Thanks for joining Solzy at the Movies today. How are things treating you?
Nadia Jordan: Thanks Danielle, life is good just gearing up for the release of the film so pretty busy at the moment.
Petra Bryant: Thank you for having me. I am very well indeed (especially this week as I am here in LA for the screening of For the Love of George!).
It’s been a long road for For the Love of George but the film is finally being released on February 13 on DVD and VOD platforms. How much of a relief is it to finally have the film out there for wider audiences to watch?
Nadia Jordan: It’s great to finally have a release date and know that there are people out there that will watch something that has been so long in the making and hopefully enjoy it! I first had the idea for the film back around 2010 and began writing the script at the end of 2013. It was then a long slog raising the money and getting to a point where we were able to begin shooting (which was 2016). People have said to me it’s like giving birth and I say if only it was “just 9 months!”
Petra Bryant: As wonderful and exciting it is to get this film released, it is also terrifying to unleash our work into the world as people are used to huge budget studio pictures as opposed to quirky independent films. I so hope that the audience will enjoy this delightful comedy and like my crazy character, Irina. I am of course very happy for Nadia as she has worked so hard on her dream of turning the script into reality. It will certainly be very interesting to find out what people think of our film. Actors and film makers crave that feedback! Sometimes when I work on a film, it almost doesn’t feel real. I know it will feel good holding an actual disc in my hands. I am certainly looking forward to adding a new DVD to my collection!
There’s a lot that can be said right now about female empowerment and this film is a strong addition to the dialogue. What do you make of things that are currently happening in the industry?
Nadia Jordan: I think the changes that are happening right now in the entertainment industry and across many other industries are way overdue. However because they were such a long time coming, the reform that is starting to happen now as result is going to pave the way for other women for lifetimes to come and will go down in history. There has been a lack of equality for women in so many industries and areas of life for so long and we are now living in the era where it ends. I was at a film distribution meeting the the other day and someone said they really want thrillers with female leads. I can’t tell you how great it was to hear that for a change!
Petra Bryant: I am a feminist, so I am excited to be involved in a female driven comedy with a strong female protagonist. The entertainment industry has always been male-dominated and it is time for things to change. I absolutely support #TimeIsUp movement as I have been personally affected by sexual harassment and sexist behavior from male colleagues. It is shocking to hear just how many women (not just in the entertainment industry) have been mistreated in the work place. Equality still has a way to go unfortunately, but we are getting closer! So when Nadia hired a female director and a female director of photography, I was double stoked about being attached to this project.
For The Love Of George won the Audience Choice Award at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival last November. How has the audience reacted as the film was taken out on tour during the festival circuit?
Nadia Jordan: The film has gone down really well with audiences which is great. We did not enter a whole lot of festivals but rather targeted the ones for female filmmakers or open to comedies. A lot of festivals favor drama over comedy so it was really nice to be at a festival like Chicago that’s specifically dedicated to comedy.
Nadia, as one of the film’s co-writers, how much did it hurt when you found out that George Clooney had gotten engaged and what did it mean for the screenplay?
Nadia Jordan: Yes it hurt! I mean really 22 years a self proclaimed bachelor and he decides to get engaged when I’m halfway though writing a script based on him being the most perfect eligible bachelor! I was actually in a writing session in London when I heard the news of his engagement. It didn’t really sink in at first and then a couple of days later I said to my writing partner “I just have this bad feeling about the film and I can’t pinpoint it. Oh yes George Clooney has just gone and buggered up our script!” My writing partner wanted to shelve it for a few months and work on something else but I was like “No! there must be a way!” And there was. We wrote his engagement and wedding into the script and it actually worked out really well. It became more of Poppy’s story (the protagonist) and less about desperately looking for a man. Just in case anyone was wondering, there is no such thing as a perfect man!
Similarly, did you ever consider directing For The Love Of George or would that have been too much?
Nadia Jordan: You know I actually struggled to find a director. It was really important to me to have a woman and it seemed that everyone I approached was unavailable to start by the date we were obligated to start shooting by. A few people suggested I direct but it was never something I seriously considered. We did eventually find a female director – Maria Burton – but she only came on board a few weeks before filming and had to move on a couple of weeks after we wrapped. So I pretty much took on the role of director (i.e. pick ups, edit, sound, score) for everything other than the actual shoot. Having done that I am now very sure I want to direct my next one, but I would not play the lead if I did. It was tough enough as I was still writing, producing and acting during filming so I would not have been able to direct as well.
Petra, how did you first hear about For The Love Of George and what led you to audition?
Petra Bryant: The project caught my eye during the crowd-funding stage on Indiegogo. I just knew it was going to be a special film. I have met Nadia and her co-writer in London, where she decided to audition me. I believe this was about 4 years ago when the script wasn’t even completed. I feel fortunate that Nadia wanted to work with me and wrote the part around me because there are not that many decent parts for Eastern European actresses and I have always wanted to work on a comedy.
Are there any filmmakers that either of you would like to work with some day?
Nadia Jordan: There are so many! As an actor I would love to work with David O’Russell. He’s an actors director and creates such strong characters. And it would be amazing to work with someone like Christopher Nolan! He has such a unique style. I really see him as an “Architect” of film. Kathryn Bigelow is amazing… ooh and The Coen Brothers would be fun! And of course I have to say it – George Clooney!
Petra Bryant: Yes, absolutely. Sofia Coppola, Sam Taylor Wood and Sean Baker are my ultimate filmmaker crushes. It would be a dream come true to work with them.
When we spoke during the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, there was talk that there might be some changes to For The Love Of George between November and release, mostly the possibility of getting a certain person—whose name escapes me right now—to appear in the film. What’s the update on that?
Nadia Jordan: Hmm no idea who you are talking about…oh him! Well, it appears that a certain Mr. Clooney is slightly harder to get through to than Trump (i.e. tweeting won’t work!). George is known for his great sense of humor and I’m sure if he knew about the film, he would love the idea of a quick cameo. However, I am the eternal optimist and believe that the show is not over until the fat lady sings. She might be warming up but she’s not singing yet!
A portion of For The Love Of George’s proceeds are going to be donated to The Enough Project. Can you talk about the decision-making behind this and a little bit about the organization?
Nadia Jordan: George Clooney is such an extremely committed and passionate humanitarian and is one of the (Enough Project) charity’s most active celebrity supporters. The original inspiration for making the movie actually came from a book called “Not On Our Watch” (the same name as a charity set up by George Clooney and his Oceans 11 pals) written by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle. The book tells the history of Sudan and how the Darfur crisis evolved. It urged readers to get involved and to take action to raise awareness. One suggestion was to host a screening for friends and it was at that point I thought “why not go one step further and actually make a movie”? I wanted to do something that would raise awareness in a light hearted way yet that would still benefit the charity. We touch on George’s humanitarian work and the Enough Project in the movie and donating a portion of the profit was a no brainer.
What upcoming projects are you working on?
Nadia Jordan: I have a few ideas for the next film but haven’t begun writing anything yet. I am researching a couple of true life stories and I think my next film is unlikely to be another comedy but you never know! Making a film and seeing it through from start to finish is such a huge commitment and after working on this for so long, I would like a bit of a break and will maybe just concentrate on acting for a while. But I know I will begin a film again before too long!
Petra Bryant: I will be shooting a British comedy horror, The Last Village on the Right, in France this March and I have just returned from Florida where I was working on a new reality show, Loft Studio Miami. I have also completed my debut novel, Girl on a Rocking Horse, which I plan to release at the end of 2018. I love keeping busy!
Thanks again for your time and best of luck with For The Love Of George.
Nadia Jordan: Thanks Danielle, hope you come to LA sometime soon!
For The Love of George will be available on DVD and VOD platforms on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.