Ceremony

Ceremony

Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano in CEREMONY, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Ceremony (2010/2011)

Opened: 04/08/2011 Limited

Theater Listin...04/08/2011
Sunset 5/LA04/08/2011 - 04/21/201114 days
Village East04/08/2011 - 04/21/201114 days
Laemmle's Town...04/08/2011 - 04/14/20117 days
DVD06/21/2011

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Comedy

Rated: R for some language, sexual references and drug use.

Synopsis

Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). But it soon becomes clear that Sam is secretly infatuated with the filmmaker's fiancee, Zoe (Uma Thurman), and that his true intention is to thwart their impending nuptials. As Sam's plan begins to unravel, he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be.

Q&A with Writer/Director Max Winkler

Q: WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE FILM?

I was interested in writing a personal movie. A movie about parts of myself and people that I found funny or interesting. Also by trying to tap into the things I was feeling at that time of my life, I was able to write a script I knew I could make into a completely honest movie.

Q: HOW DID THE FILM GET OFF THE GROUND? WHAT WAS THE PROCESS OF GETTING THE FILM MADE?

After working on the script tirelessly with my producing partner, Matt Spicer and then attaching our first producer on the project, Jason Reitman, we all came to the agreement that the way to make this movie our way was independently.

Then along came Polly Johnsen, a producer with whom Spicer and I had worked before, who had a great energy and shared a similar vision for the movie. She led us to NALA Films, who we had a terrific meeting with and agreed to make and finance the movie with us.

By the time it came to actually cast the movie I was really nervous because I like to write and cast at the same time, meaning I write the parts with actor's voices in my head and I think the idea of being rejected by them was terrifying to me. However in the end, we just got so incredibly lucky as we cast pretty much everyone we wanted, all of them, some of my favorite actors from Michael Angarano to Lee Pace to Reece Thompson to Jake Johnson. Uma's part was the last to cast and she is an actress I just have a tremendous amount of respect for so when I had found out that she had read the script and liked it, I just was so thrilled....

Q: HOW LONG WAS THE SHOOT? WHERE DID YOU SHOOT?

The majority of the picture was shot on a tremendous estate on Centre Island, Long Island, overlooking the Sound. The rest of it was shot in New York City and Brooklyn.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SCENE IN THE FILM?

My favorite scene in the movie is a moment towards the end where Sam and Teddy have a talk by the window overlooking the wedding preparations. It was a scene we didn't know we were shooting that day until minutes before, due to weather concerns. The fact that the boys and I couldn't rehearse as we normally did before a scene, yielded an honest and emotionally raw scene between the two, which actually made me cry on the set.

I also loved filming the scene where Sam and Marshall lay head to toe in the little bed at the end of their first night at the house. I wanted to be close to them while filming, but the room was very small, so I had to hide under the bed for the whole scene. The boys were so hilarious that scene that I kept blowing takes from laughing under the bed. That was the only time on the entire shoot I ever saw my cameraman, William Rexer, get angry.

Q: WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT SCENE TO SHOOT?

The scene where Sam and Marshall are sitting by the Little Mohican pool in their swimsuits was written in the script to take place on a sunny afternoon. On the way to set that day, we got word that there was a "Nor'easter" heading right for the Rockaways, where we were shooting. We had to shoot the scene as it was a location we only had for a day. Michael Angarano and Reece Thompson both bravely demanded to play the scene as if it were a 90 degree summer's day. So we ended up having these two shirtless maniacs in lounge chairs by the pool, in freezing weather trying hard not to look like they had hyperthermia. We had hair dryers and snow boots at the ready in between takes.

Q: AS THE FILM'S SCREENWRITER, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ESSENCE OF THE FILM AND ITS CHARACTERS ARE ABOUT?

I've always seen the movie as a coming-of age-story in reverse. The idea of a boy who thinks he's a man and in the end, actually realizes that he's just a boy. A story about the time in your life where you are certain that you know everything there is to know about life and romance and love but actually you know very little and realize this the hard way. I think all of the characters in the movie have a good amount of growing up to do and everyone is sort of coming to these painful realizations throughout the movie.

Q: YOU BOTH WROTE AND DIRECTED THIS FILM. WHICH PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MORE?

For me, I think the two go hand in hand. I've sort of only written movies so I can then direct them, and I've felt like the writing process is actually the first and hardest part of the directorial process. To me, despite the wild hours and insanity that can come with a film set, I really feel like shooting is the vacation.

 

Trailer