«Written and Directed by MICHAEL SCHROEDER Starring: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, MICHAEL ANGARANO, M. EMMET WALSH, ROBERT WAGNER, MITCH PILEGGI, MIMI KENEDY ...»
Elbow Grease Pictures
Written and Directed by
Starring: CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, MICHAEL ANGARANO, M. EMMET
WALSH, ROBERT WAGNER, MITCH PILEGGI, MIMI KENEDY
Winner - Heartland Film Festival Winner – Stoney Brook Film Festival
Winner - Santa Barbara Int’l FF Official Selection - Berlin Int’l FF
Winner - Palm Beach Int’l FF Official Selection - Mill Valley FF Winner - Method Fest Independent FF Official Selection – Seattle Int’l FF Winner - Kent Film Festival Official Selection – AFI Dallas Int’l FF Release Date: December 7, 2007 Running Time: 107mins Rating: PG 13 Official website: www.outsiderpictures.us & www.maninthechair-themovie.com
US/Canada Distributor: San Francisco Press Contact:
Outsider Pictures Larsen Associates 543 N. Highland Ave 360 Ritch Street Los Angeles, CA 90036 San Francisco, CA 94107 Tel : 323-965-7869 Tel : 323-650-3627 Fax : 323-571-8867 firstname.lastname@example.org 1
CAST AND CREW
SARAH SCHROEDERExecutive Produced by PETER SAMUELSON
CAROL STROBERProduction Designer
TRICIA GRAYCostume Designer
MARCUS BARONEMusic supervisor
LAURA KARPMANMusic Page 2.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTIONAs is often the case with independent films, the story behind the creation of MAN IN THE CHAIR cannot be told without telling the story of its filmmaker.
Writer/director Michael Schroeder was able to draw on personal experience to craft the story of a young man who desperately wants to make a film despite the long-shot odds and difficult obstacles in his way ashe tries to do it outside the system.
The idea for MAN IN THE CHAIR first came to Schroeder when his own career in the industry was at a bit of a crossroads.
“It was 1997 and my best feature director opportunity SHIMANE had just gone away,” says Schroeder. “We were up as the fifth film for the new company the Bubble Factory, headed by the legendary Sid Sheinberg. Unfortunately the previous four films MCHALE’S NAVY, THAT OLD FEELING, FLIPPER and THE PEST had all been box office disappointments and Casey Silver at Universal Studios pulled all future funding from the Bubble Factory.” Schroeder suddenly found himself questioning the state of his career on the heels of having directed a feature a year for the previous eight years.
“I had a nice little career going as a genre/thriller director, had a nice house in West Hollywood, a few toys and couple nice cars,” remembers Schroeder. “But something was missing.” Schroeder came to the conclusion that his future didn’t lie in the modestly budgeted action and thriller movies he had been making up to that point.
This led Schroeder to a self-professed “Jerry Maguire moment.” “I had that epiphany where you know you can do more with your life and I decided not to accept any more genre-driven material,” he says. “I had to find a script – something fresh, unique and risky – even dangerous. I wasn’t really flush with tons of money, so buying a script or optioning a book was nigh impossible. I was going to have to write it.” That’s when Schroeder decided to put his money where his mouth was and literally risk everything he had achieved up to that point in his career in order to concentrate on writing one unique screenplay which he could turn into a film and launch a new era of his career.
“I was 45-years-old, divorced and single, and all three of my children were raised and on their own; so I decided to sell everything – my house, my Benz, my Rover, everything,” he says.” I moved into a small apartment in the Miracle Mile District and set out to write a script that would change my life. I was thinking two years of 24/7 effort would make it happen.”
But eight years later, it still hadn’t “happened.”
“There’s only one thing worse than being below the Hollywood radar – it’s not being on the radar at all,” says Schroeder. “I was still in my little apartment in the Miracle Mile District and no miracles except one. I’d met my future wife Sharon who had become a great supporter in all facets to me and my efforts to reinvent my career. I had written two scripts on my own - MAN IN THE CHAIR and
While nothing had come of any of the scripts, Schroeder believed that there was something unique and special about MAN IN THE CHAIR.
“It was the freshest of all the scripts, the most containable location-wise, and the least expensive budget-wise,” says Schroeder.
The script may have been fresh, but the seed of the idea had been with Schroeder since way back in 1986.
“I was working as the First Assistant Director for Paul Bartel on a film starring Tim Conway and Harvey Corman called THE LONGSHOT and Jonathan Winters – one of the funniest people I’ve ever met - had a three day role in the film,” remembers Schroeder. “He sat next to me at lunch and told me how he’d gone to the Motion Picture Hospital and done a little standup for them. I wasn’t familiar with Motion Picture Home; he told me all about a rest home for retired actors and film crew personnel. Then he said, ‘You could crew up a whole movie out of that place.’ “That’s when the light bulb went off and I logged that idea in my brain for later,” continues Schroeder. “Over the years, that notion percolated into a concept of a young boy reaching out to retired filmmakers to help make a film.” As is often the case, the idea transformed as Schroeder set out to put it on paper.
“Hollywood is all about ageism and I thought the concept of crewing up a movie with people who have all this knowledge and no opportunity to use it was an interesting one,” he says. “But when I started to do research, it really opened my
Nearly two decades after he had initially had that inspiring conversation with Jonathan Winters, Schroeder had completed the screenplay for MAN IN THE CHAIR. But he suddenly found himself a victim of bad timing.
“The world had changed,” he explains. “Movies had become TV remakes, video games and corporate sponsored spectacles. Nobody wanted my ‘little’ film.” But Schroeder refused to give up, deciding instead to find a way to finance the film himself. After a series of meetings with film financiers who he describes as “so horrible I needed a shower afterwards,” Schroeder found an “angel” much closer to home in his sister Sarah Schroeder, who had carved a successful niche for herself in the mortgage business in Boise, Idaho.
“We met at a coffee shop in Idaho and I pitched her MAN IN THE CHAIR,” remembers Schroeder. “This was nothing new, I was always pitching her film ideas. But this time, she responded to the script and didn’t flinch when I told her how much money I would need to make the film. She created a financial package, presented it to hundreds of investors in Idaho and Utah, and within a year had raised the $3 million we needed.” And with that bit of help from his baby sister, Schroeder’s decades long dream to make MAN IN THE CHAIR became a reality.
With a solid script and financing in hand, Schroeder set out to assemble a cast that would best bring his vision to life. For the key role of Flash, he was thrilled when legendary actor Christopher Plummer, a veteran of such films as SYRIANA and THE NEW WORLD responded to the screenplay and signed on for the part.
For Plummer, playing the role of Flash was truly a career highlight.
“I’ve done more than 100 movies in my career and I don’t think there’s been a role that’s touched this one,” says Plummer. “I’ve never had such a rich, real character. He’s like King Lear with a Bronx accent. It’s a gift of a role and I am just overjoyed and overwhelmed by this script.” Plummer was also attracted to the film’s universal theme as he sees it.
“The central theme is youth and age getting together, how young we are when we’re old and how old we can be when we’re young,” he says.
For the lead role opposite Plummer, the part of Cameron Kincaid, Schroeder turned to another veteran actor – although obviously a much younger one.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Angarano, who had already appeared in 16 feature films including such hits as SEABISCUIT and LORDS OF DOGTOWN, landed the part after acquiring a copy of the script and pursuing it aggressively himself.
“When I first read the script, I noticed it had a very old Hollywood feel which interested me,” says Angarano. “Cameron is a kid who has problems but takes it all in stride. He has a respect for what people have done before and he’s like a sponge – he takes everything in and that separates him from others. It’s what makes him special.” According to Schroeder, it’s clear that Agarano’s character isn’t the only one that had something special to offer.
Plummer echoes Schroeder’s sentiments.
“Michael is unbelievable talented,” Plummer adds. “He packs a wallop and is so ahead of his age as an actor.” With his two leads in place, Schroeder set about assembling his supporting cast and was thrilled to be able to feature an amazing collection of talent including M.
Emmet Walsh (CHRISTMAS WITH THE CRANKS), Robert Wagner (AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER), Mimi Kennedy (“House M.D.”), and Mitch Pileggi (“Stargate: Atlantis”) among others.
With his unique screenplay and talented cast on board, Schroeder finally saw his passion project completed in early 2007. And he couldn’t be any prouder of the finished product.
“It’s a sentimental tale, and a feel-good movie, but it’s also entertaining and a little edgy because it’s about a dark subject,” says Schroeder. “I wanted to make a film that a 17-year-old could enjoy as much as a 60-year-old lady. I wanted to dazzle audiences a bit, and have people walk out and say, ‘Hey, that was pretty cool. I should call my grandmother since I haven’t talked to her in six months.’ And I think that’s what we’ve done.” The film would go on to be enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike, winning Best Independent Film and the American Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and being made an official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival.
MICHAEL SCHROEDERWriter/Director Over the course of his lengthy career, MAN IN THE CHAIR writer/director Michael Schroeder has become known as a director who can deliver a film on time and on budget, with a strong ability to work with actors and a unique style of lighting and camera work that the New York Times has dubbed “snazzy shooting” in a review of his work.
A member of the Directors Guild of America since 1982, Schroeder has worked on more than 45 feature films in various countries such as Australia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Belize, Canada and the United States. This body of work includes his First Assistant Director career, which has seen him work on more than 100 commercials and music videos, as well as 25 feature films including THE BIG EASY and SHY PEOPLE.
Schroeder produced his first feature, ONE DARK NIGHT (Meg Tilly's first film) at the age of 28 in 1981. In 1983, he co-produced TORCHLIGHT with Joel and Michael Douglas, which led to his later involvement with the Douglas brothers in the pre-production and distant location work for ROMANCING THE STONE.
Since 1990, Schroeder has directed nine feature films including OUT OF THE DARK for New Line Cinema; DAMNED RIVER, shot over 16 rigorous weeks on the Zambezi River in Africa for United Artists; CYBORG 2, starring Angelina Jolie (her first film) and Elias Koteas; THE GLASS CAGE, shot in New Orleans starring Eric Roberts and Richard Tyson; COVER ME, starring Paul Sorvino for Paramount; and RELENTLESS II for New Line Cinema, which won Best Crime Thriller at the Denver Film Festival in 1991. Schroeder co-wrote the screenplay for CYBORG 2, and also wrote PLAYMAKER, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Rubin for Orion Pictures in 1994.
Schroeder has produced three theatrical shorts: BIG LEAF TOBACCO COMPANY (1999) and LEAGUE OF OLD MEN (2001) for We Care About Kids Productions; and in 2003, the award-winning BUFFOON for Mini Films.
Schroeder has also directed several commercials for such companies as Honda and Volkswagon.
Schroeder has also worked as an educator, teaching college as he continued to write scripts during 2001 and 2002. He became a Director Professor and taught Film Directing at the North Carolina School of the Arts, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Christopher Plummer is one of the premier Shakespearean actors to come out of North America in the 20th century. Though he likely always be remembered as Baron Von Trapp in the atomic bomb-strength blockbuster THE SOUND OF MUSIC, his later film work includes such outstanding performances as Sherlock Holmes in MURDER BY DECREE, the chilling villain in THE SILENT PARTNER, his iconoclastic Mike Wallace in THE INSIDER, and the empathetic psychiatrist in A BEAUTIFUL MIND.
Plummer has won two Emmy Awards out of six nominations stretching 46 years from 1959 and 2005, and one Genie Award in five nominations from 1980 to