GoDigital Media Group releases Dumbbells at Village East Cinemas on January 10th, 2014.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think are the basic elements that turn a comedy into a classic?
Brian Drolet: A movie where at the end you feel happier or better for watching it, and if it pushes the limits on a couple of jokes that made you talk about it at the water cooler on Monday.
Hoyt Richards: Our ambition was to try and create something of a classic nature like the movies that we both loved---Stripes and Caddyshack. We wanted to have the lines resonate in a way that they would come out of it quote certain lines. Not only do you identify with the characters and feel a certain resonance, but also some of the lines you feel like carrying with you. That's what makes it a classic.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Where did you two meet? How did you establish comedic chemistry?
HR: Brian and I met on a movie called High School Musical--it was quite forgettable in many ways, but we found the script very challenging. Brian and I found out that we like to improvise and we had a lot of scenes together. We realized that we had a really great comic timing. We did another project together that allowed us the opportunity to write together, so we discovered that we're both writers. We thought that if we could capture that comedic timing, it would be a really great asset.
BD: We both thought that, because we were from a different generation, it'd make for a fun pairing.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you feel about making a movie in an industry where most movies can be turned into video games?
BD: Any time that a movie is turned into a video game, often times it sucks. It's hard to get that right. I'm sure if Dumbbells were turned into a video game, Hoyt and I would want to oversee every little detail.
HR: We thought of Dumbbells as sort of a sitcom. Brian initially pitched the idea as a TV sitcom. That's a format that would really cater to the content. It's such a funny environment to create because you have so many archetypes in the movie, but there are so many more that we wanted to capture.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What could you relate to personally about your character in Dumbbells?
BD: I did play basketball in college. We embellished a little---I wasn't going into the NBA and wasn't the #1 draft, but I did hurt my knee in my early 20's and had to go through rehabilition. So, there are kernels of truth. In the movie, I have an ex-girlfriend that's an obstacle for my character to get over, and she was definitely based on the ex-girlfriend from my life. It was really fun to make her a villain--even though my ex, in real life, wasn't quite as cartoonish and over-the-top, but in my mind she was. My character has hyper-hydrosis in the movie which is something that I struggled with in the past. There's even a scene where my character gets his paycheck which is for about $423 and then opens up a traffic ticket for $465---that really happened to me when I was working at Domino's Pizza. The whole movie is laced with things that happened to us in our real life.
HR: Brian and I found that the more we put things from our own personal lifes into the script, the more that people responded because it did feel fresh and original. For my case, I will go on record to say that, yes, I was in a cult, we did worship a star. The whole supermodel stuff was taken from my person life in a way that was fun and satirical in a way. It's kind of fun to poke fun at it. It's another one of those worlds where people take themselves too seriously.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think that comedy often comes from tragedy?
HR: One of the things that Brian would talk about is his ex-girlfriend. It was haunting him and I'd be hearing about it a lot. We thought that we have to create a character based on this ex because if we create a character that gets past it, maybe it will also happen in real life. When I was part of the cult, I was brainwashed--it was terrible. To exorcise your demons through humor is very, very healing. There's a liberating experience that you go through when you do it because if you can get to the point where you can laugh at yourself and at things that had been tragic in your life, it's incredibly liberating.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you find the right balance between the different types of comedy?
BD: The goal was to make it fun and not take itself too seriously, but also to weave in positive messages that we believe in. When we were editing it, that's something that we really became aware of: getting the tone right. Whenever we got too serious or dramatic, it just didn't work. We didn't really set a parameter about what kind of jokes we would use. It was in the editing that we really found the balance in the different kind of jokes. For instance, when Fabio is revealed, there's the reaction from the women. It's definitely more cartoony and less believable, but it's ok if you have a joke like that in there, but you don't want to overdo that.
HR: Brian tends to go more broad, and I tend to go more subtle with the humor. It wasn't an easy journey to find the different humor a place to live together, but once we found the right tone, the movie came together in a way that we're very proud of and it represents both of our voices.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How would you define success?
BD: Success is just being able to do what I love in life which is creating things like Dumbbells, to sustain a living by doing it and to share my time with my friends, family and the people that I love. I'd hope to be able to help and inspire other people. That's success to me.
HR: Success in financial terms to me is only something that gives you freedoms to do the projects that you want to do. If I can move into the realm where I can be spontanious and find the time to be with the people that I love and to persue my ventures without being restricted by finance, that would be a dream come true.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What films do you think would pair well with Dumbbells in a double feature?
HR: Stripes and Swingers.
BD: Dodgeball, Office Space and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.