Crafting a Midnight Kiss - Behind-the-Scenes of a Lo-Fi Indie
The director and stars of In Search of a Midnight Kiss tell us about making the movie.
It brought audiences to tears at Tribeca, kept them coming back at Edinburgh and warmed stone-cold critics' hearts at Raindance. When RT saw In Search of a Midnight Kiss we described it as the best American indie in years, and its hilarious but touching humour has drawn comparisons to Kevin Smith and Woody Allen. Now, as one of our favourite films of last year's festival circuit gears for a cinema release in the UK and the US, RT brings together stars Scoot McNairy, Sara Simmonds and Brian McGuire and writer-director Alex Holdridge to share their behind-the-scenes journey...
Alex Holdridge: Everything was pushed into action because of Robert Murphy, our cinematographer. This had been following a decade-long of us on the streets of Austin, Texas making these indie films and struggling. Putting them on our credit cards and showing them through direct arrangements with theatres which was much more punk rock than moviemaking - you strike a deal with a theatre owner to take a bit of the door and if it does well it comes back and you do it again. Our first movie sold out in three weeks straight, which was a big to-do and that's how Hollywood became interested in doing a remake of it.
We were able to raise money to make a second indie and after that one premiered we all moved to LA. We were in LA and struggling, you know, everyone's working on various projects, but I had a year from hell working on the Hollywood adaptation of our first movie. I crashed my car on the way out there, Brian and I were roommates and after a year of writing a screenplay, going through a breakup and getting pushed to suicidal sections of my life, I got a job waiting tables, dated randomly on the internet and lived through a very lonely, pathetic time. Then I learned of a movie coming out that was so similar that it defeated the purpose of doing a remake of our first film and ruined the whole year.
And then after all that, Robert Murphy, this total redneck guy who loves films, who shot our first movies and taught me everything about making movies, a guy who freaks out over and gets excited about every shot, called us up and said he was coming to town...
Brian McGuire: The best thing about Robert Murphy is that his favourite movie, the movie that made him become a filmmaker, is Goodfellas, and in the early nineties he had printed out a dot-matrix Goodfellas banner that he had hanging up on his wall. That's commitment.
AH: Robert said he'd just bought an HD camera and wanted to know if we were interested in shooting something. That was December 26th. He was getting into town on the 8th January so we had no time at all.
Scoot McNairy: You called me on the 29th.
AH: I said, "Hey Scoot, I'm writing this thing in LA, can you get a bunch of equipment?"
SM: I was in Colorado ice fishing. I told Alex I was going to be back on the 30th December. He's like, "Alright, we shoot on the 31st."
Sara Simmonds: I was in Texas with family. Alex and I had talked for the last year about doing something else, another feature, and we'd walked Downtown and looked at various locations but I had no idea when it would come about. I was laid back in Texas and I got the call saying, "Get on the next flight, we're shooting tomorrow." He emailed me the script that night and I remember taking a red eye, reading the script on the plane and realising I had to do a sex scene and show my nipples and I was like, "I don't remember us discussing this!"
SM: I picked you up from the airport we drove straight over to your house and started going through your wardrobe looking for clothes for you to wear in the movie. We got straight back in the car, picked up some coffee and cigarettes on the way over, and Alex looked at the wardrobe, said, "OK, cool, now get over there and say this line!"
AH: No, it was, "Get over there and start jacking off!"
SM: Yeah, my first scene was the shot of me jacking off... So we started shooting and did not stop from that moment on. Most of all we were excited to be working with Alex.