‘Hello I Must Be Going’ premiered at this years Sundance Film Festival. Freshly divorced and floundering Amy (Melanie Lynskey) heads home to her parents in order to lick her wounds. After moping around for months she finds her zest for life, along with a bit of naked time, with the 19 year-old son (Christopher Abbot) of her fathers would be client. The affair allows Amy to reclaim her personal identity and move on with her life.
While at Sundance I had a chance to chat with Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbot and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff about the crushing weight of carrying a film, the speed of making an indie and the necessity of a good script. Below is a bit of our conversation.
Diane Davis: This movie came together in about a year. How long did it take to film?
Christopher Abbot: The shoot itself was 3 1/2 weeks, something like that.
Melanie Lynskey: 20 days, it was quick.
DD: That’s unusually fast, isn’t it?
CA: I don’t know. I feel like I’ve done things in that time span.
ML: I did a movie in 10 days once.
Blythe Danner: It is not that unusual for indies to shoot like that.
Sarah Koskoff: It is kind of great. Everybody is very awake.
CA: Yeah, hit the ground running type of vibe.
DD: Did that make things difficult for the two of you, Melanie and Chris, and the relationship that you two had to show?
ML: I think it helped, me at least.
CA: I’ve been asked that and I think the one thing I always go back to is the fact that the first scene that I shot was that dinner scene that we all had together. For me that was nice, because any feelings of not knowing you guys as people was all very real in a way. We got to do that scene of actually getting to know each other very naturally.
DD: So the car scene was up first?
ML: That was sort of later on. They didn’t throw that at us on the first day.
DD: Why are you still attracted to indie films, what brings you to this kind of a project?
ML: I just love playing characters who are interesting and playing women who have some kind of lives. It’s a lot easier to find that in independent film, hopefully it will get easier in studio movies.
BL: It is so difficult for me to find roles like this. I play much more one-dimensional women often, in comedies and things. This was such a gift, I was so grateful.
DD: Your part was so emotional, how do you prepare for that?
BL: You have a great script. If you don’t have a great script, forget it. And wonderful actors to work with and play off of. Todd and our wonderful writer Sarah are married and they developed this together and worked on it and it was just flawless when we got that script. That is just so unusual.
DD: Sarah, where did this story come from?
SK: This story came from a lot of different places. I was interested in, sort of, the female version of the adult adolescent, which I knew so many people who were like that. So many women were just feeling like children but they were trying to occupy an adult world. I’d seen that story so many times, the male version. So I wanted to see what that was like for a women. Also, so many women I knew were dependant; completely dependant on a partner and that was so strange to me. You know, that that hadn’t changed over the years and I thought we; what would happen if something happened to their husband. What would they do? Probably move home.
DD: Is this your first time to Sundance?
SK: My first time as a writer.
DD: This isn’t your first time at Sundance, is it?
ML: No, I’ve been here a couple of times before but just with smaller things.
DD: So, how does each experience grow? Is it better each time?
ML: Well the first time I came it as with a movie but I had such a tiny part in it I just sort of came for fun with my best friend who was the lead in the movie. I just sort of hung around. The next time I had a bigger part so I did a little bit of press, but it was sort of eh, it wasn’t my responsibility and this feels like a crushing weight on my shoulders.
DD: Wow, that’s pretty heavy there.
ML: No, it’s fine. It just is a bigger responsibility than times before, but it’s great. It’s exciting, sorry to say that, ha! An exciting crushing weight.
DD: I feel bad, I’m adding to the weight.
ML: No, I’m joking.
SK: It’s ok. I told the audience at the Eccles that I was depressed.
CA: Way to set the mood!
DD: Are you guys used to having the huge Q&A’s? How does it feel to get up there?
BD: I’ve never liked them
CA: It’s fine if there are good questions.
DD: What’s the best one you’ve heard so far?
ML: Some people have had some good questions, I can’t really think of any. There were these sweet women the other day in a Q&A who had a lot of really nice insightful observations. They didn’t really have questions but they were these really sweet middle-aged women and they had a lot to say about it. It was just so nice to see someone responding like that.
BL: They did say, we have to blow our horn, they did say that they’ve been coming for 6 years and this was the best film they’ve seen in those 6 years.
CA: It’s nice, people seem to have extremely sincere honest reactions to it.
SK: It is a subtle film. I feel like sometime this environment is really chaotic and really the film isn’t that kind of film. I think it requires more attention. I’m curious to see how it’s going to find its way.
DD: Where do you go from here?
SK: I hope it finds an appropriate distributer. A distributor that gets it and will be sensitive to it.
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Also see; My chat with Chris Crocker, Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch of Me@TheZoo