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Karie's Blog
Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jul. 9, 2008 | 12:07 PM

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An interview with Scott Prendergast, writer, director and star of KABLUEY

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In the new indie film KABLUEY, inept Salman (Scott Pendergast) comes to help his sister-in-law (Lisa Kudrow) tend to her homicidal toddlers while Salman’s brother is off fighting in Iraq.  Salman must take a humiliating job as a giant blue corporate mascot to help make ends meet and hold the family together. 

KABLUEY has been garnering excellent reviews and the Hollywood Reporter raved, “This charming, pointed comedy is a genuine discovery.”  The film opens on July 11th in Los Angeles.  Writer, director and star Scott Pendergast graciously took the time to chat with me and discuss the film.

How did you get interested in film?

I always wanted to make movies.  Always….was always obsessed with movies.  As a kid I was basically addicted to the Muppets.  And then the Muppet movie came out and for me - it was like crack.  I think I saw it 7 times in the theater.  I was pretty young and I would take the bus to Washington Square in Portland Oregon BY MYSELF and see it again - in a fevered panic state - in a heightened arousal state.  Like it was Armageddon unfolding before me and I was the only witness.  I would go home all sweaty.  And then I wrote my own sequel.  And that’s probably where an interest in making movies began.  Then for a long time I was doing improvisational comedy.  From middle school through college - and then for about 8 years professionally after college.  So when I was about to turn 30 I thought to myself “OK, you’ve always wanted to make movies.  Now is the time.  Get on the stick.  Time is running out.  DO IT.”  I think before that time I had been too nervous to admit that I wanted to make movies.  Like somehow low self-esteem was preventing me from actually admitting this desire.  I didn’t know if I believed I could do it - that it would ever happen.  But I saved up my money and I bought a Canon XL1 camera and a MAC computer and Final Cut Pro and I taught myself to make short films in my apartment.  And then I just continued on from there - slowly gaining confidence - slowly convincing myself that I could do this.  Because in the back of my mind there was always a little voice saying “WHAT IF YOU CAN’T DO THIS?  WHAT IF YOU ARE THE LEGLESS 3000 POUND PERSON CONVINCING THEM SELF THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE A DANCER?  WHAT IF YOU ARE NOT A FILMMAKER - BUT AN IDIOT?”  But things seemed to be going OK - so I kept trying.

What films or filmmakers inspire you?

Well, The Muppet Movie.  And of course, The Wizard of Oz.  Then I was obsessed with Hitchcock for a long time.  And then obsessed with David Lynch.  (Crazily, self-destructively obsessed with David Lynch).  And then Pedro Almodovar.  I think Rear Window is the best movie ever made (because of 1. The perfectly realized plot and 2. The color scheme and production design).  And recently I have decided (for myself) that Alfonso Cuaron is the greatest living director.  This decision is pretty much based on the 3rd Harry Potter movie - which is ASTONISHING.  And also Children of Men.  When I was young I was very, very, extremely fond of Snoopy Come Home - because, let’s admit it - it’s really fucking joyous in the end when Snoopy does, in fact, come home.  I’m serious.  I own that movie and I watch it every now and then and I cry like a little girl.  Same with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  (I am AGAINST the remake - AGAINST AGAINST AGAINST).  When I was 10 I loved the movie Xanadu.  And I see now that this decision was made by the mind of a very impressionable, sad 10 year old boy.  But still today, I do enjoy it.  I especially enjoy the montage of different getups in the end right before Kira disappears.  One of my favorite movies is a bizarre little independent film called In The Spirit.  But every time I get people to watch it - they do not enjoy it, which is a major problem in my life.  I was very inspired by Miranda July and her movie Me And You And Everyone We Know.  I thought she was spectacular in that movie.  And it convinced me that maybe I could make a feature too - and that I could be in it.

Did you go to film school?

No.  Although, if I had gone to film school I would probably know a lot more about cameras and the technical side of filmmaking.  And I probably could have found a really great, competent Director of Photography that I loved a long time ago.  I regret not going to film school for these reasons.  But, when I graduated from college I was ready to be done with school FOREVER.  And still, at that time, I didn’t have the confidence to admit that I wanted to make movies - so I don’t think I would have gone or gotten into film school.

What inspired KABLUEY?

This sounds bogus, but I was on an airplane and the idea just popped into my head.  I opened my laptop and wrote “Man in big blue mascot costume.  This is your first feature.”  I really like costumes.  And the idea of a man leading his life on the inside of a costume seemed really cool to me.  Then while I was writing down ideas for the movie I gradually realized that I should add elements of my own life at that time into the plot.  My brother was in Iraq with the Oregon Army National Guard and I was living with my sister-in-law helping to take care of my nephews.  And it seemed like that story would counterbalance well with a silly slapstick story about a mascot costume.

Is this your first feature film?

Yes.  I made 5 short films first.  All of them made for very little money, with a digital camera.  They are all viewable on my website.

How long did the shoot take?

I think originally we had 22 days (in Austin, Texas).  Which became 24 days due to weather delays.  And then we had 2 “skeleton crew” days where it was just a few people and the camera.  And then we had 1 day back in Los Angeles to shoot the interior of the mascot costume head.  So 27 in all.

How did you go about casting?

We had brilliant casting directors.  Annie McCarthy and Jay Scully.  And their whole game plan was “We are not casting anyone in this movie until we cast the sister-in-law.”  Because the size of the star in that role would determine who we could get in the other parts.  And we were INCREDIBLY, UNBELIEVABLY, JAW-DROPPINGLY lucky to get Lisa Kudrow in that part.  And after that it was much easier to convince other big name actors to be in this small, little film.  She was like the seal of approval.  But I should also say that it was kind of a group effort.  Everybody we got had some connection to the production, or to a producer, and we pulled the group together in a big joint effort, but Lisa was the key.

What is the toughest thing about promoting a film (short or feature) on the festival circuit?

Well, you have to have a good marketing campaign to guarantee an audience.  You have to make sure the theater is always filled.  We were lucky with KABLUEY in that respect.  But I had a short film play to an empty house every now and then at some festivals in the past - and that’s painful.  You have to have someone put up posters and hand out flyers.  You have to go out and meet people and talk the movie up.

What is your next project?

I’m making another movie about my family - about me and my mom.  It’s another dark-ish comedy.  It should be shooting this fall.  After I finished making KABLUEY I would go on meetings and people would ask me “So where’s your next script?”  And I would think “WHERE’S MY NEXT SCRIPT? ARE YOU JOKING? I HAVE BEEN WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK MAKING THIS MOVIE FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS!  HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO HAVE HAD TIME TO WRITE ANOTHER SCRIPT?”  So I just started writing three screenplays at once - which is probably a ridiculous and bad idea.  But I want to be ready next time!  Perhaps a live action Snoopy Come Home movie.  I love that movie sooo much.  At the end?  When Charlie and the gang are sitting on the bench - totally fucking depressed because Snoopy had to go and live with the little girl who is dying of rickets or scurvy or whatever - and then SUDDENLY - they hear Woodstock whistling?  And then one by one the kids look up and they realize snoopy is COMING HOME!  (but not coming home like Jon Voight Coming Home - paralyzed and everything - just coming home as Snoopy with his little red bowl on his head).  It is perhaps the happiest moment in any movie ever.  How can you deny it’s power?  I honestly believe that I want to make movies because at some point I would like to create a moment that is as happy and joyous and fulfilling as that moment - when snoopy comes home.  Life is bad and terrible things happen and people are mean and get horrible tumors filled with teeth and hair - but every now and then - a dog returns to his boy.  I want to make a movie that has one little moment that is as happy as that.  AND - I want to make a movie about teenage girls who get makeovers and then get devoured by crazed, rampaging robotic dinosaurs.  Then I can retire.  I’m serious.

KABLUEY opens July 11th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Sunset 5.  Q & A with filmmaker on Friday 7/11 & Saturday 7/12 after the 7:30pm show.

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