, which was entertaining.”

“Mary-Louise understood the script better than anyone,” Walsh says. “She found her character to be modern, yet she understood the script was grounded in a different sensibility, reminiscent of the attitudes you might find in a 1940s film. She agreed that Toni, like the film itself, should have an appreciation for the style of romance in older films, where the expression of emotions is more restrained, or where attraction is often expressed through feisty interplay.”

Parker describes her approach to Toni by observing that “People are sometimes defined by what they enjoy, and John and I talked about how Toni would love Sturges or Cukor, and I somehow tried to imprint that in her personality. I think she was very influenced by those movies and I wanted that to show in subtle ways.

“John’s world is not overtly stylized,” Parker continues, “but it is a subtle departure from realism. It’s somewhat anachronistic.”

Kevin Carroll, who plays casting director RJ Martling, also appeared in “Ed’s Next Move.” The role of Martling was written specifically for Carroll, whom Walsh calls “an utterly believable actor with perfect comic timing. There’s a fastidious, urbane quality to Kevin that works nicely for a New York casting director like R.J.”

Walsh met actress Rebecca Gayheart, who plays ingenue Marliss Funt, through his sister in law. Walsh leaned that Gayheart was from Pinetop, Kentucky and had gone from winning local cheerleading competitions to modeling to acting. “Her real life was a near parallel of my idea of Marliss,” says Walsh, “I felt she could play someone innocent, but not stupid — like the football player brother in Election. It’s a delicate balance she needed to strike, and does, very winningly.”

With commitments from the key actors, Walsh and Roy set a start of production date a few weeks after Mary-Louise Parker had settled into a rhythm onstage in “Proof.” The fact that one of his leads was appearing in two roles at once initially troubled Walsh.

“I was worried that she would be exhausted, and I worried about our ability to cover the scenes adequately,” Walsh recalls. “Her characters in “Proof” and “Pipe Dream” are worlds apart.”

In “Proof,” Parker originated the role of Catherine, a brilliant, reclusive, daughter of a mathematician who has lived in his shadow all her life. She has cared for him until he dies and worries that she may have inherited the same disease.

“It was physically hard to go from one show to another,” admits Parker. “I mean, just doing the play was enough when it was all I was doing. I don’t think I would be able to do both jobs now without losing my mind. At the beginning” when “Pipe Dream” was filming “I thought of it as an interesting challenge and there was a sick masochist part of me that thought “OK, if I do this now then just doing eight shows a week will seem easy later. That thinking lasted for about a week. But I liked the material so much and I liked John so much, and in the end he was able to make it a manageable workload for me.”

The tight schedule ”7:30am to no later than 4:45pm” meant that occasional compromises had to be made both by Parker and the production. “There were a couple of days where I realized John was not going to get his shot, so I stayed a bit late,” Parker recalls. “But John never once tried to guilt me into staying.”

Aside from the physical strain of the schedule, though, Parker never confused the two characters. “My god, they are so far apart,” she says. “I mean, there were times when I was so tired I didn’t know who I was, or where I was, but I always knew who they were.”

“The only thing the two characters have in common is a sharp wit,” says Walsh. “But Mary-Louise is a supreme professional and had Toni nailed the first day. She was amazingly well-prepared. We often did only two takes on her close-ups. With the time constraints of her show, we sometimes were forced to do one take per lens, which was nerve wracking for me. But Mary-Louise is an actor to go to in the clutch, like Thurman Munson with bases loaded and two outs — the greater the pressure, the better she got. She’s fiercely dedicated to doing great work.

“Mary-Louise elevates whatever she does. She just has this unerring sense of what’s true and of what’s funny. If she had an issue with a line, I didn’t always agree, but any question she raised would damn well make me take a second look.”

Walsh felt even before filming that the score was going to be an important element for the film. He loved the music of the seminal Afro-Cuban composer Machito. It had a great sense of fun, buoyancy and a sophisticated cool he thought would serve the story. Composer Alexander Lasarenko embraced that feel, and also drew on the style of some 1960′s scores by Henry Mancini and Burt Bacharach. Walsh’s one proviso was that the entire score be real instruments: no “synth” anything. Apart from one cue in the film (when David is in watching a commercial casting session) the score is performed entirely by live musicians. In the end, Walsh found a place for an original recording by Machito. Entitled “Feeding the Chickens,” the cue is a sort of Cuban riff on the chord structure of “Tea for Two.” It is heard during David’s first “casting session” and during the closing credits as well.

The production made terrific use of Manhattan and Queens locations to get the feel of New York in the fall, when the town is full of light and a sense of possibility can linger in the crisp air. Shots of Central Park and Columbus Circle, midtown streets bathed in the light of dawn and a triumphant sequence at the fountains in Flushing Meadows Park contribute to an unmistakable New York feel.

The approach to romance in “Pipe Dream” is restrained. “It was there in the script, but when we rehearsed, Mary-Louise and I talked about the ending of Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment” as our touchstone,” says Walsh, “where Jack Lemmon’s character tells Shirley MacLaine how much he loves her. To which she replies, ‘Shut up and deal.? We tried to pursue a genuine romantic quality without allowing the film to become overdone or treacley.

“So, in the last scene when Toni asks David’s advice, to me that’s so moving — because she’s saying, indirectly, that she needs him, that she respects him and his ideas — which is just the sort of recognition he wanted in the first place. And though David has been demoted to the coffee and donut guy, he’s okay. He doesn’t care anymore how he’s percieved, except by her. It’s how she sees him that matters.” Walsh adds, “If we ended the film with Toni and David declaring their affections in any fashion, or even talking about their relationship, or even the future at all, it would be mush. The emotion, the affection is all there, I think. But it’s expressed obliquely, and that is so much more engaging to me.”

I think everyone in the story wants to be somewhere better than they are,” he observes. “Agents wish they could be producers, their assistants are always ready to move up, and people are always willing to start at the bottom in order to get their big break. I’ve found that there are a lot of really smart people doing really low-level jobs in this industry. It’s a constant state of agitation, of people moving up, or over, or into a new role. I felt that it was important to have that sense in “Pipe Dream” as an echo of David’s own desire to try on a new identity.”

November 20th, 2003 at 11:22 am
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream
Pipe Dream Review by Eric

Martin Donovan’s specialty is for playing characters who are smarter than those surrounding him, and who just overall have their shit together. With his singular ability to exude a sense of control over the situation, Donovan positively owns any scene he’s a part of. As it turns out, this inclination is more than a specialty?it’s more like a necessity.

In “Pipe Dream”, Donovan portrays David Kulovic, a lowly plumber who, while hanging around with his casting director friend RJ (Kevin Carroll), notices that beautiful women seem to be blindly attracted to movie directors. David concocts a plan to masquerade as a director in order to attract these beautiful women, since his status as a plumber prevents them from even acknowledging his existence. While selling this idea to RJ, David whines about what a handicap people’s “perception categories” are (in the film’s funniest line, RJ, who is black, responds, “Do you really think you need to talk to ME about ‘perception categories’?”). Stealing a script from his neighbor (Mary-Louise Parker), they put the plan into action and hold fake auditions, but it goes farther than they ever imagined when a producer offers $2 million to finance the film. Soon, the film begins production and David has his eyes on the movie’s attractive young starlet?and not much else.

Donovan brings too much intelligence and class to a role that by definition requires very little, and the combination proves to be naggingly dissatisfying. Donovan as a crass womanizer? Does not compute. His co-stars don’t fare much better. Mary-Louise Parker has an impeccable gift for comic timing, and provides most of the laughs in the film, but she can’t save the surprisingly large amount of duds among the lines she’s been given here. In fact, the laugh/joke ratio as a whole is pretty disappointing. There are several moments of amusement and some small laughs here and there, but the whole follow-through of the premise isn’t handled with the proper amount of wicked glee that should accompany such a plot. It’s not that the jokes are bad, they’re just… lifeless.

“Pipe Dream” does have several things working in its favor, including a realistic happy ending that resists most of the clich鳠this genre tends to cling to. It handles a development in which David is revealed as a con quite well. It also has a great premise, and certainly isn’t boring?but it could have made for a dynamite film had the script fully explored both its comic and dramatic potential. It has its moments, and it earns the rating I gave it.

But how ironic that “Pipe Dream” itself seems to be a bit of a front?an assembly of all the right parts needed to make a witty, enjoyable romantic comedy, but each part just a little too flimsy to elevate “Pipe Dream” from typical, blandly pleasant, but forgettable romantic comedy status.

November 20th, 2003 at 11:20 am
Posted by admin in Pipe Dream
Martin Donovan, Interviewed about PIPE DREAM, July 2003

CHRIS NEUMER: When Sean told me that I could talk to you, I got all excited. I?ve been a fan of yours since “Heaven”. Then I liked you even more in “The Opposite of Sex”. You had that quiet charisma that you don?t see very often. Everything seems louder than usual.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Thank you. Did you like the, uh, what Hal Hartley film was that?

CHRIS NEUMER: I don?t know, I?ve never seen a Hal Hartley film.

MARTIN DONOVAN: You?ve got your work cut out for you then.

CHRIS NEUMER: If you knew the films I haven?t seen, you?d be surprised.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Well, you?re talking to someone who hardly ever goes to the movies at all. I?m really behind. “Heaven”, I was really proud of that film. It was playing on cable a little while ago on the film channel or something and I was flipping through the channels and started watching it. That movie was completely dismissed by everyone and Miramax didn?t promote it, they tossed it on the trash heap. But I really think the director, what was his name?

CHRIS NEUMER: Sean something?

MARTIN DONOVAN: I?m blanking, it?ll come to me. Anyway, the use of time and be way he told the story, before “Memento” and all those things, it has a kind of B movie feel about it, but it?s really well done.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like it has a B movie feel to it, simply because of the plot material.


CHRIS NEUMER: I don?t know if that translates over or not. I read that you?ve staid numerous time that the most important part of being an actor is making good choices for the projects you take. With that in mind, it was interesting to take a look at the project you did choose to work on. For the most part you?ve stayed away from the big-budget Hollywood films and stayed on the independent side.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Yeah, but that?s not by choice. I don?t know whether I said that exactly or? I have never been in a position to choose big budget movies or not. I?ve never made anybody a lot of money and I?ve never?and so therefore, the powers that be, the powers in Hollywood assume that I can?t make them any money. So they?re not?they haven?t been told that I?m a movie star or whatever, because I?m not. So they?re not offering movies. It?s not like I?m turning down big budget movies. Things come to me because usually of the film I did before. I?ve been very lucky to work with really talented directors and filmmakers over the years. That?s what an actor?to be as lucky as I have been to work with the filmmakers I have worked with, it?s going to make any actor look good. The people who see “Heaven” and like it are a certain kind of film goer. Certain kinds of directors are going to respond to that and those are the guys who are going to call me and say, “I?ve got this movie going on.” Hal Hartley?I did a Hal Hartley film, Jane Campion saw that and responded to that and cast me in “Portrait of a Lady”. Not because it made a lot of money or because I was a big movie star, far from it, it was a tiny little film and she gave me a great part on a much big budget movie. So I just want to clear that up. I would happy to do bigger budgeted movies and be paid more money so that I wouldn?t have to worry about feeding my kids.

CHRIS NEUMER: It?s funny how I can take a look at your career and assume that you have taken certain paths and I?ll talk to you about it and the assumption, that you were more enamoured of the independent film world, then I talk to you and you say, “Good Lord, I?d love to play “the Hulk”, if I could get $20 million for this or that.

MARTIN DONOVAN: I didn?t say that either. I?m just saying that I would be happy to be paid more money. I?m not going to turn down money, but I think what I?m saying is?for instance, “Insomnia” is a bigger Hollywood movie, it was a lower-middle budget for them, but by independent standards, it was a big budget. Most of that money went to Al and Robin, but it was Chris Nolan and everything about it felt like an independent film to me, because it comes from the top down and Chris Nolan brought this?his background and he has a passion for making movies and shooting a certain way and he made it feel like any small budget film I?ve ever done. The producers were classy people and Al was a real serious actor, so the feeling around that set was similar to any small budget independent film I?ve ever done. There were bigger trailers for Al and Robin, but they?re movie stars.

CHRIS NEUMER: Sort of to get you to describe this a little more, when you say it felt like an independent film set, what is that feeling?

MARTIN DONOVAN: I guess it?s all about the priorities. An independent?by the way, just because it?s independent doesn?t mean that its priorities are straight.

CHRIS NEUMER: Or that it?s going to turn out to be a good film.

MARTIN DONOVAN: yeah, an independent movie can be made for all the wrong reasons, just like a big budget movie. Just like a big studio movie. There are big studio movies that are made for the right reasons, they have a sense of integrity about them and are made in spite of all the corrupting influences, money and star wattage and all. It doesn?t happen often, but it does happen. And there are small films that are made for all the wrong reasons and that are really bad. Having said that, wherever you are, if the emphasis is on making a really interesting film and not trying to?bottom line is making a good film, not a huge opening weekend. That?s a more satisfying place to be. I would rather be in that kind of environment. That?s not to say that there isn?t a place for entertainment movies if they?re well made and people are honest about what they are doing, you know? Whatever you?re doing, if you?re being honest?”Hey, I want to get fucking rich” or “I just want to make the biggest selling movie of all time, but it?s going to be entertaining of fun”?if you?re honest about what you?re doing it has a kind of integrity. But if you?re dishonest to yourself or to your movie people that you?re selling it to, or misrepresenting what you?re doing or if you?re really only interested in making the movie star, you?re just interested in hanging out with a movie star and making any kind of piece of shit you can with them, or you can?t distinguish between competence and incompetence between the people you work with, then it all goes south. I don?t know if that makes any sense.

CHRIS NEUMER: You?re making a lot of sense. Hanging out with movie stars gets you “The Fast and the Furious”.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Whatever. Yeah.

CHRIS NEUMER: It ties in nicely to “Pipe Dream”. Like when your character gets involved in making the movie, it?s for completely the wrong reasons. I guess you could say he?s not even making a movie, but he?s pretending for all the wrong reasons.


CHRIS NEUMER: it seemed like looking at “Pipe Dream” that it had to give you the opportunity to satirize directors in general. As an actor, was this satisfying to you or challenging to you in any way?

MARTIN DONOVAN: Actually, what I thought about more was, not the director, Dave doesn?t know anything about directors, but more about the people I know who I?ve encountered who?how can I put this??relatives, uncles or cousins who are absolutely clueless about the process, who don?t understand the language of film or the decorum on the set, for instance. Bull in a china shop kind of thing. It?s kind of like a first time golfer not knowing golf etiquette. Saying all the wrong things, making noise, tromping over things. Those kind of things. There?s that clumsy kind of ignorance that people who?fish out of water kind of thing?that was what I was going for. That?s not saying that my knowledge of the set and directors didn?t help, but? I had a lot of fun playing that ignoramus on a movie set thing. I had a chance to behave the way that I had always thought would be funny.

CHRIS NEUMER: But never appropriate.

MARTIN DONOVAN: (laughs) Yes.

CHRIS NEUMER: it just seems that the role would?there was a scene where you were in the screening room watching dailies and in every take you would hear your character yell, “And cut?” Just like you?d been practicing. I found it really amusing that there was the affectation that you had been perfecting?

MARTIN DONOVAN: That, actually, that is somewhere in my consciousness, in my memory of somebody. I know somebody, some director used that rhythm, that melody to their “And cut”. That was something I stole from my own personal experience.

CHRIS NEUMER: That was what I was getting at. It seemed like the role would be ripe for in-jokes, moreso that the one you did in “The Great Gatsby”.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Right. That?s true.

CHRIS NEUMER: This was shot in New York, correct?


CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like a large number of the independent films being made in New York seems to have more flair and a more creative edge to them than their studio compatriots. Do you find that to be true?

MARTIN DONOVAN: You?re comparing this to studio films or to independent films made in LA?

CHRIS NEUMER: I can?t really think of many independent films made in LA. I guess what it boils down to, is this: is there a big difference between working on the two coasts?

MARTIN DONOVAN: I don?t know that there is a difference necessarily. Certainly there?s a difference in the life style, I was born and raised in Los Angeles and have lived in new York City for 18 years, so? I kind of know both cities well. Obviously there is a huge cultural difference and just life style difference, but I don?t know that you can pinpoint any difference in talent. You might also, because of your orientation, be more drawn to films that have more to offer than the Hollywood studio movies. It?s not necessarily that they?re made out of New York, but you may be missing the bad ones made in New York, I guess that?s what I?m saying.

CHRIS NEUMER: This could be true.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Honestly, I don?t know. There is something about Los Angeles that makes it very difficult to?in part the city itself, the city, the geography and the dominance of the studios?that to me makes it very difficult to get people focused on a film set that aren?t made to please a huge audience.

CHRIS NEUMER: When you say focus you mean what?

MARTIN DONOVAN: It?s hard for me to describe, but I think that there is?the big budget, Hollywood behemoth, it?s very hard to escape it in Los Angeles. All the cliches you?ve heard, that are beaten to death, everybody has a screenplay, everybody has a three picture deal and you overhear conversations at the supermarket about the upfronts, everything is the business. And that business is about making money. The measure of success is by how much money the movie generates. To me, for me, it?s very difficult to, in the middle of that environment, gather a bunch of people together and get them to focus on making a film outside that system for the reasons that we talked about earlier. I just think that?in New York, Manhattan, it has so many other things going on about it, that just because you?re a filmmaker or an actor, it?s like “that?s interesting,” but there?s the rest of the art, there?s music there?s Carnegie Hall, there?s theater, there?s dance, there?s Wall Street?talk about generating money. And there are stars and these is a star system, there are so many different ways of making a living there. There is so much more complexity to it?that?s not true.

CHRIS NEUMER: it?s more eclectic.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Yes. I should say that because LA is very complex. But the Hollywood system is very monolithic in LA and it isn?t in New York. There are a lot of other things going on in New York. It?s easier to be anonymous in New York than LA as far as I?m concerned. And then there?s just the energy of New York, the way it makes you feel. If you?re attracted to Manhattan and you want to live there, then you?re priorities are probably different than somebody who wants to play tennis in Bel-Air.

CHRIS NEUMER: It seems like that sense of what the city is, at least in terms of the filmmaking community, would pervade some of the films that are in fact being made there. Maybe that is my own personal bias as to the bad movies that have been made in New York or the good movies made in LA. It just seems as though there is a focus on acting acting in New York that isn?t present in La. You can go to the theater in New York. The craft is more focused there.

MARTIN DONOVAN: There?s this feeling in LA that it?s just a huge machine, it has this voracious appetite. It just sucks up talent and spits it out very quickly. They are just churning through actors on a yearly basis. There?s always the next hot young stud actor who is going to be the big star. There are young women by the dozen that they trot out as the next big thing. And it really goes for directors and writers and everyone. It?s, in some ways, very dehumanizing and can be very humiliating. It can also be very rewarding. Hollywood is also populated by a lot of very smart people and very talented people. I?ve worked with them, I know. They?re there and you think of the great movies of the last 50 years and a lot of them are made in Hollywood. Not all of them, but a lot of them were made under the old Hollywood studio system. All the way through the ?70?s they were making good movies.

CHRIS NEUMER: Now when you say that I have to ask, even though you started out the conversation by stating that you didn?t watch many films, what is a movie that you qualify as being good.

MARTIN DONOVAN: Of course I?m going to pick a movie that is made by a studio that made no money and a lot of people hated?

CHRIS NEUMER: You?re going to choose The “Last Action Hero”, aren?t you?

MARTIN DONOVAN: (laughs) No, “The Thin Red Line”, I absolutely loved that movie. I know people didn?t like it but I think because I was raised Catholic, the movie is literally a prayer. If you don?t know what prayer is or weren?t taught to pray, you?re going to hate that movie. I totally understood it.

CHRIS NEUMER: It did have a different subtext, I will grant you that.

MARTIN DONOVAN: It also had a different?everything about it was different.

CHRIS NEUMER: yeah, all the flora and fauna of the islands.

MARTIN DONOVAN: I find that movie absolutely great. I love that movie. Now I?m trying to think what else? Can?t think of any more right now.

CHRIS NEUMER: I?ll take one film. That?s good enough for me. I see our time is up, thank you much.