Eighteen years after Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) turned lowly garbageman Simon Grim (James Urbaniak) into an accomplished poet and nine years after Henry got Fay Grim (Parker Posey) involved in an international security conundrum, writer-director Hal Hartley is wrapping up his Fool/Grim trilogy with Ned Rifle. This installment centers on Henry and Fay’s son, Ned (Liam Aiken). With his mother in prison and his father’s whereabouts unknown, Ned is sent to live with Reverend Daniel Gardner (Martin Donovan) and his family. However, when Ned turns 18, he decides it’s time to head off and kill the person responsible for ruining his mother’s life, his father.
With Ned Rifle screening at SXSW in the Festival Favorites section, I got the opportunity to discuss the film with Hartley and Aubrey Plaza who steps in as Susan, the underage girl Henry slept with prior to the events of Henry Fool. We talked about Hartley’s decision to turn the first film into a trilogy, Plaza’s experience joining a cast that’s been together for two films, Hartley’s thoughts on continuing to work with these characters and more. You can hear about all of that as well as Plaza’s character in Dirty Grandpa in the video interview below. Ned Rifle hits select theaters and Vimeo On Demand on April 1st.
Hal Hartley & Aubrey Plaza:
- 00:00 – Pre-interview knuckle cracking.
- 00:28 – Did Hartley plan to make a trilogy from the start?
- 00:52 – When Hartley decided to make Ned Rifle; thinking in threes.
- 01:49 – The third movie was always going to be Ned’s movie, but it needed Susan, too.
- 02:07 – Offering Plaza the role of Susan.
- 02:38 – Plaza on envisioning herself as Susan; joining the group after they had done two movies together.
- 03:34 – Having reading sessions during pre-production; Plaza on her pre-shoot nerves.
- 04:35 – The luxury of shooting in order.
- 05:28 – The shooting locations; making a bicoastal movie but never leaving the tri-state area.
- 06:18 – Shooting the whole film in 22 days.
- 06:34 – The scale of this movie compared to the last two films.
- 06:59 – Making three stylistically different movies that feature the same family.
- 07:33 – Hartley on being done with these characters, for now.
- 08:24 – Hartley on making the move to episodic television.
- 09:10 – Plaza on Fresno.
- 09:50 – Plaza on her character in Dirty Grandpa and working with Robert De Niro.