Fancypants, Joshua Russell’s locally shot feature film starring Patrick Gleason, Roddy Piper and Robert Carradine opens tonight at AMC River East Theater. Red Carpet arrivals begin at 6:00 pm, the movie starts at 7:00 pm, and is followed at 8:30 pm with a Q&A with director and cast.
I had my own Q&A with cast member Amy Hager (who is credited in the film as Amy Hendricks).
Janet Arvia (JA): Who do you play in the film?
Amy Hager (AH): I was Tommy’s (Jackson Dunn) mom Alex. It’s definitely a great part and I’m very proud of the movie. Joshua Russell, the writer/director who is also a screenwriting teacher at DePaul, wrote a beautiful story.
JA: What is the story?
AH: The film revolves around Tommy being Leo the Blue Lion’s (Patrick Gleason) last fan for the aging wrestler. Tommy has an illness, Leo is being bullied to fix fights by the mafia and the two come together to help each other out. Along the way there is a slight romance with Leo and Alex (ooh la la).
JA: What was it like to have an onscreen romantic interest?
AH: Patrick Gleason was lovely to work with. He’s very well spoken, with excellent manners and it was hard for me to believe that he was in prison for 15 years. I’ve never met anyone who went to prison so in meeting Patrick, it helped to demystify things and it made me a much more compassionate and forgiving person. It was the first on-camera kiss for the both of us and we had a lot of fun making the film.
JA: How did you find your other leading man, your character’s son Tommy?
AH: Jackson Dunn, wow, this kid has a natural talent. I was so impressed at the auditions and I know Jackson has a bright future.
JA: What was your initial impression of the project?
AH: I had no idea that it was going to have any kind of budget. I only read the sides for the auditions and didn’t get to read the script until I was cast. I remember staying up pretty late at night reading it because it was so good and I couldn’t put it down.
JA: The film was shot in only three weeks. How did you find the production?
AH: The crew, run by Jim Andre, was super nice and organized. I could definitely tell that Jim and Joshua did a lot of pre-production before shooting this film. Dan Hansen was instrumental in publicizing the film, casting, raising funds and organizing all the festivals. I can’t imagine how hard these guys worked but Dan Hansen, Jim Andre and Joshua Russell from Humble Pie Films really put their hearts and souls into this movie. The crew was super sweet and very friendly. There’s always down time in between shots and we were surrounded by good company.
JA: When you’re not working on a film, with whom do you keep company?
AH: When I’m not acting, I help run Sit Means Sit Dog Training in Chicago, www.chicago.sitmeanssit.com, with my lovely husband Darrel Hager.
JA: You also do voice-overs according to www.amyhager.com, though for now, you must be enjoying the fruits of your film labor.
AH: I have a lot of out of town guests coming in for the premiere and we are very excited!
In addition to tonight’s screening and party, Fancypants is playing at 9:00 pm at AMC Theaters this Friday and Saturday. To reserve your seat, visit http://www.amctheatres.com/Movies/Fancypants.