The suspense is killing us. Irish Whisper has tied us up and has committed a crime. Wrap party, just days ago. We couldn’t be more fired up for this flick. And it just so happens we got held up with some of the criminals involved, native director Ben Proulx and two actresses who get framed a lot, Melissa McMeekin and Erica McDermott.
“We shot about thirty pages of script in nine days,” New Hampshire born Proulx tells HEC. “We powered through. A lot of coffee and not much sleep, but we made it. We shot in a few different locations and our production was kind of like a traveling circus, which was very fun, very stressful, and very interesting,” Proulx adds.
Irish Whisper tangles us up with everyday struggles to stay straight and by doing that, resisting temptation. Which is hard for anyone. So this thriller is tempting. Of course easier said than done, but if you want something to change, only you can change it. The lead wants change, but at what cost?
Lowell to Marshfield, this short film unfolds in Massachusetts. After spending time in jail, the lead, Jimmy, wants a new cuff. Unfortunately, it’s a little complicated when you have a history of drugs and crime, bleeding your scene. Jimmy gets caught up in short cuts to earn easy loot with his unstable bud, Billy. Does Jimmy really want to make his life alright? Only he can. But will he?
“Nick Apostolides, who plays Jimmy, was out of his mind. I am not exaggerating when I say we beat the hell out of him. He was incredible,” Proulx tells us. “Billy ‘V’ was another actor who showed a hint of insanity in rehearsals and on set. He and Chris Lemieux gave the most dramatic performances I’ve ever seen live, and I can say that honestly,” Proulx adds.
As the plot thickens, let’s meet Katie and Renee, two ‘sisters’ from our past. Both Melissa and Erica ‘Mc’. have knock-out resumes, so casting tapped out to both of them, no auditions needed. They met the writer of Irish Whisper, Adriano Masciarelli who roles as Billy, through a mutual friend. If you have ever met these two girls, they’re addicting. Perfect casting. Go Adriano.
“I play Katie, a heroin addict,” Fighter Sister, Melissa McMeekin tells us. “I found her to be very endearing as she truly wants to believe that she can change. It was a challenging, and at times emotionally draining, role to play. One of my scenes is quite disturbing, yet it becomes a beautiful moment between Katie and Jimmy. It gives the audience a glimpse at a different side of both of them”. McMeekin adds.
“I’m Renee,” Fighter Sister, Erica McDermott tells us. “In this film, it is apparent that Renee has an angry and protective personality. Renee was quite emotionally charged, to say the least. And YES, I’m in another fight scene”. Well, you certainly didn’t look like you had a chip on your shoulder at the SAG awards in LA, this past Sunday. Go Erica!
“Melissa made the introductions necessary for me to do the project and I’ve been giving my best for her, and will always continue to do so,” Proulx tells us. “She motivates me on many levels and I love just being around her”.
We hear, it’s not too shabby hanging with you on set either. Both girls gushed about you too. “He is so talented and brilliant at what he does and he creates such a great low key, relaxed and fun atmosphere. He also happens to be one of my absolute favorite people”. McMeekin tells us.“He has such a unique style, that is truly all his own. I am so looking forward to watching this short film when it’s complete and seeing where it goes in the festival circuit,” Erica adds.
“Every single actor took every single line seriously, everyone gave it their all, and that is what made this project special. It pops. It’s scary, it’s real and it’s captivating. Nothing fancy. Just raw,” Proulx tells us.
So, what is next for Irish Whisper? “If this was an HBO series, it would be one hell of a series. If it was a full feature, it would be one hell of a feature. There’s some internal discussion going on right now as to what’s next. Now, I don’t want to start any rumors, but I’ll just put it this way… We’re only getting started with this, and we’re thinking big,” Proulx tells us.
Stay connected with Irish Whisper on FB. Who knows, you might get banged with casting calls? The project is on the table and the trailer is shooting its way. More crime drama in Boston? Yes please! Go Irish Whisper!
It took years for Hollywood homeboy Mark Wahlberg to get the green light to shoot The Fighter and only months after its Oscar nods, the flick is still vibrating.
With seven Oscar nominations, how could we be surprised about a rumored Fighter II this summer?!
“I got bit by the bug, and now I’m trying to plant the idea in everyone’s head that we should do — not five or six ‘Fighter’s like ‘Rocky’ — but one more because the big thing that Micky Ward was famous for was his three epic battles with Arturo Gatti. So we’re talking about possibly taking one more run at it,” Mark Wahlberg told Entertainment Weekly’s Inside Movies.
There was even no hesitation from the acclaimed director of The Fighter, David O. Russell. Russell hooked-up with MTV News and told them not only that he is he interested in working on the sequel but that he wants to take a crack at penning the script. “I think that would be awesome,” the director said of the possibility of a sequel. “I just love those characters and I think we could do a lot of fun and interesting stuff.” The Fighter is the only feature Russell directed without writing it as well.
We can’t confirm if Bale, Leo or Amy Adams will be punching in for the sequel but The Fighter sistah’s are, “I would love for there to be a Fighter 2,” the lovely Melissa McMeekin aka Little Alice tells HEC. “I think if we had everyone on board and David O Russell were to direct, that magic would once again happen. The story is there, we are all even more familial now, and we have the benefit of seeing what the audience responded to and loved about the first, so we could punch that up even more. If done right a sequel could be epic and even better than the first,” McMeekin adds.
“If there were to be a sequel to The Fighter,” the pretty Erica McDermott aka Tar tells us, “I think the next part of Micky Ward’s story would make your heart pound…The Ward vs Gatti fights are legendary!!”
Wahlberg has put his boxing gloves aside at the moment and holds a teddy bear these days in Ted, which is being filmed in Mass right now. Although, a close source from a North Shore hotel tells us that, The Fighter crew have confirmed reservations for this summer! It just may be lights, camera, action here in Hollywood East for Fighter fans!
This Sunday night, Hollywood East Connection will be rocking the red carpet at the ever so posh Mandarin Oriental in Boston celebrating the 83rd annual Academy Awards in East Coast style at the 15th Annual Ellie Fund’s Oscar Night Boston Gala. The gala is the only Oscar night shindig in Mass officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Awards. The Ellie Fund is a Needham-based non-profit organization fighting breast cancer and easing its effects on patients and families across Massachusetts.
The black tie affair will kick off at 7 pm and guests will arrive red carpet style and be pampered with sweet swag bags. Guests will sparkle with live jazz provided by Common Thread featuring Even Goodrow, and have a photo op holding actor, Chris Cooper’s authentic Oscar statuette, and have access to the Redken Red Carpet Salon. Following pre-show activities, guests will view a live telecast of the Hathaway/Franco hosted Academy Awards.
Drinks include Boston’s own Harpoon Ale and Double Cross Vodka martinis accompanied by some of the hottest dishes in Beantown like Morton’s Steakhouse, Lindsey of Wareham, Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar. Yum!
WCVB TV5’s Bianca de la Garza, JC Monahan, Susan Wornick and David Brown will all be emceeing the evening. The night is sure to include surprise celebrity guests, possibly another chat with hometown Benjamin John Parrillo, and two “sisters” Melissa McMeekin and Erica McDermott of The Fighter will be there supporting the film’s cast and crew.
Ellie Fund executive director, Julie Nations states “We are honored to work with the most prestigious hotel, companies and restaurants in Boston to celebrate the Oscars and raise critical funding to support local families who need us now more than ever. No one rolls out the red carpet like the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. This will be an event not to be missed!”
As the Boston film industry celebrates a year that brought local actors to the silver screen including Ben Affleck’s The Town and Mark Wahlberg’s The Fighter, the Ellie Fund offers the exclusive opportunity to walk the red carpet and experience Oscar night like an A-list celeb while helping local families in need.
For all the details, visit Elliefund.org/Oscars2011. The event is sold out but look for HEC “live” coverage on the red carpet early next week!
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, when most people were just starting on their journey to work, a number of local actors anxiously gathered together at the M Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston to watch the Oscar Nominations get announced live from LA (where it was even earlier in the morning). Actresses Melissa McMeekin and Erica McDermott, who played sisters in The Fighter, along with Jodi Purdy-Quinlan of South Shore Casting, and Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, who is currently starring in ArtsEmerson’s presentation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” spoke live to WCVB’s Bianca de la Garza as the nominations came in about their feelings on the announcements during a “Coffee With Oscar” panel sponsored by the Ellie Fund.
McDermott said of waiting for the nominations, “I’m excited! I feel like a child on Christmas morning at the top of the stairs and I don’t know what Santa has left me.”
The local stars burst into cheers and applause for each nomination that The Fighter garnered.
McDermott, who had to wear prosthetic teeth for her character transformation while filming the movie, began to lose weight after she skipped enough meals during shooting in favor of not having to take them out between takes. After prompting from the wardrobe department, she began to eat more heartily as she was told they could no longer find vintage stone washed Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in smaller sizes for her.
“I just remember sitting in the make-up trailer, eating my BLT and spicy fries, and Christian was just sitting there, eating his handful of peanuts and half of an apple. He was so committed, he never complained,” said McDermott.
“They had a real feeling of company, of a gathered family, which is rare. If there was an Oscar for “Best Ensemble”, this movie would get it,” said Abraham of his thoughts on the movie.
Abraham, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1984 for Amadeus, has gone on to star in a number of film and theater productions, and will be playing Shylock in ArtsEmerson’s upcoming presentation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, which will be running March 29-April 10, 2011.
“Its really one of the best things in this type of career, to be able to balance movies with theater,” said Abraham.
As for whether or not Abraham will be appearing in any future “Made in Massachusetts” films, particularly those that would require a certain sound, when asked if he could do a Boston accent, Abraham replied, “Of course, I’m an actor!”
In total, The Fighter and The Social Network were each nominated for 7 Academy Awards and will compete against each other for the title of “Best Picture” when the Oscars air on February 27th. The Ellie Fund, which provides support to women suffering from breast cancer, also sponsors the only officially sanctioned Oscar party in Boston, and all of New England, the night of the ceremony. For more pics from the Coffee With Oscar event, check out our Facebook page here.
“Made in Massachusetts” films nominated for Oscars:
The Social Network
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Jeremy Renner, The Town
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
The Social Network, Jeff Cronenweth
David Fincher, The Social Network
David O. Russell, The Fighter
The Fighter, Pamela Martin
The Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
BEST SOUND MIXING
The Social Network, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, and Mark Weingarten
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Get those boxing gloves on Hollywood East because the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) is punching out an exclusive screening of the making of The Fighter this Tuesday November 30th at the studios of WGBH from 6-9 pm.
An event where Red Hawk Entertainment, Dorothy Aufiero, the Producer of The Fighter, and the fabulous Boston Casting founder Angela Peri, who did local casting for the movie will both be speaking about the process of the locally shot flick. Join in on all the fun including networking, tours of WGBH, food, drinks, and free parking — all for $25. MPC members attend for free but guests are encouraged to come check it out.
The MPC will also knock you out with the official premiere of The Fighter on Friday, December 10th at 7pm at the Boston Common AMC Loews Theater. Get your tickets to this hot event now (also $25) which includes a drink at the social event following the film. Destination of the shindig following is still pending. Dorothy Aufiero, the Producer of The Fighter, will be attending the premiere as well. Just another easy way to network in Hollywood East!
The rated R feature is based on the true story of boxer Mickey Ward played by Mark Wahlberg and his trainer bro Dick Eklund, the almost unrecognizable 100lb Christian Bale, chronicling the brothers’ early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Mass, Eklund’s battle with drugs and Ward’s fight for the title.
It was just a few months ago when Wahlberg, aka “The Other Guy” was having a beer at the Hingham Shipyard moments after the good vibrations star received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More recently, he hooked up with Seth MacFarlane for the movie Ted and 60 Minutes ticked away sharing the stars early years growing up in Dorchester, MA Wahlberg has come full circle in The Fighter, his proudest effort yet. We won’t start any rumors that Wahlberg will be attending the Dec 10th premiere but it wouldn’t surprise us if he arrived fashionably late!
Don’t miss these two opportunities to mix and mingle with the makers of this season’s next blockbuster — made in Mass to boot! Watch the trailer below and look for one of our fav local actresses Erica McDermott, who plays a principal role as Walberg’s sister.
As the slow changes of the 2010 season settle in with the night time sky creeping just before dinner, sunflowers slowly changing to mums, flip flops into sneakers and bikinis into long sleeves, let’s not let the Fall air get in our way of tackling a new season in Hollywood East. This coming weekend, why not tap into Emmy Award winning LA casting director Sheila Jaffe’s Audition workshop October 2nd or 3rd.
The workshop includes audition scripts from current projects, the much needed advice to land these potential roles, and a chance to get some answers to questions you may have about the biz by the famed director Sheila Jaffe. Jaffe is one of the hippest casting directors around and has been in the biz for 20 years. She is currently casting for the hit drama “Entourage”. A year ago she was here casting roles for The Fighter which is rumored to be released in December with another premiere lingering in Beantown. Jaffe certainly has a hot resume including feature films The Italian Job, Invincible and Be Cool.
“Having the opportunity to audition for Sheila is definitely one the most memorable moments of my journey,” Actress Erica McDermott shares with HEC. McDermott had her final auditions with Jaffe before landing her first principal role in the upcoming flick The Fighter. “She is one of those rare individuals with a personality that commands respect whenever she’s in the room. She knew exactly what she wanted from me during my audition & was able to get the best out of me through her excellent direction,” McDermott adds. McDermott is very excited for this weekend’s Master Workshop with the famed casting director.
This audition workshop will be held at the posh W Hotel located on Stuart Street in Boston. On Saturday, October 2nd there’s a morning and afternoon session available. On Sunday, however, there is only one workshop available. This wallet-friendly class is less than $40 an hour for non-union members and there’s a $40 discount for SAG/AFTRA members. The only pre-req is you must have prior experience in theater, television or film.
To register for this fabulous class click here for the Media Performance Center at Boston Casting.
We caught up with one of our favorite local actresses Erica McDermott and joined her at the Boston University Film Production III Short Film Screening. We last chatted with Mrs. McDermott when she was strutting down the red carpet at the 2010 Ellie Fund Oscar Night Boston Gala, only months after wrapping up shooting The Fighter with Christian Bale.
And like every working actor, McDermott continues to look for work on networking sites like New England Film dot com and that’s how she landed two SAG principal roles in two of the short films being featured at the BU Film Production III Screening, September and Momma Raised a Hell Raiser. McDermott admits it wasn’t easy landing either of the roles. “I had to audition three times for Maya (the director) before she gave me the part.” McDermott tells us. Erica is very proud of her work in both films and expressed how exciting it was to be on set with the director of September Maya Tanaka and writer Barry Potter. “This is my first film that I am really proud of,” the blushing director Tanaka shares with HEC. “It really is a film that everyone can relate too.” “I wrote the screenplay less then a year ago,” Potter shares with us. “ And I submitted it to a screenwriting contest. That’s how Maya got a hold of it.” “Working on these films was a great way to sharpen my acting skills through the winter and an easy way to meet hip and up coming directors,” McDermott adds.
The screening event took place at the Boston University Photonics Center. It was packed with family and friends and of course the students anticipating the first screening of their spring semester film project. After long hours of post production, the hardest part was over and the debut of their films was happening. The screening room was small not even enough seats to accommodate the audience, but that certainly didn’t stop the energized crowd from filling the room and anticipating the eight short films being featured, Solita, Choke, The Machine, the hilarious Lynx-Jinxed, Everly Yours (rumored to be shot at Boston’s Park Plaza hotel), September, Thoughts Count Too and Momma Raised a Hell Raiser.
Along with its theater programs, Boston University’s College of Communication film and television graduates have turned out to be some of America’s most successful directors, screenwriters, editors, and producers. The college offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Film and Television and a Master of Science degree in Television Production, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs in Film, and new for Fall 2010, a MS in Media Ventures. A dual degree MBA/MS in Media Ventures is also available.
On Sunday night when most of you were enjoying the 82nd annual Academy Awards in the comfort of your own home, Hollywood East Connection (HEC) was on the red carpet in downtown Boston at The Langham Hotel, celebrating the 14th Annual Ellie Fund’s Oscar Night Boston Gala. The red carpet stars arrived right on time and we were there catching up with HEC friends like actor Erica McDermott and some new friends like actor Benjamin John Parrilo. The night was filled with glitz and glamour and of course, the press!
Every last detail of the event was a success from the cabot cheese flowing fondue, the donated Oscar Statuette from actor Chris Cooper, The James Montgomery Band, title sponsor Ernie Boch Jr. and the Founder and President of the Ellie Fund, Jeff Popkin. Watch HEC Reporter, Mary Pierce “live” on the red carpet:
There may not be many New England actors who can say they’re scheduled to appear in three feature films in 2010, so when we found local actress, Erica McDermott, we couldn’t wait to tell you how she did it. She may not be a household name yet, but she’ll soon be recognized for her work as a feature extra in Knight and Day, an extra in The ZooKeeper and a principal role in The Fighter. McDermott told us that she got “bit with the acting bug” after doing community theater and signed up for acting classes. At the same time, McDermott was actively looking for work in her field of nursing, when everything seemed to fall into place.
McDermott sat with Hollywood East Connection reporter, Mary Pierce and talked about her journey of auditioning and how she landed the principal role, playing along side Christian Bale, Mark Walberg and Amy Adams in The Fighter. Watch it here:
McDermott will be back on stage for Momologues on January 29th at the Scituate High School. Tickets are available at the Front Street Book Store located in downtown Scituate. Not only is McDermott working with local Director Lisa Rafferty on Momologues this winter but she’ll also appear in her new production, The Pink Ribbon Overdose.
We’ll be looking out for McDermott on the big screen this year and wish her continued success in Hollywood East.
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