Christopher Titus talks Special Unit, Casting Disabled Actors

Special Unit

Writer-actor-comedian-director Christopher Titus spoke with Solzy at the Movies about his new film, Special Unit.

Thanks for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?

Christopher Titus:  Things are good, the movie has all five star reviews. I just wish everyone saw it. Making a film is hard. Promoting a film is like arguing with a Trump supporter. Impossible and draining. Just buy it and laugh so I can make another thing that makes you laugh.

This was a long road for Special Unit. How long did the process take from conception to release?

Christopher Titus:  Eleven years from the pilot until the movie got out. I made a promise to Michael Aronin. I had to get it done or he threatened to move in with me.

I’d describe the film as Mel Brooks directing a Lethal Weapon film. It’s my understanding that Peter Farrelly played a large role with the film. Can you elaborate on that?

Christopher Titus:  Peter gave me script notes. I never met him, we just talked on the phone. I was so lucky to have him jump in. Most people get script notes from friends. I got the guy who directed and wrote some of the funniest comedies of the last two decades. “hashtag blessed.” He won’t return my calls now. I’m cool with that.

One of the major things that can be said about this film is the use of disabled actors playing disabled people. What was the main reasoning behind this decision?

Christopher Titus:  Nothing is more full of shit than someone not disabled, playing disabled. It’s offensive. That being said David Figlioli played Alvin, because the role had long speeches and in auditions really rattled people with autism. I didn’t want to put someone through trauma. Harry Skanz is in the movie and he killed it. He’s autistic. POW POW POW!

Your character, Garrett Fowler, isn’t the greatest detective on the police force. Did you observe working police detectives prior to going into production?

Christopher Titus:  Hell no! I modeled Fowler after Nick Nolte in 48 Hours and added 40% more scumbag.

Bryan Cranston directed a pilot several years ago for Comedy Central but the series wasn’t picked up. Is this film the first of a franchise or is it more likely to be one and done?

Christopher Titus:  That’s a success issue. If the film makes money, we’ll do another one. I already have it banging around in my head. It’s loud.

What is something that you want people to take away from viewing Special Unit?

Christopher Titus:  Always Funny first, but if they get that the disabled are in a lot of ways more abled and just as capable, incapable, loving, pissed off, cutting, sarcastic, hopeful, inspired and shitty as we all are. Then that would be a bonus. They don’t want to be on the SPECIAL pedestal. Just say “Hi” to them like you would anyone else.

The Chicago Comedy Film Festival chose Special Unit for one of their feature film selections. How honored do you feel by this selection?

Christopher Titus:  That it is a for real ‘Comedy” film festival makes me happy. Proud that out of all the films submitted we made it in. How much does it pay again?

Congrats again on the film and thank you again for your time. For interested readers, how can they watch the film?

Christopher Titus:  The movie is on iTunes, Google Play or if you go to you can get it from us. 

Just looked at the iTunes reviews and saw my favorite, “ Major studios missed out on this, funniest independent movie since Clerks.”

I can live with that.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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