CINEMA PURGATORIO is a “show-biz comedy”…an independently produced film set in the world of modern day independent filmmaking. There’s a happy ending (which works itself out it a surprising way), which makes the film a comedy. But what makes the film funny, are the characters:
LIZ & NEIL SHAW (Traysie Amick, Me)
Liz and Neil are based on Emily and me…protagonists of the film, but not exactly funny. Traysie and I play straightmen to the funny characters. But also…in their desperation to make an award-winning short film, the Shaws certainly give you a target to laugh at.
DOS MIDLER (Alex Smith)
Dos Midler is “the worst kind of fake artist.” He also smells like pancakes. Alex’s characterization of the Shaw’s arch nemesis comes complete with a German accent (“Oma dated Geobbels”), truck-stop sunglasses, and a penchant for cinematic sturm and drang.
CLARK WIGGINS (Jeff Driggers)
What’s so funny about the young, behind-the-scenes filmmaker Clark Wiggins, is his complete lack of self-awareness. He is young, ambitious, and happy to be wherever the action is. Every interaction he has with 80’s action hero Nick Teasle is pure joy to watch.
HOPE SHAW (Harriet White)
When Neil’s sullen teenage daughter is forced into a weekend with her dad, stepmother, and their filmmaker pals at the beach, her response is predictably sardonic…that is until she becomes starlet Bree Carrington’s personal assistant. “Yay me!”
JACKIE MILLER (Nealy Glenn)
A “total dilettante at heart,” bi-coastal cineaste Jackie Miller is quick to offer pretentious musings on life and film. Far less outrageous than Dos (but just as cynical), what’s funniest about Jackie is also what’s most insidious about her: how easily she holds Neil in thrall.
BREE CARRINGTON (Reid Cox)
Bree Carrington is moving to LA, but she behaves as if she’s already been there for a while: self-absorbed, full of dubious facts, and a very good actor…when she doesn’t have to do so in French. So why do we like her so much? Reid Cox plays her empathetically.
NICHOLAS “NICK” TEASLE (Lavin Cuddihee)
Somebody ordered an actor. But they got Nick Teasle…bolo-wearing and macho, willing to turn a simple wooden gate into a “toothpick factory” to get the shot. Nick wisdom: “The only thing worse than critical disclaim is the pain and remorse of artistic regret.”
ALAN RAY (Alan Ray)
With aspirations of being a “food collage artist,” it’s nothing short of a miracle that Neil and Liz convince their off-the-grid, cinematographer to give them 48 hours in Charleston for the film festival. Alan is loyal, serious, and…likes to get naked when he drinks.
JEN MEYERS (Monica Eva Foster)
How many software code-writers do you know who like, who prefer, to produce indie films on the weekend? Jen is a great BFF/wingman for Liz; bad to drink (Pinot Grigio) and quick to fight, but loving, supportive…and a damn fine location sound recordist.
DR. JAMES "JIM" SCOTT (Myron Walker)
"If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Your husband makes movies, I get women pregnant!" Liz's fertility doc is handsome and flirty, but ultimately harmless...even if he does prefer being on a first-name basis with his patients.
MIKEY & MARTY RUTT (Brad Garrett & Blaque Fowler)
The Rutt Brothers are “kinda like the Coen Brothers.” Small time horror movie producers who are planning the world’s first “gay-Christian-horror” film…and really want Neil to be their first assistant director. And Liz to play the “lesbian nun with a death wish.”
ROSCOE WILLIS (Stephen Boatright)
The founder of the Low Country Boil 48-Hour Film Festival is a rather dubious character. A Charleston trust fund baby, Roscoe has assembled a superstar panel of judges for his little festival: soap star Kelly Keller, Paste Magazine’s Michael Dunaway, and…BILL MURRAY.
JOHN ROCK (John Oliver)
Local radio host John Rock hasn’t “been on TV in years,” but he still has a loyal following of listeners who enjoy his glib and reassuring interviews with hometown heroes. (Actor John Oliver actually named his character after his own 1980s, Top 40 radio persona.)