Once a week, I’m going to pick out one of Fancast’s many full-length free feature films to spotlight. Sure, you’ll check out the big stuff like Fatal Attraction, Eddie Murphy: Raw and Rob Roy, but the smaller movies need shout-outs, too.
The Fancast Movie of the Week is A-List, directed by former On The Lot finalist Shira-Lee Shalit, who was chosen for that show by Steven Spielberg. A-List was written and produced by her brother Damon Shalit, who also takes on the starring role. It’s the story of a struggling actor named Darren trying to live the American dream of fame and fortune, only to discover that the life he’s chosen is beset with insurmountable obstacles. That is, until he’s mistaken for Dante, an A-list superstar, and he gets everything he’s ever wanted – for better or for worse. Co-starring Daphne Zuniga, Sally Kirkland, Renee Taylor and Joanna Garcia, A-List also features a cameo from the late, great David Carradine.
Watch A-List and heck out the Q&A with director Shira-Lee Shalit after the jump.
Q & A with A-List Director Shira-Lee Shalit
Q: What inspired this screenplay and your involvement with the project?
My brother Damon Shalit, writer/producer and star of A-List, called me up from L.A. and said “We’re making a feature!” I said – “Great, tell me when to fly in. I am ready!” I had recently finished grad film school at Columbia University and wanted to direct a feature. Damon had written the script based on some of his experiences in LA.
Q: How did you get the cast together to do this film?
Damon got the script to Daphne Zuniga – she really connected to the part of Tina, the tough PR woman, and committed to doing it before we even had all the financing. Once we had Daphne, Academy Award nominee Sally Kirkland read the script, loved the part of Olga, an Eastern European landlady with a penchant for fortune-telling, and we all connected really well so she committed to the film. Then everything fell into place – we got the hilarious Renee Taylor (“The Nanny”), the lovely Joanna Garcia (“Reba”), David Carradine did a cameo for us as well as Shelly Winters, who did a vocal cameo!
Q: How hard was it to get this film made? What was the most difficult roadblock to overcome?
Securing the financing was the most difficult roadblock – and that there were 60 roles and many, many locations on a low budget independent film. We got lots of favors from friends and acquaintances, and we were able to shoot in 35mm!
Q: You were one of the finalists hand-picked by Steven Spielberg for “On the Lot.” Does he still take your calls? How does your own experience in Hollywood compare to what’s depicted in A-List?
“On the Lot” was a great, once in a lifetime experience! Very positive for me… so in that way my experience in Hollywood was different from A-List. I think Steven is just a little bit busy to take calls… but he did pick my film out of 12,000 and I will forever be grateful to him for that!
Q: What would you say to prepare someone who was sitting down to watch A-List for the first time, knowing nothing about it?
Sit back, relax, get your popcorn and enjoy the show!