On Monday, May 11 atombash.com was on the scene at the Tribeca Screening Room for a private screening of “I’ll See You In My Dreams.” It was directed and co-written by Brett Haley and stars Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott and Rhea Perlman. Additional guests included Uma Thurman, Bob Balaban and Danny DeVito. The heartfelt film makes you laugh and cry, drawing you into the highs and lows of the life of a widow and former songstress Carol (Blythe Danner). Through the eyes of Carol, you discover that life can begin anew at any age. Danner finds the routine of everyday life – her regular bridge games with the ladies of her retirement community, gardening, a glass of wine or two – have lost their spark after the death of her beloved dog. With the support of her neighbors (June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, and Mary Kay Place), Carol decides to gain new experiences by embarking on an unlikely friendship with her young pool maintenance man (Martin Starr), pursue a new love interest (Sam Elliott) 20 years after her husband’s death and reconnecting with her daughter (Malin Akerman). “I’ll See You In My Dreams” opens in theaters May 15. Brett Haley is probably best known for “The New Year” a film he co-wrote, produced, edited and directed, which screened in over 20 film festivals including the high profile Los Angeles Film Festival. “The New Year” won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Sarasota Film Festival and was a Critic’s Pick in The Village Voice and LA Weekly. “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” is a stellar follow up.
Check out our star-studded red carpet interviews:
Examiner: “I’ll See You In My Dreams” centers on the life of Blythe Danner, who plays the part of Carol Petersen, a widow in her retirement. As a young man, what inspired you to write this script?
Brett Haley: That’s the first time I ever gotten that question, just kidding. It’s fine; it’s a good question. I think people keep on asking it a lot because it’s a unique situation. For me it really came from a place of some themes and some questions I wanted to explore. For me the film is really an exercise of empathy and I was interested in learning about something I didn’t know much about and tried to put my shoes in somebody else’s. I think at the end of the day a lot of independent films are made about people who are making them and I’m just not interested in making films about me right now. I’m interested in making films about things I know nothing about. I certainly did not know much about a 70 year-old widow. I thought the themes I was trying to explore- love and loss and life and all the good and bad that comes with it would be best expressed through Bythe’s character.
Examiner: We saw your Kickstarter before your film got accepted to Sundance. How was it like going to Sundance and getting the backing from Bleecker Street Media?
Brett Haley: It’s a dream come true. It’s sort of like you hear what should happen. You make a movie for nothing; you get it into Sundance and you sell it at Sundance. Often times that doesn’t happen and it happened, so it was a dream come true. It’s amazing and I think we made a great film. I think we made a very enjoyable film that people seem to be responding to and I think that’s why we are here now. For me I certainly never expected that. I certainly wanted it but certainly didn’t expect it, to have gone through all of those hops was really amazing.
Examiner: How did you get involved in this project?
Blythe Danner: I was approached by Brett. I read a lot of scripts for independent films. I love them and the spirit of them is such a cooperative one – it’s like a community effect. I adored the role. It was 3 dimensional- a 3 dimensional woman. There’s hilarity in the script; heartbreak in the script. It sort of covers the whole gamete of emotions and it was just too appealing not to do it.
Sam Elliot: The script was sent to me and I read it; that was it. It’s a great piece of material and Blythe was already set for it. I never worked with Blythe and I never met her before. I’ve been a fan forever. This was a great piece of material and I could not pass it up.
Rhea Perlman: The script was offered to me and undeniably great. I just thought it was something I had to do.
Examiner: Do you have a preference in working the independent circuit to major motion pictures?
Sam Elliot: I’ve been fortunate to do all of it. It’s really about what the piece is and who’s involved for me. It’s not about the money; it’s about what kind of movie your making.
Rhea Perlman: I do whatever’s brought to me that I love. I did a part on “The Mindy Project,” playing Chris Messina’s very crazy mom. I just do stuff that’s fun. I don’t care if it’s big film, little film. Little film’s can be great, this one was.
Examiner: What brought you to the screening today?
Bob Balaban: I’ve been really good friends with Blythe since she was 24 and I was 22. Since we were children in New York and we ended up being cast in this off-Broadway play. It was a musical and she was my girlfriend in it. We really had a good time together. I had a crush on her because everybody does when they meet her and we became really great friends. Her husband Bruce is a really good friend of mine. We spent our whole lives knowing each other. We both live in the Hamptons. Our houses are not too far from each other. We see each other in the winter; we each other in all sorts of fun things and here we are now.
Examiner: Any new projects?
Bob Balaban: I just finished a HBO miniseries that I act in it called “Show Me a Hero” with Oscar Issac and some other wonderful people, Alfred Molina and Catherine Keener. It was written by the wonderful man that wrote the “Wire,” David Simon and directed by the fabulous man Paul Haggis who directed “Crash.”