WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
Stanley & Anthony are fed up with relying on others for an acting break, so they meet for lunch to discuss their very own project. Then Stanley gets a phone call. The infamous Quentin Tarantino invites Stanley to LA for a screen test. Stanley can’t believe it. This is the kind of break he’s been waiting for, for a long time. This is very hard for Anthony to deal with, especially when it turns out that Stanley had met Tarantino recently, but never mentioned it. It’s not the kind of info and actor withholds from another actor, especially when he’s a friend. The battle lines have been drawn. But just when Stanley feels his luck has changed, Tarantino calls again. The Producers want someone ‘a bit older and a little bit taller’ than Stanley. Stanley is crestfallen. Anthony is appalled. The two are now back on equal footing in terms of status and power. But the chess players in the sky have not finished with these two yet. Another call, this time from Anthony’s Agent. Anthony has now been offered the very same screen test. What a turnaround. It is very awkward between the two of them. Across the table, Stanley is dejected, trying his utmost to be philosophical about what could have been. During the final moments the waitress brings the bill to the table. Who is going to pay it. There is a standoff.
This amazing little film has a long story.
Many years ago my dear friend and actor Gary wrote this short story almost like an exercise based on his true experience with another fellow actor and friend of his. Since then, Gary and I always wanted to turn it into a film, but for many reasons and due to both his and my schedule, we carried on postponing the shoot. Until one day in spring 2012, we finally decided to make it happen.
It went almost like that:
- “Manlio, what are you doing in July?”
- “Not much, why?”
- “Should we shoot the film?”
- “Gary, are you busy?”
- “Not really.”
- “Well, then let’s do it.”
- “Good. I start making some phone calls.”
- “Great. I better get my colored pens and start working on the shot list.”
- “Good, Manlio. I take care of the restaurant.”
And there we go.
One sunny Sunday in July, we were shooting the film in one location, on one single day. It was quite a challenge for a director, I must say, but thanks to my great crew and very patient and well trained actors, I managed to shoot 45 camera set-ups (slates) in less than 10 hours. It was an incredible experience. Some people think it was all thanks to my famous colored pens, but that’s another story. We had so much fun and laughed a lot during the shoot. Everybody was very relaxed and happy. I also think this short film is the only film in the world to have all the background artists played by Meisner trained actors. The post-production was made by Gary and me back at my place in the middle of the Italian Alps. By the end of August it was all finished, so Gary and I decided to send it out to a few festivals around the world. I was really surprised when many festivals liked it and we ended up winning a few awards. Of course I went everywhere it was officially selected and most of the time I brought back a nice little award with me. One day, I was in Cannes for the Film Festival for my other projects and I got an email from a buyer. He said he saw the short film in the Short Film Market Program and wanted to buy it. This was the cherry on the cake. Shortly after another buyer from Russia wanted the film. So there you go, what started as a favour and almost a joke among friends ended up as an international awards winning short film available on demand on the internet platforms. It’s true: the best things always start for fun and end up for real.