New Directors/New Films - "Momma's Man" - March 29, 2008
Walter Reade Theater – New York, NY
March 29, 2008
On Saturday, Momma’s Man directed by Azazel Jacobs, played at New Directors/New Films, a joint program between the Department of Film at MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Momma’s Man tells the story of Mikey, a 30-something man played by Matt Boren who stays with his parents during a business trip in New York City, only to extend his trip to cope from his life back in Los Angeles. Jacobs cast his own parents (Ken and Flo) to play the mother and father, creating a terrifically realistic effect. They are artists who live in the ultimate eccentric Manhattan loft, a claustrophobic environment of knick knacks and doodads that give Mikey a sense of comfort and peace away from his reality. This film will tug at your heartstrings, so be sure to bring a hanky if you have the opportunity to see it. Below are some notes from the Q&A.
Q: What was the process like gathering all of the objects in your parents’ loft?
Azazel: They were the star of the script. The home was the first thing I cast. That’s how the script began. I couldn’t separate the place and my folks. It took a while to build up to ask them to be in it. The idea of other people playing my parents was worse.
Ken: Objects speak to me. They tell stories by emanating where they come from.
Q: How much of the film was improvised?
Azazel: I was trying to write on how I think the characters would respond. The film was also shot in order. It was helpful to build and know where we were going.
Q: How was it like to be directed in the final scene where you’re saying goodbye to Mikey?
Flo: It was the normal thing of when he (Azazel) goes to LA. It’s something that happens all the time.
Ken: He was very deft, very clear. The cameraman worked really quickly.
Q: What did you (Matt) bring into the role of Mikey?
Matt: When we first met, I totally fell in love with them (Ken and Flo). My real life was mirroring my character’s life. I was also staying with my parents.
Q: What criteria did you use to cast Matt?
Azazel: I cast him in my first film. He was someone who could take in a lot of things. I wasn’t going to base the son on me. This person has made a lot of different choices than I have. Part of his journey is to come to appreciate what his parents are doing. Matt was the first person I thought of. And my parents would never name their son Mikey.
Q: Was it difficult to shoot in a small space?
Azazel: We didn’t really have much of a crew. The DP and I decided early on that we wouldn’t move anything in the loft. We would not change the space.