One of the biggest hits with film audiences at the festival this year was the locally-shot The Perfect Wedding, and one of the top name stars of that film was here for the world premiere. Kristine Sutherland, best known for her roles in Honey I Shrunk The Kids and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show, told us about the shoot and the message of the film.
What drew you to this project?
Ed passed the script along to my agent. I read it and thought it was a wonderful story. I was very attracted to the character of Meryl. She has her life all in order and then suddenly circumstances shift and she’s lost and struggling to control the uncontrollable.
How was Sarasota as a place to shoot a film?
Shooting in Sarasota was such a gift. How could you not love staying on one of the most beautiful beaches in the United States and shooting in a home that looked out onto that stunning bay? Many of the crew and most of the actors were young and full of enthusiasm and I enjoyed the family aspect of the shoot enormously. The community of Sarasota was completely welcoming, which made the experience such a pleasure.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you think the social significance of the film is? I know Ed Gaffney was very interested in having a story which portrayed gays without being filled with jokes about them being gay?
I am very proud to be in this film and the way it portrays gay relationships. I love the fact that the humor in this film doesn’t come out of the fact that Paul and Gavin are gay, but rather comes out of the situations in which they find themselves.
Alzhemer’s played a role in several of our films at SFF this year, including Robot and Frank and, of course, A Perfect Wedding. Do you think this film will have a special meaning for families dealing with that issue?
I truly hope that this film will have meaning for families struggling with Alzheimer’s. Actors Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker are close friends who are caring magnificently for Jill’s mom, who suffers from dementia. Michael wrote a wonderful book called Family Meals about their experience. I have seen firsthand how meaningful their story has been for so many people and it certainly increased my awareness of this tragic disease. It is shocking that by 2050, 65 million people are expected to suffer from Alzheimer’s.
We protect ourselves by thinking that these insurmountable problems will happen to someone else and not to us. In the film, Meryl and Richard are just trying to absorb the news of a future that they hadn’t planned for. Their love story was particularly rich for me, as I myself have been with my husband for thirty plus years. It was a powerful emotional journey to imagine myself in her shoes.