Eddie Furlong looks tired.
It’s April and the star of “Matt’s Chance,” a feature film being shot in Seattle by local writer and director Nicholas Gyeney, is in the middle of another long day on the set.
So far, Furlong’s title character “Matt,” has been punched a few times, fallen into a freezing body of water and wondered through more than 24 hours of bizarre characters.
Today, Furlong is sitting in a chair in the middle of Dante’s Tavern in the University District with 70s and 80s film star Margot Kidder sitting in his lap.
Kidder plays a prostitute with the proverbial heart of gold who is willing to listen to her client’s extensive problems and offer a little advice. And in this film, that is something Furlong’s character could use.
After discovering that his fiancé is cheating on him, Matt stumbles off into a strange journey of discovery in which he meets organized crime bosses, corrupt bankers and eventually even God. In this dark comedy, Gyeney finds the humor in one troubled man’s search for self. “Matt’s Chance” is not only a comedy, but also an action-packed drama focused on everyday scenarios involving love, lust, crime, violence, religion, and spirituality.
That may sound like a tall order for any film, but for a shoestring independent film, it is all the more challenging. The scheduled 15-day shoot has been grueling for the cast and the crew: long days, plenty of moves and all of it being done on the tightest of budgets. The film is being shot at various places around Seattle, including the iMusic nightclub across the street from the Experience Music Project and Capitol Hill.
Gyeney and producer Nathan Riley were able to raise a little more than $5,000 through the website Quickstarter.com, which helps independent moviemakers connect with potential investors. The rest of the budget came from other investors.
If the film succeeds, it could be another step forward in Seattle’s tortuous attempt to develop a reputation as a good place for making movies. Gyeney has already made a good start with his cast. Besides Furlong, who is best known for starring in such films as “Terminator II”, “Pet Semetary” and “American History X,” the film features performances by Kidder, whose long acting career includes the role of “Lois Lane” in the “Superman” movie franchise. Also on board are Lee Majors, of “The Six Million Dollar Man” fame, and a cameo by Gary Busey.
But one of the film’s most intriguing cameos, at least for Seattle residents, is the big-screen debut of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who plays a Mafia tough guy in a few scenes that were filmed at the iMusic nightclub.
Furlong said he had only gotten the script two days before arriving in Seattle from Los Angeles to begin shooting. He describes the film as a dark, adult version of “Alice In Wonderland,” where his character comes in contact with a number of strange characters and situations, learning about himself as he goes.
“[Director Gyeney] is making a movie of passion,” Furlong said during a break in shooting. “This is a film I believe in. I always like it when I read something that I haven’t quite seen before. This is a dark comedy that is very real. There is obsession and heartbreak but also a lot of humor. And it’s got a really trippy cast.”
Furlong said the movie was an “awesome experience,” and he described Gyeney as a talented director with an “amazing vision.”
Gyeney has more than a vision for creating films; he is also pretty savvy with the business side, as well. A graduate of the renowned USC Film School, Gyeney said he was able to learn some of the tricks of the trade from industry titans like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. He said he created his own company, Mirror Images, LTD, to produce films in the Northwest.
While there are a few paid crewmembers, most of the crew is comprised of students or volunteers, willing to invest the time for the experience and the chance to make connections.
“It costs a little more to make the film in Seattle, but we decided we wanted to make the film here and we were able to get the investors to agree,” Gyeney.
Gyeney and Producer Nathan Riley say they expect to have the film completed by December of this year and then it will make the rounds to all the film festivals. They hope that through positive buzz on the film festival circuit a studio will buy the rights to distribute the film. In the meantime, Gyeney is planning to show the film in international markets.
That was one reason he opted to hire the interesting array of stars for the film. Such a cast would help boost viewership overseas.
“We are working hard on a deal to get it into theaters,” Riley said.