Saturday, March 28, 2009
AFI Dallas sneak preview and audio interview: Chris Dowling for Rock Slyde
The Berkner High School grad talks about the making of his first feature-length film, a "Special Presentations" selection at the festival.
Chris Dowling, the writer/director of Rock Slyde, graduated from Berkner High School in Dallas and then made the journey to Austin to attend the University of Texas. He's been living in L.A. for ten years, having moved there to pursue his writing and filmmaking muse.
I interviewed Chris - who's done some acting in the soaps Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful - at the AFI Dallas Filmmaker Lounge in Victory Park. You can catch his tongue-in-cheek, softboiled detective thriller starring Patrick Warburton and Andy Dick on Tuesday night at the Magnolia, or Wednesday afternoon at the Northpark AMC (an additional screening added to the schedule due to an early sellout of the first - as a result of which there are still tickets available for both shows, as of this posting).
Chris is an engaging and enthusiastic fellow. His movie is something of a departure from your typical noir thriller, as its main character - a private dick named Rock Slyde (Patrick Warburton) - doesn't even own a gun and depends more on his gravelly, acidic rejoinders than his fists to defuse confrontations.
And confrontations he has aplenty, thanks to another tenant in his office building, a cultish guru named Bart (Andy Dick) who espouses a philosophy known as "Bartology" - the tenets of which basically hold that one should do unto Bart as Bart would have one do unto him. And he's got adherents all over town, including the manager of the local burger barn and - eventually - Rock's stalwart secretary, Judy Bee (Elaine Hendrix), who falls prey to the delicious cookies offered up by the Bartologists.
Serving as a lovely distracting influence is Rock's new client, Sara (Rena Sofer), who fears she's being shadowed with malicious intent. (And who could resist shadowing a dame with baby blues - and etc. - like hers?) Rock sets out to keep an eye on Sara from the confines of his oh-so-wimpy Smart Car.
Will Rock protect his office lease from the clutches of the megalomaniacal Bart? Will he get his loyal secretary back? Will he have occasion to resort to using the rape whistle? I'm not telling, but pay heed to the audio interview and you'll find out:
* What Chris misses most about Dallas
* How the casting of the movie just seemed to fall into place after the lead signed on
* What it's like working with Andy Dick
* How his Mom played a key role in the creation of the script
* Which scenes his Mom disapproves of
* What kind of film project he's working on next (HINT: it's a western.)
Sitting in on the interview was one of the film's producers, Milan Chakraborty, whose business card proclaims himself as "The Hollywood Hindu." No kidding.