With writer/director Max Winkler’s feature debut Ceremony opening this weekend in limited release, I recently got to speak with Winkler and Michael Angarano. Ceremony tells the story of a young man (Angarano) who falls in love with an older man’s fiancée (Uma Thurman) while spending a weekend at the older man’s beachside estate. The film also stars Lee Pace, Rebecca Mader and Reece Thompson.
During the interview, Winkler and Angarano talked about what films influenced Ceremony, how Angarano got cast and how Jesse Eisenberg was originally the lead, what it was like to make the film and the way Angarano disappeared into the role, their go-to karaoke songs, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
Finally, while there are a lot of films playing this weekend, I thought Ceremony was a great debut from Winkler with a fantastic performance from Angarano. It’s definitely worth your time. You can watch some clips and the trailer here.
Here’s the full synopsis and interview.
Sam Davis (Michael Angarano) convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate owned by a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). But it soon becomes clear that Sam is secretly infatuated with the filmmaker’s fiancee, Zoe (Uma Thurman), and that his true intention is to thwart their impending nuptials. As Sam’s plan begins to unravel, he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be.
Max Winkler & Michael Angarano
- :34 Winkler talks about what films influenced his style and how he approached Ceremony. Talks about how personal the film is to him.
- 1:57 Angarano talks about how he got involved with the film. Was originally supposed to play Marshall, with Jesse Eisenberg playing Sam, but Eisenberg left to do The Social Network. After casting of Thurman, Angarano felt it would be better to play Sam.
- 2:40 Talk about how Angarano approached the character and his method. Says Angarano disappeared into the role and would ad-lib in character.
- 3:08 Angarano talks about how exhausting the shoot was and how he connected with the character.
- 3:59 Winkler talks about the story and the driving force behind Angarano’s character.
- 4:44 Angarano discusses the story and the intricacies of playing the character. Says the “speed” of the character shifts throughout the course of the film.
- 5:59 Winkler and Angarano talk about their go-to karaoke songs.