Will Slocombe gives SRQ an inside look at Pasadena (No spoilers here!)


The Sarasota Film Festival has a “fantastic reputation among other Film festival programmers” according to Will Slocombe, writer and director of the highly anticipated film Pasadena. Though he has never visited our historic town, the talented director expressed his excitement for the world premiere of the film, which will take place at the Sarasota Film Festival. “I think Sarasota is the perfect fit for it and we have a really good slot for it. We’re kind of a big fish in a smaller pond, which is cool.”

This autobiographical drama is “about a long lost sister who finally comes home after 15 years to her step mothers house for Thanksgiving. She needs money from her father, as do her two siblings. One is her full sister and the other is her half brother, “ explains Slocombe,  “she knows all these secrets about the house and this Thanksgiving she comes home to explode.”

Slocombe, a native of Washington, DC, grew up an only child with two half sisters from his father’s previous marriage. “One of my half sisters hadn’t been home in 15 years and I spent a lot of my life wondering, why? Why she hadn’t been home in 15 years?” Slocombe tells SRQ, “…Whether it was something we did or she did or if someone didn’t like someone, whatever the situation was, I was never really sure…  and from there I kind of jumped off with all these make believe directions”

Pasadena, was filmed in the city itself. Right outside of LA, Slocombe, his crew and the A-list actors focused on dialogue and character for the first two weeks of May last year. “We wanted to be able to pitch to actors in LA so they could sleep in their own beds at night. We were in one house for two weeks, you show up everyday and it’s all about you guys. It was really an actor-friendly movie,” Explains Slocombe.

Slocombe created a mid century aesthetic through his interest in the architectural designs by Richard Neutra. “I didn’t really want it to feel like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, not too fancy or new money.” The house Slocombe selected also mirrored much of the patriarch and his family. “He’s an older guy and this movie is kind of about digging up his past, some of the things he did wrong and trying to figure them out. He’s frozen in time and the family is frozen in time, so we really were careful about trying to find a house that conveyed that and was of the past.”

The Turner family consists of an all-star cast. The patriarch of the family, Poppy, is played by noted film director and actor Peter Bogdanovich. He’s directed films such as Paper Moon, The Last Picture Show and Boris Karloff’s: Targets. “He’s kind of a legend in Hollywood. I wanted someone for this patriarch in the family who had an intellectual hasp but was also a womanizer but also had a masculine strength so it would be powerful to endure through all these things, “ says Slocombe, “he captured a absent-minded professorial thing that wasn’t in the script, he was great.”

Cheryl Hines, a Florida native, known for her roles in Curb Your Enthusiam and The Ugly Truth, plays Poppy’s wife Deborah. “She is sort of a Pasadena housewife, very California, very blonde, very nice on the surface but just underneath there’s this cutting edge.” Actress Alicia Witt plays poppy’s crazy yet estranged daughter, Nina. “Alicia is an incredibly talented actress. She really knows how to get dramatic, she screams and cries, and is crazy and smart and is vicious and its funny and she makes it all work. It’s really spectacular,” Slocombe said. She is most known for her roles in Cybill, Two weeks Notice and Al Pacino’s: 88 minutes.

Nina’s sister Lindsay is played by Sonya Walker. According to Slocombe “her character is really precise, muted and almost passive aggressive, but in some ways she’s the craziest one.” Jacob, Poppy and Deborah’s son, is the character that mirrors Slocombe’s life. He describes him as “like me but the horrible version of myself.” Played by Ashton Holmes, Jacob is a former law students who runs into trouble with a real estate broker and if he doesn’t pay back some $200,000, his girlfriend’s life is on the line.

Don’t forget to catch the world premiere of Pasadena at the Sarasota Film Festival Saturday April 13 at 3:30pm in Theater 10. Will Slocombe, Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines will also attend the premiere and several events throughout the festival.

Photo provided by the Sarasota Film Festival website.

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