Chris Lowell (“Veronica Mars,” “Private Practice”) was in town to show at the Atlanta Film Festival, an award winning film he directed and co-wrote with Mohit Narang, “Beside Still Waters.” The film is about a group of friends who come back to the lake house from their youth due to the death of Daniel’s parents. Daniel (Ryan Eggold) is going to have to sell the house and wants his friends to experience it once last time. The film can be described as this generation’s “The Big Chill.” The film stars Ryan Eggold, Beck Bennett, Reid Scott, Brett Dalton, Erin Darke, Britt Lower, Jessy Hodges and Will Brill.
I interviewed Chris Lowell on the Red Carpet in front of the Plaza Theatre during the Atlanta Film Festival.
Hi Chris! First I want to tell you that two of the women at my station, Eva and Carolyn, said they are “Team Piz” all the way!
Chris: Oh wow, that’s awesome. That’s great to hear and good to know!
So you are here at the Atlanta Film Festival with your first film “Beside Still Waters.” What’s the biggest difference between acting and directing?
Chris: I actually thought, before I started the film, that I was going to be jealous of the actors in this film. And it turned out to be just the opposite. I was so thankful not to be in front of the camera and behind it at the same time. The high you get off of acting is completely different the high you get off of directing. With acting, you never know what the end results are going to be. You rehearse and perfect it to the best of your ability. But when you show up to the set, there are so many factors that affect how you perform. Whether it’s a feeling that you are being rushed or getting into a fight with your girlfriend on the way to the set. You never know what you are going to get. When you are directing, it’s sort of delusional, but it’s a sense that you are going to solve this puzzle if you just work hard enough. It’s a really rewarding thing to feel, and I have never felt it before because as an actor you just never get there.
Did you co-write the script?
Chris: Yes, with Mohit Narang.
So who came up with the idea for this film?
Chris: It was kind of a mutual thing. I grew up in this house up in Lake Rabun, Georgia, which inspired the film. Literally one summer Mo and I were up there with all of our friends. Mo had just decided that he wanted to go into writing. And I had written a couple of things myself. So we decided to do it together. Writing about the lake house started out as just exercise on how we could write together. Then it really took fire and it became this film.
So talk about what this film is about.
Chris: So, it’s about a young man who parents have recently died in a car accident, and not one of his friends comes to the funeral. So, in this desperate attempt to cling to his sense of youth, home, and family, he invites his friends who didn’t come to the funeral, to come out to the lake house to help him move out and also to celebrate their time in the house. The problem is that everybody shows up, but they don’t remember the house that well or the time they spent there. They are all kind of over that time in their lives and nobody really cares. It’s really his journey to sort of grow up and find closure, saying goodbye to that chapter in his life. I hate to use the word dramedy, but it’s really a coming of age dramedy.
Thank you so much and I just wanted to say I was there when you got the Feature Film Narrative Competition Award at the Austin Film Festival. So congratulation on that and much success with the film.
Chris: Thank you so much!