Hearts Beat Loud Red Carpet Interview with director Brett Haley and lead actress Kiersey Clemons
Back in April at the 2018 Atlanta Film Festival, I got to interview Hearts Beat Loud director Brett Haley and lead actress Kiersey Clemons. The film is about a father, Frank (Nick Offerman) and his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons) bond over writing and performing songs before she goes off to college. All the songs in the movie were recorded live while filming. Before the screening of the movie at the Atlanta Film Festival, Kiersey Clemons was presented with the Phoenix Award as a symbol of her burgeoning career as she rises up from the ashes into stardom.
Mike: So what was the inspiration for the film?
Brett Haley: You know, I just wanted to tell a story through music. I’m a big music guy, and I love indie music, and I love musicals, so that was what started the idea for the movie. People ask me all the time what is the inspiration for the film, I don’t know, but sometimes ideas pop into your head. This was the movie that I wanted to make and covered the themes that I wanted to state. I knew I wanted to do it using music and I wanted to tell a father/daughter story, so it went from there.
You co-wrote this film with Marc Basch, who you have worked with on two other movies, so what was the writing process for this film?
Brett: We go back and forth with the pages, and we don’t write in the same room. So, we pass the pages back and forth through Dropbox. We sometimes talk about the script, but mostly we text back and forth. Sometimes we IM on the computer asking ‘What do you think about this?’. He will take control of the script for a couple of days at a time, and then I’ll take it back for a couple of days. If we are up against a deadline, then we will exchange pages daily, sometimes we might even do it where I work on the script in the morning, and he works on it that afternoon. I couldn’t do it without him, there is no way my movies would have turned out without him, so I am lucky to have such a great friend and have such a great writing partner.
You have a very impressive cast, especially with Nick playing the dad and Kiersey playing his daughter. Talk about your cast.
Brett: Our leads are Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons, who aren’t too shabby. I love them so much. I made a movie with Nick called The Hero and Marc, and I wrote the part for him. Then, when we knew that Kiersey was available and could do it, we were super excited. We jumped at the opportunity to get them, and they have fantastic chemistry on the screen. They really carry the movie, but there are also so many amazing actors in this film, like Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Sash Lane and Blythe Danner that make it an embarrassment of riches.
Who wrote the music for the film?
Brett: Keegan DeWitt wrote all the songs with a little help from his writing partner, Jeremy Bullock. The songs are the lifeblood of the movie. Without those incredible songs, the film wouldn’t work. I am so grateful to those guys, and they did an incredible job.
Kiersey Clemons: Hi, nice to meet you.
So what drew you to the roll?
Kiersey: I love music, and it was a story that was very familiar to me in terms of what this person looked like, being queer and I have never read a script that has mirrored my real life so closely.
You have sung on TV and films before, correct?
Kiersey: Yes, I sang on the TV show Transparent and then in the film Dope as the character named Diggy.
What was it like working with Nick Offerman?
Kiersey: I love Nick, he is so funny, and I love his wife, Megan. He is so warm and made me feel comfortable. That’s incredibly important when someone is playing your dad. He is just the best, and I loved singing with him.
And what was it like working with your director Brett?
Kiersey: I adore Brett. Brett and I are both from Pensacola, Florida, so when you meet someone in L.A. who is from the same hometown as you, it’s huge. We have a lot in common and know how to communicate with each other. We work together well and understand each other. That’s a crucial thing to have, that dialogue between an actor and the director. Having that dialogue made this incredible experience even better.
What do you want people to take away from this film?
Kiersey: I tell everyone after you see this film, call your dad but only if he is a good one.
Thank you so much and have fun at the Atlanta Film Festival.
Kiersey: We will!
For more information about the Atlanta Film Festival go to: www.atlantafilmfestival.com
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