By Greg Hernandez | Permalink
It was nearly a full house Monday night at the DGA Theatre for the screening of the very appealing romantic comedy eCupidfrom filmmaker J.C. Calciano who was at the festival just last year with Is It Just Me?
“Showing your movie in an incredible venue like this is always a dream for a filmmaker,” Calciano (pictured above with three cast members) told the crowd which included Tony winner Alan Cumming of television’sThe Good Wife and Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk).
The film tells the story of Marshall (a terrificHouston Rhines), a guy on the verge of turning 30 who is working at a dead-end job at an ad agency and is feeling stagnant in his relationship with Gabe (Noah Shuffman), his boyfriend of seven years.
He downloads a mysterious dating app called “eCupid” that guarantees to find true love. It turns his life upside down. Marshall soon finds that all the attention is more than he bargained for.
The film has a few familiar faces including former soap star John Callahan (Edmund on All My Children) as Marshall’s obnoxious boss and the ageless Morgan Fairchild as an angelic waitress who is a real cupid in a way. Also look for The Real World: DC alum Mike Manning (flashing his abs, below) who nicely nails his small role.
But the film is carried by its attractive cast of new discoveries. Rhines is the real star here as his character bumbles his way through some major turns in his life. He’s funny, sexy, touching and maddening through the journey. Schuffman carries the more emotional material and conveys Gabe’s heartbreak and anger well.
Quite delicious in the film is Matthew Scott Lewis (pictured with me below) who plays Marshall’s scheming new co-worker Keith in the film. Keith would be irresistible to most guys with his good looks and charm and Marshall does at times gets swept up in his antics. But his heart belongs to Gabe.
Writer-director Calciano told us after the screening was shot in just 12 days on a production budget of just $75,000. This is astonishing considering the production values and the quality of the performances. Since hand-held devices are a critical player in the movie, Calciano confessed that many times it is his hand holding them and not the character’s! He did all those pick-up shots in a single day. That’s how you do a movie in 12 days.
It helped to have two main leads with easy chemistry.
“We became fast friends,” Schuffman said of he and Rhines. “When you are dealing with an intimate story, you get to know each other really well, really quickly.”
Added Rhines: “I was fortunate to have someone I had instant chemistry with.”
Here is a LINK to the movie’s website.