Recently, I was able to chat with writer/director Bruce Mason about his feature film debut Chez Upshaw. Chez Ushaw is the zany story about of dysfunctional couple (Kevin Pollack and Illeana Douglas) who turn their failing bed and breakfast into the primer spot to off your self. It’s a funny, dark flick that features solid performances by Pollack and Douglas. Also model/actress Molly Sims holds her own as the ditzy neighbor. Nerd favorite Greg Grunberg also appears as a push over banker.
Hey Bruce, funny movie–where’d the idea come from?
The script had a long long evolution. The idea of an assisted suicide B&B was primarily a device to stitch together all the bits and pieces of the various versions that we liked. A pretty lucky device for sure!
Really talented cast. How’d a small budget indie get so lucky?
There’s a saying in Hollywood that a good script is everything. In our case we had meaty roles for middle-age actors. That doesn’t happen often in our youth and super hero obsessed world. We were fortunate to land an incredible cast, it was an incredible ride shooting the film in a short amount of time and the rest is history!
Pollack and Illeana are fantastic. Was it easier being a first time director working with them, knowing you’d get solid performances from experienced leads?
Absolutely. They were a joy to work with and very patient as I bumbled around some days. Kevin is a very precise actor and ILLEANA is deeply intuitive. I look forward to working with them both again.
You come from a theater background , how that help transition into film?
Theater gave me a certain knowledge of script and story structure and it taught me how to listen to the actors. I’m using my theater experience in my new film that we are currently setting up, It’s an essential piece of experience to have in this ever changing entertainment landscape.
The Chez Upshaw is a strange B&B for sure–do you have any personal funny B&B stories?
Nope. Sorry. I only stay in hotels with room service. Isn’t that why God created civilization?
So what’s next for you? More directing? Writing?
Both. Working on a script from a true story out of Seattle in the early 1970’s about a stripper, Shelly Bauman, who gets her leg blown off in a freak parade accident, sues everyone in sight,takes the settlement money and opens a disco for her gay friends that changed the face of Seattle night life and helped usher in the disco era. It’s an incredible story of survival and courage and activism. With music. The name she gave to the disco? “Shelly’s Leg.” I’ve also got a couple of shorts in the works.
Chez Upshaw is currently on major VOD platforms like iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. And is an easy recommendation if you enjoy subversive humor or enjoy’s Kevin Pollack.