Monday, June 29, 2009

Player Profile: Rory Dunwoody

This week we're going to feature one of the other critical players that made IGU the vivid, enigmatic universe that it is--Rory Dunwoody. In his few scenes, Rory stole the show as Marc "The Piss Guy" Bevilaqua, a reformed criminal who has turned to God after finding his life's calling supplying clean urine to prospective casino employees and parolees alike.

Rory has been family since day one, starring in both of our films, and on a personal level is an absolute joy to work with and a blast simply to be around. He's a witty, charismatic and extremely talented method actor who truly becomes each character he undertakes. He is a unique and authentic practitioner of his very signature brand of craft. What follows is a little info on the man behind the madness.

Rory Dunwoody grew up in Philadelphia and attended St. Joseph's Prep High School, which is known for its theater program's successful alumni. Having appeared in plays from the age of 12, Rory debuted in the Bernardi and
Santarsiero debut film Rise by Sin. While living in Japan for three and a half years, Rory co-starred in a Japanese TV Movie 'Jiku Keisatsu' (Time Police), appeared in the feature film 'Baruto no Gakuen' (The Ode to Joy), co-starred in a documentary and was featured in several months issues of 'Spymaster' magazine as a fashion model. After returning to the US, he appeared, after some consideration, in a smaller role as Marc 'The Piss Guy' Bevilaqua in Ice Grill, USA. Now back living in the NY area and settled, Rory is committed to his craft and will no doubt be leaving his mark on films for many years to come.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"It Takes a Village..."

Once I mused that though they say "it takes a village to raise a child, on rare occasions, a child must step up to raise a village." Though probably not fair to a couple of middle class Jersey boys, over the years we have no doubt charged ourselves with that responsibility... Much like Auggie who'd unfairly take it upon himself to save everybody until eventually everyone around him began to expect exactly that. It is motivating to think, though, that were we so fortunate to break on through to the other side, we'd hold the door wide open for all of the good and decent, talented and hungry folks we'd been so lucky to encounter on that steep ascent up life's great mountainside.

That said, we've met so many benevolent, supportive, positive people on our way to bringing IGU to fruition. These wonderful individuals proved that it does indeed take a village--to bring a dream to life. These are just a few of the many we will cast a light upon in future days from this very platform...

Andy "A-Robb" Robbins from BPG (, who we bumrushed with DVDs and biz cards at Sundance 2004 and who was hip and open-minded enough to see the hunger in our eyes and the unique voice in our words. Reading every script along the way and signing on to orchestrate the multimedia tour de force that has been the IGU marketing materials, we are forever in his debt. A man of talent, vision and honor, we've been so blessed to have him in our corner since day one. Thanks for believing in us, Andy.

Katherine "Kat" Hinchey and the ladies of Weist-Barron-Ryan. In the seminal planning stages of IGU pre-production, our lone resource was the time to meticulously put together an astonishingly talented and diverse cast. Our goal became a reality because of the efforts of a few very special ladies. Whether it was the brilliant casting instincts of Kat spending her nights and weekends filling in the gaps and finding the exact actors we envisioned in our mind's eye when we first penned the script in '06 to Ursula and Stefanie so generously opening their Atlantic City doors to us, helping us hold the auditions that would find some of our most integral characters and populating our backgrounds with some amazingly hard-working and dedicated extras. These ladies quite clearly made contributions to Ice Grill, USA that are so great they as yet are still unquantifiable.

Anthony "Tony" Vorhies. The producer extraordinaire was among the very first to believe that IGU was even possible. From the first pre-production meetings to the day we wrapped sound, AV was Ice Grill, USA's lucky talisman. Quirkily charming, immensely resourceful and connected out the ass, AV could always be counted on to make shit happen. Keeping the ship afloat when Mark & I were locked in the lab with Andy or Chen, AV was exactly the man this film needed and he delivered in the clutch every time. Much respect goes out to AV for his hustle, his heart and for having our back. Keep doing your thing, my brother.

These are just a few of the many names that turned chicken scratch on yellow legal pads into viable art. In the future we'll shout out many more stellar members of the IGU dream team like "The Mayor", "Tall Shady", "The Phenom" and "Big Rich".

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Desperate Measures"

Auggie Logan's plight in "Ice Grill, USA" is no different than the life events we've lived through. The struggles of his friends not unlike what we've witnessed first hand. In South Jersey, there are limited options on the road to success. You either become a cog in the machine or you dedicate your life to greasing its gears. To be honest, neither of those options ever much appealed to me.

Brigantine, we referred to as "The Rock", because much like Alcatraz, it was an island quite difficult from which to escape. A great place to grow up, a safe place to raise your kids, but very much a world unto itself. A world where it is easy to lose a decade or two in the blink of an eye if you aren't always fully aware of its grasp. Sometimes an exodus would take extreme measures, like spending 4 hours in a two hundred mile daily commute (been there, done that) or heroically signing your life over to Uncle Sam (much respect to PFC Jon, Angry).

One easy, safe venture off of The Rock was to work at a casino. Corporate enough to feel like you were doing something business-like, but close enough to stay in the loop. I know this intimately, as through college and for a few years beyond I worked as a bouncer at a casino nightclub. I saw my share of shit during that time, enough to belly up to the underbelly and be able to look back and proudly proclaim my survival. I saw the rampant drug abuse and alcoholism, the infidelity and immorality, the hustlers in their mink coats and rental cars. I also encountered and observed many decent, hard-working folks with hearts of gold, doing what they had to do to get by.

It was in fully considering both sides of that poker chip that we approached first writing "Ice Grill, USA". To pay homage to the folks that spend their lives raising their kids right in the face of vice, to show love for the good cops like Haberkern and Julie Cash, to forever memorialize the casualties of that world like Rocco, Learn and CW. It was to call out those that have lost their way, steering their whip recklessly down the wrong street, with no regard for their own safety or that of those innocent pedestrians that surround them on the road that is their runaway life. That goes from our close friends that got caught up in a game they couldn't win, to doctors moonlighting as drug dealers slinging pharmaceutical grade heroine to junkies posing as patients. This movie is dedicated to all of them--the wicked and the virtuous, the lost and the found and all of those that operate in the vast gray expanse in between.

IGU is the story of that shadowy middle realm and the people who live their daily lives there. It is an ode to the South Jersey working class, a love song to the good folks--both those doing their dirt and those keeping it clean, who keep the big Atlantic City roulette wheel spinning.