Interview: Jay Chandrasekhar on ‘Freeloaders’
Freeloaders is the story of a group of lazy/jobless potheads who take advantage of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz’s mansion. Once the rocker decides to sell the house, the freeloaders must find a way to come up with enough money to prevent the house from being sold. With the film being released soon, I spoke with Jay Chandrasekhar, who told me a little bit of how the movie came to be, his involvement with the project and the future of releasing films.
One day Jay and his friend Steve were invited to a party that took place in a mansion. Once inside Jay spotted many Counting Crows records on the walls. It was then that his friend informed him they were in the house of Counting Crow’s lead singer Adam Duritz’s house. About six years later someone who represented Duritz contacted Jay to meet with him. At the meeting Duritz brought a writer/director named Dan Rosen with him. They pitched Jay the story that would be Freeloaders, and asked him if he would help produce the film and lend Broken Lizard’s name to it. Jay accepted:
What was you’re involvement with the film?
I really helped with giving notes on the script and sort of just hanging around, mostly on the edit. I was also there a little bit when they were shooting it.
The Broken Lizard team has a cameo in the film, playing a film crew who offer the freeloaders money to shoot an adult film in the mansion.
They asked us if we’d play a part in the film and we thought we’d play the whole porn crew. That way we’re all together, instead of being random guys in the movie. When you live in L.A, if you live in a house with a pool, occasionally someone will ring your doorbell and ask if they can shoot porn there. It happens.
In the film there is a lot of partying that takes place. Were you a big partier?
Yes, we all were, we knew that world quite well. But we also read a lot and wrote a lot.
Have you yourself ever been a freeloader?
Yes, when I was good friends with George Clooney’s assistant and moved out to LA. Clooney would go out of town for months at a time to shoot movies. His assistant was afraid to sleep by herself in a big mansion, so she asked me and my friend to come over occasionally. His assistant eventually became one of the executive producers on Super Troopers.
What do you get a bigger kick out of film, or television?
It depends, I’ve directed a lot of other people’s TV shows because it’s a lot of fun and I get to work with a ton of different actors and writers. I love making my own movies as well because in that case I can control the script, so it’s a bit of a different animal. When I’m working on someone else’s TV show I’ll give them notes on the script, but ultimately they have a team of ten writers working on it. I love it all to be honest with you, I really do. It’s pretty satisfying to shoot something and three weeks later have it be on network television. Films are awesome, but they get out there much more slowly.
How is “Yogi Bear 2” coming along?
“I’m writing it and if Warner Brothers likes it I’ll direct it. Right now its just jokes rattling around in my head.”
Were you a fan of the first Yogi Bear?
I don’t really judge kids movies in the same way. I have kids and if they love it, great. They really loved the first Yogi Bear. The goal is to make a film that appeals to kids first and adults right there too. We really want to make a movie that works on multiple levels, so when parents see it they’ll be pleased.
I’ve made seven films and directed like 50 television shows; you learn that these things are just new challenges. Making a comedy about people smoking pot and cracking jokes, I know how to do it. A kid’s movie, I find that to be enormously challenging…it’s kind of exciting in a weird way.
Super Troopers 2?
“We’re really having a lot of active discussions about trying to figure out the legal issues with it and I don’t anticipate them taking any longer than two or three months. Once that’s done maybe we’ll have some news. We have a script we love; we really want to make it.”
Any characters you’d like to revisit?
I honestly love playing a cop. I love having a mustache and sunglasses.
Freeloaders will be released in theatres, as well as iTunes. Is this the future of distributing films?
Its an interesting shift in the business. Major studios, aside from a couple exceptions have kind of turned their back on comedies at the moment. The films cost so much money to released that this way is still allowing them to be made and released. Interestingly the economics of them come out quite well. I don’t know if the book is written yet if this going to be the way of the future. I have a feeling this is the way it’s going to. To release a comedy on 2500 screens cost 25 million dollars, so there’s always that risk.
Freeloaders will be released in limited release in January 2013. It is currently available on iTunes.
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