‘Glee’ star writes film, director reveals details

The Scottsdale International Film Festival is bringing many new and interesting films to the Valley this weekend. One of these is “Struck by Lightning,” a movie written by “Glee” star Chris Colfer. The movie boasts an all-star cast of young talent, including “Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland, “Bridesmaids” star Rebel Wilson and “Juno” actress Allison Janney. The State Press spoke with Brian Dannelly, the film’s director, about the movie, working with Colfer and how the movie has touched audiences.

 

The State Press: How did you come to be involved in the project?

Brian Dannelly: Well, my agents called and said, “One of the kids from Glee wrote a script; do you want to read it?” And I said, “No.” It sounded like a bad idea. So (a friend) said, “Oh, it’s really good, you should take a look at it.” So I read it, I really liked it. I thought it was really interesting to have a protagonist you wouldn’t normally see in a high school movie. I loved that it was a high school movie that sort of addressed the idea that it’s the journey not the destination and I had never really seen that before. And then I met with Chris who was awesome and it all came together pretty quickly.

SP: What was it like working with a cast and a screenwriter who are all fairly young?

BD: It’s always great because young talent is always really enthusiastic, really excited. We cast really well. We shot the film in 60 days so everyone had to be on (his or her) game. And then we got Rebel (Wilson), I think, the day before she had to be on set because that was a really hard part to cast. Our casting director had a dream about her the night before and called her and she was on set the next day. It was pretty fast.

SP: What was the filming process like?

BD: It was really hot. We had a great set. We really just moved right through the days. We had a lot of fun. The cast was really good so it wasn’t like we were spending time trying to get performance; we had actors that were already there when we were on set.

SP: Were there any crazy or memorable moments from the set?

BD: It’s funny, I’d have to say the most memorable moments were when we did the scenes with Rebel because she’s so funny and we could have done stuff with her all day. And to see (the cast) try not to make each other laugh was pretty awesome.

SP: A lot of people who have seen the movie or are planning to see the movie are “Glee” fans. How do you think fans will handle this transition for Colfer?

BD: So far, it’s been amazing. When we had our test screening, my editor and I had no idea what to expect. The test screening was a mixed audience; it wasn’t “Glee” fans, it was people from all different ages and all walks of life. We scored really high and people laughed and cried ­— they clapped in two places. So I thought, “Oh we’re on to something, this is connecting with people.” And then, with each festival, we’ve had the same experience.

SP: What do you think that fans are going to take away from “Struck by Lightning”?

BD: I think it’s important to live your life in the moment and don’t let it slip by. That’s the response that I seem to be picking up.

 

Reach the reporter at okhiel@asu.edu