Herzlinger Discovers How Sweet It Is!

This film is a refreshing take on the musical, both funny and unique. It stars Jos Piscopo (Saturday Night Live ’80-’84), Paul Sorvino (Law and Order) and Erica Christensen (Parenthoodon TV). It’s running in movie theaters in Los Angeles, NYC and New Jersey (AMC Theaters) from May 10th-May 24th.

Paul Booth: Why a musical?

Brian Herzlinger: Well, actually in the beginning it wasn’t a musical. I’m a big fan of musicals, so we decided to change it.

PB: What musicals do you love outside of the standards West Side Story, Singing in the Rain, etc…?

BH: I love All That Jazz and a musical most people probably don’t know, Pennies from Heaven. Steve Martin is excellent in Pennies. I mean, it’s amazing. Obviously I love the same musicals we all love. If you don’t know Pennies from Heaven, watch it today. I love Bob Fosse, too.

PB: Yes, I love All That Jazz. (for those who don’t know Bob Fosse, he’s the only filmmaker to ever win a Tony, Emmy and Oscar for directing in the same year).

BH: There is also some Music Man in the mix. I want to say, once we chose to do a musical it instantly became “daunting.” You have to select musical numbers and it requires extra shooting and rehearsal.

PB: How long did it take to write? Shoot?

BH: Well, we had two versions that were wall to wall music. We decided since it require more choreography time, that we cut down the musical numbers to what you see in the film. Essentially, we wrote for one year and then shot it in 16 days. We also got a year of rehearsal during prep.

PB: What did you shoot it on? It was very well staged and looked like a complicated edit. How many cameras?

BH: We used two RED cameras.

PB: What is your favorite aspect of the film?

BH: I feel we were able to make a musical where you don’t see the budget (lack of).

PB: Yes, I felt like I was seeing a multi-million dollar film. I’m sure you didn’t have millions and millions. Were there extra challenges with the low-budget?

BH: Thank you for noticing the production value. Yes, we were blessed to have a great team and had good luck finding the right choreographer and DP [director of photography]. The challenge was time. We had union rules to follow. The process was exhausting some days, but worth it. I remember one-time something took one-minute longer than I wanted and I thought “wow, one-minute matters”.

PB: I was wondering if you could share some thoughts on Erica Christensen (Swimfan)? I really liked her performance.

BH: No problem. Erica is a sweetheart. She’s an amazing actress with gravity and strength. Her character presented challenges that she handled well. Her character had to anchor the father/daughter relationship in the movie and the sub-plot love-story. Erica did a great job, because she takes her craft seriously. She’s a true professional.

PB: I admire how you didn’t cater to her beauty. The character and depth and substance. Some of her earlier films, I know the marketing was probably geared (at the time) to 20-year-old guys like me.

BH: Thanks, Erica has too much talent for me to only use her beauty. She had to find a way to blend significant issues (like alcoholism and estrangement) with comedy and music. It could have been a challenge, but Erica handled all of it while staying rooted in the truth.

PB: Is there anything you want the audience to know?

BH: Even if the film has things that could be perceived as depressing, go with the ride and enjoy the reality. Have fun with the movie. We’re very pleased it’s in movie theaters. Especially with the popularity of video on demand and online sources. We’re lucky people believe in the film and I hope everyone enjoys it.

PB: I enjoyed the film and am of course a fan of yours because the movie My Date with Drew.

BH: Thank you.

Paul’s Final Take: Please take the time to check out this film. Especially since you have the chance to see it on the BIG screen.

Interview by Paul Booth