Hollywood on the Potomac
Not all Green Rooms are alike, as anyone at Wednesday evening's screening of Green Room can attest. “Green Room is a brilliantly crafted and wickedly fun horror-thriller starring Patrick Stewart as a diabolical club owner who squares off against an unsuspecting but resilient young punk band.” Rotten Tomatoes
Synopsis: The screening was appropriately followed by a rock concert at Gibson Studios Regal Gallery Place in Washington. Why? Because the movie is about down on their luck punk rockers The Ain’t Rights who are finishing up a long and unsuccessful tour, and are about to call it quits when they get an unexpected booking at an isolated, run-down club deep in the backwoods of Oregon. What seems merely to be a third-rate gig escalates into something much more sinister when they witness an act of violence backstage that they weren’t meant to see. Now trapped backstage, they must face off against the club’s depraved owner, Darcy Banker (Stewart), a man who will do anything to protect the secrets of his nefarious enterprise. But while Darcy and his henchmen think the band will be easy to get rid of, The Ain’t Rights prove themselves much more cunning and capable than anyone expected, turning the tables on their unsuspecting captors and setting the stage for the ultimate life-or-death showdown.
“I came upon the project as a finished script. I was really fascinated with the subject matter; both the portrayal of this iconic figure that everyone knows as this macho adventurer – seeing the personal side of the story of who he was as a real person – and his struggles and tribulations towards the end of his life. He was suffering from, basically, mental illness and depression,” director-producer of “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” told Hollywood on the Potomac at a private screening at The Washington Post’s new location on K Street, Washington, DC. “I did do research on Hemingway. Much of what you see on the film is true to the script and which, from what I understand, is Denne Petitclerc’s actual observations and recounting of his story and experiences with the Hemingways.”
We were particularly interested in knowing if the letter that Petitclerc – then a cub reporter – wrote to Hemingway which started it all, played out as was portrayed in the movie: It seemed a bit farfetched to us. “The letter being sent is true. Hemingway calling him is true. I’m not sure that the girlfriend sending the letter is true. He wrote a letter, really not expecting to ever hear back from Hemingway. He just wanted to tell him that during his dark childhood years in an orphanage during the depression era where the orphanages were crowded and not a nice place to be, how Hemingway had given him hope, and actually then given him a career by teaching him to write. He just wanted to tell him that, but never expected Hemingway to reach out to him.”
“I saw a documentary about Genesis. It was not very well known, but I was immediately struck by how incredible and articulate and intelligent yet complex and almost contradictory he was as a person, as a character. I thought he’d make a most remarkable character to try and capture in a 2 hour narrative of the film,” writer-director James Napier Robertson told Hollywood on the Potomac at a screening at MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) in conjunction with the Embassy of New Zealand. The film is “The Dark Horse” based on the true story of Genesis Potini, a brilliant chess champion struggling with mental illness who searches for purpose and finds it in passing on his gift to children in his community. The Maori people, a unique culture that holds its roots in New Zealand, are a key focus of the film, giving audiences a glimpse into their lives.
“I was in LA at the time when I saw it. My producer had sent it to me. I immediately booked my flights and flew back to New Zealand and went down to Gizban and met with Genesis,” Robertson added. “Very quickly after meeting with him, we sat down across a chess board. Fortunately for me, I played chess since I was a kid. I was able to lose, but lose not too quickly. I think that earned me a bit of respect from him and kind of kicked off our relationship. From there, over the next year, we’ve played hundreds of games of chess. We just talked all about his life, his experiences, his philosophies about the world. While we were doing this I started writing the screenplay. I think that my first unpredictable and messy and challenging in a way, particularly for someone like Genesis, chess was a way of finding order within the world. That structure within it, but of course, you can’t ignore the real world for that long. I guess in a way that’s what my film is about. As far as, also, that thing of having a singular focus, I think film can be that same for me just as something like chess could be at someone like Genesis. I think in a way we all benefit from having some sort of passion or something that we love that we. For someone like Genesis, chess was a way of finding order within the world. That structure within it, but of course, you can’t ignore the real world for that long. I guess in a way that’s what my film is about.”