Audiences were gaga over “Don McKay,” starring Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue and Melissa Leo at the Tribeca Festival last year. Part-film noir and part-comedy “Don McKay” (Haden Church) is about the namesake high-school janitor who glumly goes through the motions of a pitiable life until a mysterious letter arrives one day. It’s terrifically suspenseful, unpredictable and sometimes downright hilarious.
This could become a cult classic, and newcomer director Jake Goldberger acts like he’s made movies a thousand times. At least that’s what you’ll think once you see this gem of a movie. Thanks to a deal with Image, Goldberger will unveil the film to the general public in April. An update will appear on the site at that time but while we wait for the theatrical release we wanted to have a little heart-to-heart with Jake Goldberger—no holds barred. Because that’s what we do.
SCREENCOMMENT-So, what’s a year like in the life of a filmmaker? Been keeping busy?
Jake Goldberger-The last twelve months have been a real back and forth… I’m incredibly glad the deal finally got done, as I know the people at Image really “get” and love the movie, and are going to do a nice job with it. While trying to get “Don McKay” made, I wrote another script that we’re planning on making (though we’re just starting to try to get this thing off the ground right now) which is currently called “Back To Baltimore.” It’s completely different than “Don McKay” in every way possible. Where Don McKay was influenced by an (admittedly bizarre) mixture of Billy Wilder, The Coen Brothers, David Lynch and Hitchcock, this next one is more along the lines of early Cameron Crowe. I hope we’re able to get our act together on this one because if we do it right, I’m confident this could be a really great movie.
There’s also another screenplay I wrote called “Life As A King,” which chronicles the true story of Eugene Brown, who fresh out of a two-decade long prison sentence started an incredibly successful inner city chess club (with the students he monitored during their after school detention periods.) It’s kind of like “Rudy” meets “The Blind Side,” but with chess… Very inspirational and covers a lot of interesting thematic ground… I’m very happy with the script, so it’s something I’m thinking about possibly wanting to commit to on a deeper level.
It took incredibly long for this film to see light of day; glad we’re finally looking at a solid theatrical release because this movie deserves to be seen!
Jim (my producer) and Kevin (our sales agent) have been negotiating this theatrical distribution deal with Image since right after the movie first had that great premiere screening at Tribeca [May 2009]. I know there were multiple offers from some good companies, but my producers really believed in Image, and I think Image really believed in the movie, so that’s the route everybody wanted to take right from the get go… As for me, I have just been pretty much nervously biting my nails and waiting for the other shoe to drop. And now it has…
This Don has wide-reaching appeal so the limited release will lead to a strong word-of-mouth campaign and spread to the rest of the country.
It would be amazing to get a wide release, but in this day and age getting seen on any movie screen whatsoever is a real honor, you know? Other than the showmanship aspect of it, I think “Don McKay” plays particularly well in front of an audience, so I’m really looking forward to that again. It will be a limited release, but hopefully it finds its following regardless. We’ll just have to wait and see.