Crazy Eyes

Crazy Eyes

Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima, Jake Busey and Tania Raymonde in CRAZY EYES, a film by Adam Sherman. Picture courtesy Strand Releasing. All rights reserved.

Crazy Eyes

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Crazy Eyes (2012)

Opened: 07/06/2012 Limited

Limited07/06/2012
The Nuart07/06/2012 - 07/12/20127 days
Cinema Village...07/06/2012 - 07/12/20127 days
San Francisco07/13/2012 - 07/19/20127 days
Berkeley, CA07/13/2012 - 07/19/20127 days
DVD10/09/2012

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Facebook

Genre: Comedy

Rated: Unrated

Synopsis

One of those glamorous L.A. people with too much money and too much time on his hands, Zach (Lukas Haas) looks like he's living the Hollywood dream. There's a steady stream of beautiful women coming in and out of his posh home in the hills, and every night he makes his way through the hottest nightspots for a party that never ends.

A divorcee with a five-year-old son, Zach has become a master at seducing women without ever getting too close. But all that's about to change -- he's met a girl he calls "Crazy Eyes" (Madeline Zima), and she's not like anyone he's ever met before. Flirty but withholding, intelligent but damaged, she's the one woman Zach can't have, so naturally he wants her above all others.

While Zach's hard-partying lifestyle -- aided and abetted by his bartender pal Dan (Jake Busey) -- threatens to go off the rails, family concerns begin to play a major role in Zach's life. While his ex-wife becomes more financially demanding, Zach grows closer to their son (Blake Garrett Rosenthal), finding stability and maturity in his role as a father that's absent from the rest of his life.

And as Zach begins to embrace fatherhood, his own father (Ray Wise) becomes seriously ill -- which in turn leads to Zach's mother (Valerie Mahaffey) having a mental breakdown. Will the quest for love and the responsibilities of family life help this poor little rich boy become a man?

Q&A with the Director

How autobiographical is the film?

I would say it's 98% true. It's kind of interesting, because I have two writing partners, and the other characters are based on their lives. It's not only autobiographical where the lead is based on my life -- the girl that the lead is obsessed with and dating throughout the film, she's one of my writing partners, and then his best friend, he's my other writing partner. So basically I wrote an autobiographical film in collaboration with the other characters in the film.

That explains the unusual writing credits.

The Writers Guild made us write it like that. I just wanted it to say "by Adam Sherman and Dave Reeves and Rachel Hardisty." But the Writers Guild has a rule that if you write less than 50% of the script, you're not actually a writer, you become more of a script assistant or something else. I'm not in the Writers Guild, but the other two writers are, so they did some twists of their own rules to make it what I wanted, which was to give them credits.

The look of the film really captures an idea of Los Angeles that people have -- it straddles the line between being glamorous and desperate.

I was trying to be as honest as possible. I've always wanted to make a dark, romantic kind of drunk, weird, realistic story, but to do it as fiction. And then I found myself living through a period of my life that became like that, so I started writing it down. The reality of how the script got started was that Rachel Hardisty and I started dating, like the characters in the movie. The only thing that was left out of the movie is that they're writing together the whole time.

It was around the holidays, and I was actually working on my last movie, HAPPINESS RUNS, and I had to do some reshoots. But because of the holidays, and then Sundance, I had to wait six weeks for the actors to become available. I was really frustrated creatively, and it was a dark time of year, so I started drinking heavily with this girl Rachel, and then in the morning, we would wake up laughing about the things that people did or said the night before, so then we just started writing it all down.

And after we had about 30 pages, I showed it to a friend of mine -- because I really didn't know, was I just hoarding a girl and writing stupid stuff, or was it actually good? My friend, who's a writer-director I really respect, didn't say anything for about a week, but then he was like, "I want to direct this movie. You should produce it, and I'll direct it."

I finished working on it with her, and I knew I had to show it to my other friend, who's also a writer, and I worried that he was going to be really upset. But when I showed it to him, he laughed hysterically and was happy about the whole thing, so I asked him to do a rewrite on it with me. I ended up rewriting it with him, and the three of us wound up working on it, about ourselves, really.

Looking at the final product, do you see the film as a cautionary tale or just a snapshot of a moment in your life?

It could and should be looked at as a cautionary tale, but I don't see it that way. I just make movies. I'm not trying to tell people how they should and shouldn't live; it's not supposed to be moralistic in any way. But I feel that it could educate people about the realities of certain lifestyles, because it's very real. I don't judge or blame people for wanting to live one way or another; I'm not trying to show people that they shouldn't do this. I just want to show things how they are.

I just tell stories and create images because I like doing it; it's what I've always done. A lot of times, they're really dark and realistic, and people ask if I'm trying to convey some kind of moral message, but the truth is, I'm not.

Fatherhood plays a key role in the life of Zach, the film's lead character. How has being a dad changed your life? Or has it?

It's kind of complicated. I don't know how much of it comes across in the film, but the reality is that my separation from my ex-wife and my son is a part of what drove me to that dark extreme, that type of depression, having relationships that were disjointed, and drinking too much. At the same time, my relationship with my son is what helped me get out of that.

Because the material is so close to your own life, was casting tricky? Was having actors re-enact things that you and the co-writers had really done a difficult thing?

Once I got the actors that I wanted, it wasn't. I have a hard time with producers -- they always have horrible ideas about actors that are god-awful. They discouraged me from using the actors that I wanted, but once I got the cast I wanted, they could relate to the story, and they could embody the characters really well. I got actors that could relate to the situations that they were supposed to be in. I don't have troubles working with actors; the emotional side I can handle.

Casting is really difficult when you have the problem of other people's opinions, like when they suggest actors because they're well-known; someone like Jake Busey, who is a great actor and really underrated.

Was there anything in this story you didn't want to share with the world? Or anything you were filming where you maybe had second thoughts about going public with it?

I have a blind spot there -- my last movie was autobiographical, too. I think twice about sharing it with the world after I already have, but it's almost like I have Tourette's or something. I can't stop myself from telling the truth. There's a lot of things I could do differently if I wanted what's commonly known as success, but I can't help myself, I just keep making movies the way I do. It's not a calculated plan.

About the Cast

Lukas Haas (Zach)

Lukas's career was launched in 1984, when, at the age of seven, he landed the titled role of 'Samuel' opposite Harrison Ford in the Peter Weir film, WITNESS. His performance as the Amish child who is the sole witness to an undercover cop's murder won the hearts of moviegoers and the acclaim of the critics. Young Lukas soon landed starring roles in such films as LADY IN WHITE, THE WIZARD OF LONELINESS and ALAN AND NAOMI, which was co-written by his mother, Emily Tracy Haas.

Lukas was subsequently nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of AIDS victim, Ryan White, in the controversial TV movie, THE RYAN WHITE STORY. He continued to distinguish himself in film in starring roles opposite some of the most celebrated actors and directors of our time including: Jessica Lange in MUSIC BOX, for director Costa Gravas, Robert Duvall (who Lukas first starred opposite one year earlier in CONVICTS) and Laura Dern in RAMBLING ROSE and John C. Reilly and Winona Ryder in BOYS.

On stage, in 1988, Lukas performed alongside Steve Martin and Robin Williams in Samuel Beckett's WAITING FOR GODOT at Lincoln Center in New York City for director Mike Nichols.

Lukas went on to work with acclaimed directors such as Woody Allen for EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, Tim Burton for MARS ATTACKS, Alan Rudolph for BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS and Chris Nolan for INCEPTION opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Paige, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Marion Cotillard.

Lukas stars in the Universal Pictures film CONTRABAND opposite Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi and Ben Foster. He was recently in the Warner Bros. film RED RIDING HOOD opposite Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman. Lukas also stars in the independent film METH HEAD written and directed by Jane Clark.

Other recent work includes BRICK, which was released by Focus Features after screening in competition at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, THE LAST DAYS directed by Gus Van Sant, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released by HBO Films, MATERIAL GIRLS released by MGM in which he portrays a "good-guy" attorney doing pro bono work for two sisters. In THE TRIPPER, a send-up of slasher films directed by David Arquette he's the love interest of Jaime King. In SUMMER BABE, co-starring Adam Scott and Molly Parker he stars as a jilted ex-husband. Additionally he stars in GARDENER OF EDEN directed by Kevin Connolly and produced by Graham King and Leonardo DiCaprio and WHILE SHE WAS OUT opposite Kim Bassinger. In DEATH IN LOVE, a harrowing family drama which was in competition at Sundance in 2008, Lukas stars with Josh Lucas.

Madeline Zima (Rebecca)

Madeline Zima will next be seen starring in BREAKING THE GIRL, directed by Jamie Babbit. BREAKING THE GIRL is a psychological thriller about a naive college student who loses a scholarship at the hands of a classmate and makes a pact with a mysterious friend to kill off each other's enemies.

Equally skilled at comedy, improv and drama, she has continuously worked over the last decade in critically acclaimed projects such as the feature film, THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, the CBS mini-series, LUCY in which she portrayed Lucille Ball as a teenager, and is likely best known for her role in the long-running hit sitcom, THE NANNY where the writing changed short notice on such a daily basis allowing the opportunity to hone her comic timing.

Zima has recently starred opposite David Duchovny in Showtime's critically acclaimed series, CALIFORNICATION. Other recent television credits include a recurring arc on NBC's popular series, HEROES. Additionally, Zima has several films wrapped waiting release including the feature, MY OWN LOVE SONG by LA VIE EN ROSE writer/director, Olivier Dahan, opposite Forest Whitaker and Renee Zellweger and HAPPY TOGETHER with Dermot Mulroney and Selma Blair. Between filming of CALIFORNICATION and MY OWN LOVE SONG she starred alongside Brittany Snow and Rumer Willis in the Glamour Reel Moments short film, STREAK, directed by Demi Moore which premiered at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles to great accolades last year.

Before snagging the series regular role on CALIFORNICATION, Zima had been seen starring opposite Hilary Duff in the film, CINDERELLA STORY, playing the wicked stepsister, along with guest roles on some of television's hottest shows such as GREY'S ANATOMY and GHOST WHISPERER. Despite the short-lived nature of last season's Peter Ocko pilot, 3LBS, Zima played a violinist with a brain tumor in which Entertainment Weekly reviewed her performance as the only reason to watch the show. Other notable credits include the TV films, THE SECRET PATH, LETHAL VOWS opposite the late John Ritter and Marg Helgenberger and THE SANDY BOTTOM ORCHESTRA where she learned to play the violin to great acclaim for the lead role.

Jake Busey (Dan Drake)

Jake Busey has been working in the motion pictures and television industry for close to 20 years. Born in 1971 to acting legend Gary Busey, Busey made his big screen debut in Ulu Grosbard's 1978 film STRAIGHT TIME starring Dustin Hoffman, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton and Kathy Bates. Jake has also starred in James Brooks' I'LL DO ANYTHING (1994), Robert Zemeckis' CONTACT (1997), Paul Verhoeven's STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) and James Mangold's IDENTITY (2003) among countless others. Busey can soon be seen in director Adam Sherman's upcoming film CRAZY EYES. In addition to a film and television career spanning two decades, Busey is also a talented drummer since receiving his first drum kit at the age of 5. He can be seen touring around the U.S. with his band, SONS OF THE LAWLESS.

About the Filmmakers

Adam Sherman (Writer / Director)

The Los Angeles based writer/director, Adam Sherman, was born on a polygamous hippy commune in Vermont in 1977. The commune was founded in the 1960s by a guru who believed in the merits of free love and drug experimentation. The commune thrived for over twenty years and Adam, along with many other kids, was raised in this environment.

Adam and his peers were home-schooled on the commune, raised completely vegetarian and encouraged creatively. The kids were never disciplined in any way and were exposed to pervasive drug use and extreme sexuality. Adam learned to escape this environment by focusing on writing and experimenting with video.

At 19, Adam left the commune, winding up in New York and eventually Los Angeles.Without formal education, he began to expand his experimentation in film, which resulted in the feature film, DEAD DOLL, which he wrote and directed and was distributed by Lions Gate Films.

Adam's next venture was to produce the award-winning film, WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY. The film was selected for Sundance and played at festivals worldwide, winning multiple awards, before being distributed again by Lions Gate Film.

Adam returned to the director's chair with the film HAPPINESS RUNS. In the loosely autobiographical film, Adam attempted to deal with many of the issues of his unorthodox upbringing. HAPPINESS RUNS was released by Strand Releasing in the summer of 2010.

Hagai Shaham (Producer)

Hagai Shaham is an Israeli born independent producer; his latest projects include THE DETAILS starring Tobey Maguire, Laura Linney and Elizabeth Banks written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes and CRAZY EYES starring Lukas Haas and Madeline Zima written and directed by Adam Sherman. Both films will be released in theaters in 2012. He is currently finishing post-production on the first season of BATTLEGROUND, the first original scripted TV show for HULU.

 

Trailer