Toronto’s Matt Sadowski might better be known by Genre Fans as Bridge Carson (aka “Green Ranger“-turned- “Blue Ranger“) in popular American Series Power Rangers S.P.D. His latest effort which has him writing and directing, is touted as the quintessential “Non–Rom-Com“, and is set to premiere here in Toronto at the upcoming Canadian Film Fest.
PRETEND WE’RE KISSING centers around Benny (Dov Tiefenbach) and Jordan (Tommie-Amber Pirie), both brought together by a weekend romance. Benny has trouble making a real romantic connection, while Jordan on the other hand truly believes a magical love really can exist. Also enter in the picture the unemployed, bi-sexual Hippy Autumn (Zoë Kravitz) and what we have is an interesting Story driven by real, complex Characters.
We had the chance to chat quickly with Sadowski about PRETEND WE’RE KISSING. We talk about Family Life, Casting and some of his greatest challenges making this Film.
Tell us about your writing process. What inspired this “Non-Rom-Com”?
In traditional Rom-Coms, insecurities and failures seem easily overcome. There’s no real consequences. It’s not like that in the real world. In life you often don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. I wanted to make a Film that asked the Audience to reevaluate the notion of true love and destiny without being cynical or less optimistic about either. I believe you need to question these concepts in real life and found it was missing in the Romantic Comedies I enjoyed. With this Script, I was able to reflect on the reasons my previous relationships failed. When I was able to apply those learnings with someone worth sharing my life with, it all fell into place. And now we have been married for nine years and have two gorgeous Children. It all works out.
You have selected a v. eclectic Cast. How intensive was the search for the perfect Benny and Jordan, and how important was it that the two Leads were Canadian?
It was very important to me that my two Leads seemed real-worldly; authentic. People you would count as your friends, but maybe, just based on physically looks alone, weren’t the type you’d go gaga over at first site. Tommie filled in for an Actress that couldn’t make one of my early read-throughs. Sure, I think she’s beautiful, but I fell in love with her for her spirit and that’s what I was looking for. She was Jordan.
Benny was more difficult. When I first wrote it, the idea was that I would play him. It took 10 years to get the Film made, and since I am no longer interested in acting and the Character had evolved since the first draft – the only thing I knew was that I needed to find someone who may not look like me but had the essence of how I perceived myself in my less confident moments. Dov nailed that rhythm. We couldn’t be more different but when we first met, he and I had a very similar speaking rhythm to a point where I felt like I was taking to myself.
Zoë Kravitz certainly is a major Star on the rise. How did she come to be involved?
Zoë was someone on my list very early on, but there was another star that was attached. A few weeks before filming, the Actor who was attached had her series picked up for a second season and production wasn’t going to make it easy for us to get access to her. While I was searching for her replacement, I leaned on my actors for suggestions. Dov brought Zoe up as they are close Friends. I was familiar with her work in the X-Men Movie and A Funny Thing Happened. She was VERY different than the previous Actress, but she came in and she absolutely rocked it. Outside of her amazing talent, the reason she’s going places is because she’s a great, genuine Gal.
Juggling multiple caps, what was your greatest challenge in the filmmaking process?
In this Film, I really wanted to shoot and rehearse in a very particular way. My Producer (Peter Harvey), Cast and Crew worked incredibly hard to help me achieve exactly what I was looking for. I think every Film is an experiment, like a relationship, to grow from and apply what you’ve learned to the next. My biggest challenge has always been how to mix my love for collaboration vs being confident in my specific vision. This was an incredibly artistic challenge, but not as difficult as juggling production with a three month old Newborn at home. I certainly put a lot of stress on both myself (returning home from set, to be up all night with my baby Boy) and my Wife (essentially abandoning her at Crew Call). It was a crazy time.
We adore your Wife Deb, who heads one of the most influencial and successful PR Boutiques in the land. Describe for us striking that work-home life balance.
I adore her, too! That’s an interesting question as it’s a constantly evolving thing. We met through our passion for creativity. At the beginning it was easy to lean on that, but as our marriage and Family grew, our goals began to change. I think for anyone in a creative pursuit they have to have to love their Partner more than whatever Project they’re working on. She comes first for me and vice-versa. She is my Muse and I take her advice seriously.
We see that PRETEND WE’RE KISSING already is doing the Festival rounds. What to you would be a success?
Great question. I think that’s hard to gauge. The Person I needed to like it the most, already does. That’s me. I’m proud of it and really like it, and I have to say that I haven’t felt as satisfied with my earlier work. Do I want my Friends and Family to like it? Absolutely. Do I want Critics to love it – of course! But really, at the end of the day, it’s the People who are strangers to me that I hope enjoy it. That have no reason to like or dislike it other than their preference, not as a job or because they are related to me or grew up with me. Ultimately, I’ll judge if this Film was a success if it gives me the ability to make another.
See the Teaser:
For details how you can purchase Tickets to see PRETEND WE’RE KISSING at the Canadian Film Fest on Saturday, March 28, 2015, click here.
It plays as part of the Canadian Indie Film Series on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at Landmark Cinemas across Canada. It opens Friday, April 3, 2015 in select Canadian Cities including Toronto at The Carlton and Landmark Cinemas in Ottawa, Whitby and Vancouver.