Patrick Kennelly, Bethany Orr and Mary Loveless Talk EXCESS FLESH at SXSW

     March 14, 2015

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Bethany Orr leads Excess Flesh as Jill, an awkward recluse with a severe eating disorder who dreams of having friends, a great job and a slim figure like her roommate Jennifer (Mary Loveless). Rather than diet, exercise or resort to more practical tactics to get her life back on track, Jill is completely consumed by extreme eating rituals – chaining her fridge shut, binge-eating, physically hurting herself when she takes one bite too many and beyond.

While in Austin for the film’s SXSW world premiere, I got the opportunity to sit down with Orr, Loveless and first time feature director Patrick Kennelly to talk about the challenges of making Excess Flesh. We discussed how romantic comedies and sitcoms actually influenced the film, Orr’s experience eating an excessive amount of food during production, Loveless losing 20 pounds for her role, shooting the whole movie in a single location and tons more. You can hear about it all in the video interview below.

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Image via SXSW

Patrick Kennelly, Bethany Orr & Mary Loveless:

  • 00:00 – How Kennelly came up with and developed the idea.
  • 01:28 – How romantic comedies and sitcoms influenced the film.
  • 02:30 – Discovering more and more about the film as he went from writing, to shooting and then editing.
  • 03:04 – Exploring the idea of feeling isolated in Los Angeles.
  • 03:46 – Loveless on attending college with Kennelly and co-writer Sigrid Gilmer; being offered the role of Jennifer.
  • 04:23 – Orr on auditioning for the role of Jill.
  • 05:10 – What was Orr’s first impression of the script?
  • 05:46 – Did this change her feelings about certain foods; the special eating kit she kept in her dressing room.
  • 06:20 – Loveless’ new thing for chimichangas.
  • 06:44 – Loveless on losing 20 pounds over the course of shooting.
  • 07:16 – The Excess Flesh diet or cookbook – that should probably never exist.
  • 07:33 – Did Kennelly choose the specific foods featured in the film for a reason?
  • 08:05 – How the movie explores the idea of creating a subjective reality; incorporating pop culture.
  • 09:08 – Kennelly on his editing choices; the slow motion technique and creating a claustrophobic feeling.
  • 10:18 – Making eating a personal event instead of a social one.
  • 10:39 – SPOILER ALERT: Incorporating the movie’s twist and if they could gauge whether or not it was working while filming. (Spoilers end at 11:36.)
  • 11:38 – Kennelly on going from writing to directing and then editing; after watching it so many times, is it possible to know whether or not the film is working?
  • 13:22 – How the film has changed from script to set to post-production.
  • 14:15 – Excess Flesh is playing in the Midnight section, but Kennelly never approached it as a horror movie.
  • 14:47 – Are they concerned about some moments being too grotesque or horrific?
  • 15:12 – Kennelly’s version of the movie is 35 minutes longer than the final cut of the film.
  • 15:50 – The aggressive shooting schedule; never doing more than four takes.
  • 16:57 – On shooting in one location.
  • 17:32 – Shooting in order, for the most part.
  • 18:03 – Being respectful of eating disorders; not glamorizing the situation.
  • 18:55 – Building Jill’s apartment.

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