Playing tonight at the SoHo International Film Festival is the slow-burn thriller Forgetting the Girl, an impressive feature debut for director Nate Taylor and writer Peter Moore Smith.
Christopher Denham (Shutter Island) stars as New York City photographer, Kevin Wolfe, who specializes in headshots. He’s haunted by a tragedy from his past and this certainly doesn’t help his mental state any when he’s rejected by the women he has asked out. Lindsay Beamish, Elizabeth Rice and Anna Camp also star in the film which has been making the festival rounds for the last few months.
“Peter and I both worked in advertising and he saw some of the stuff I was doing and said that I could do a lot with a little,” Taylor tells Shock Till You Drop of the film’s genesis. “He had a cool script we could make for no money. I saw the script and loved it. He was living in Hell’s Kitchen in his late-’20s/late-’30s and I think he was writing about the area he was in, the vibe he was in. The New York City dating scene is the worst in the world. That and the combination with the art of headshots – or shadow art, because I don’t know if you could call it an art – boiled into this weird place. When I read the script, it resonated with me because I was in my late-’20s and living in Hell’s Kitchen.”
Taylor set out to shoot the film on a shoestring budget. Using loans and the money his producers were able to scrape together, principal photography began in August of 2009. Post-production carried out over the course of two years while Taylor and his team pieced more funding together to complete the film.
Now might just be the most ideal time for Forgetting the Girl to be placed in the spotlight as its star, Denham, is about to be seen in the upcoming Sound of My Voice, which is being released by Fox Searchlight later this month.
“Chris is blowing up,” Taylor admits. “He just sold a script to Tony Kaye and the Sound of My Voice is coming out. He’s a good hard-working, down to earth acting machine. You can’t quantify it. He’s got this sparkle, a bolt of lightning. When he came in to our audition, he made everyone sit up. It was amazing and he’s got that thing.”
Taylor relished the time he was able to work with Denham to find his character. “We were lucky in that we had two weeks of rehearsal. That was the key to the kingdom. We spent three days alone going through the script and going through stuff, just getting the feel for the right amount of creepiness and awkwardness, but likability. Chris and I were just messing around and trying things out. We had a rough sense of what would work, then we’d find the right balance on set. Every time he looks at the camera, he’s talking to the audience and anyone who is watching the tape he’s making. His job was to convince them that he’s justified in what he has done. So he’s supposed to charm them.”
“The challenge was to get an audience to empathize with Kevin, but have this darkness beneath,” Taylor adds. “It was crucial that the end didn’t feel like a cheap trick or phoney reveal. There are seeds of darkness sprinkled throughout, so you can buy it and understand it and be invested in it so the finale works.”
Forgetting the Girl is currently seeking distribution, however, Taylor is hopeful it will have a home after its festival run. We will keep you posted…