"Dexter"/"Six Feet Under" star Michael C. Hall plays the title character in this darkly comic tale about 35-year-old Morris Bliss who's stuck in a state of inertia.
Morris longs to travel, but he never leaves the East Village. He doesn't have a job and he lives with his widowed father (Peter Fonda). For good measure, he starts a relationship with the 18-year-old daughter (Brie Larson) of his former classmate (Brad William Henke) and tries to avoid his over-eager neighbor (Lucy Liu). Anyway, trouble.
Director Michael Knowles and his cast and crew filmed around the neighborhood during the spring of 2010. (We covered some of this here and here.)
Knowles answered a few questions for us via Facebook ...
Why was the novel "East Fifth Bliss" something that you wanted to adapt into a movie?
There were a a number of reasons I wanted to adapt "East Fifth Bliss" into a movie. The first was that I laughed a lot while I was reading it so I thought it would be fun to make into a movie and share with as wide of an audience as possible. Second, I loved the overall message, which to me was basically "live your life. Stop putting things off and do what you say you're gonna do." This is a story and a message that, if told well, can really resonate with most people.
I also felt that we could make a great movie from the novel because of how unique the characters, humor, tone and world Doug had created were.
Morris is a bit of a sad sack, yet you find yourself rooting for him. How did you strike a balance to make a character that moviegoers will ultimately find likable?
Naaaaaaa. Morris is.... Okay, yeah, you're right, he is a bit of a sad sack but he never complains about his life or feels sorry for himself. On some level, Morris is living a life of Bliss. He, for some reason, has accepted his life as it is and it isn't until things start happening to him that he realizes that he as been a bit rudderless for the past 20 years or so. I think that since Morris doesn't feel sorry for himself it makes it easy to like him ... and he is on the receiving end of a lot of jokes in the novel as well as the movie.
How did you find the experience filming in the East Village?
I loved filming in the East Village. Before I moved to Los Angeles 4 1/2 years ago, I lived in New York for about 13 years and 11 of those years in the East Village. So for me it was perfect to come back and film in a neighborhood I knew very well.
Any memorable moments from the shoot?
There was one night that we were filming in front of the Blue & Gold Tavern on East Seventh Street and we knew it was supposed to rain. So we had to get the scene shot as quickly as possible. As soon as we started rolling, firetrucks came around the corner with the horns and sirens blaring —and it started to pour. We cut and I remember standing under this tent we had set up and watching three firetrucks come to a stop right where we were filming.
Turns out a neighbor had called the fire department on some neighbors who were barbequing on the street nearby. The whole scene was funny since it was so far out of our control. Ultimately, after a handful of starts and stops we did manage to get the scene shot. The whole cast was a bit punchy from being up all night. It was magical.
Previously on EV Grieve:
About the building that inspired the novel "East Fifth Bliss"
Q-and-A with 'East Fifth Bliss' author Douglas Light
[Photos Courtesy 7A Productions]