Stag – Bachelor Party at Jilley’s Strip Bar in Toronto! Filmmaker Brett Heard Tells All.
On Demand on March 12thToronto actor and stand-up comedian Brett Heard wrote and directed the night-gone-wrong comedy Stag, starring Donald Faison, John Dore and other well-known Canadian comedians. The bachelor party genre gets an unexpected twist in this funny yet whimsical night on the town lark.
Why did you shoot Stag in Toronto?I know the locations well and I had them in mid when I wrote it. A lot of the cast I handpicked because I've known them for a long time. It makes it easier and it's not a big budget film. This is my first feature film and I think familiarity with the environment and crew is a comfort for a first feature and heading into my second feature. I'd love to shoot elsewhere, as I did as an actor but Jilley’s strip club was always in my mind, at Queen and Broadview. It's a landmark, that whole area is turning into a cool, hip area but Jilley's is just this huge seventies strip bar.
You’re an experienced actor and now a filmmaker. What came first and why the transition?I started making the transition ten years ago. I had also done stand-up and improv and for me, I have a passion for being the storyteller and the ultimate way is to literally write and direct the story. In my heart I consider myself an actor and it makes it easier to direct. I love the chair I'm in; I get to tell the story and be part of a collaboration that expresses it through the actors. I get a front row seat and I’m always entertained, literally every day something I wrote the words to is coming to life through these actors. It’s so awesome.
Stag’s a night-gone-wrong comedy for older guys, how did you make it different from all the others?It’s not necessary for younger audiences although there’s funny stuff. It’s more like a Judd Apatow Forty year Old Virgin type. It’s funny and original. Because it’s set at a stag, it gets attached to The Hangover but it isn’t and was never intended to be The Hangover. It’s more of an honest real funny look at what this is like for any guy going to a stag. Your expectations aren’t delivered. You go to a stag and expect 200 guys and a raucous time, but it’s usually nine or ten guys and one has to leave early to get the car to his wife. It’s more real, it’s not dangerous and dark. You think you’ll be out until 2 or 3 in the morning, but you’re usually home by 11.30, especially if you’re in your late twenties or early thirties and have to work the next day.
Donald Faison is hilarious. I’ve liked him since Clueless for his unique approach to comedy.I've also been a huge fan for a long time. When the script was ready to agents in la they passed it on to him, Donald read it and submitted his name. I jumped. I've always been a fan of his comedy and timing. You know something is just perfect.
John Dore’s uncharacteristically restrained here but it works well. He gets to be completely different.John is amazing in this film and so is Pat Thornton because they both got to step outside what they normally play. They were thrilled. Pat speaks often about the fact that he usually plays the fat funny guy and here he was able to play the sensitive love interest. He really enjoyed it.
Eva Amurri Martino, who is Susan Sarandon’s daughter, adds some star power, and she has a cool arc.Eva plays a starlet who is a stereotypical starlet who has been famous since she was a kid and hasn’t experienced real life or real people. She comes face to face with as real a person as you can get trapped in an elevator.
So what’s the Stag tagline?“Putting the “botch” in Debauchery!”