Playing a Hitman by DJ Donnelley, in ‘The Moment’

Evan asks, “How’s your Irish accent, and would you kiss a guy no tongues?”

The text came through on a sunny California Saturday morning. After working with Kerry and Evan Marlowe on their first feature project, “Blood Rush,” I have to admit, I wasn’t as surprised as I should have been at his request, or at its out of-the-blue, laser-pointer precision.

Evan has a way with words… or rather a way without them. He knows what he wants, and usually, the operative word is, “NOW!” Now doesn’t mean he’s impatient, just the “now,” – when the inspiration is fresh, when the idea is new, when the vision is clearest – is where Evan wants to be as a filmmaker. And with Kerry (Sweet Home Films’ powerhouse producer) taking care of literally everything else on set, that’s when he gets to create.

I’ve worked with them now on a few of their projects: wrestling with flesh-hungry zombies, voicing drugged-out puppy dogs, and now savoring the final moments of a target’s life. Not only is the technical growth of this team remarkable, they are very committed to each other, and to turning out stories in the most beautiful and meaningful way they can.

“The Moment,” for me, marks a point in a brutal and sad character’s life where he’s undone by a mark (played brilliantly by Craig Robert Young), who is in every way his superior. I think the hitman is a bit of an addict, that he’s in love with the joy and fury of the kill. He’s read, played and bested in an instant, and never surmises he’s not the one in control.

Evan wanted me to play an Irishman. He has his reasons. I spent quite a few weeks trying to surround myself with Dubliners to prep the accent. I’m lucky enough to have three close friends and an upstairs neighbor from Ireland. When I wasn’t speaking to them, I was endlessly listening to recordings of native Dubliners I found at the International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA). It was like my own little Rosetta Stone. Repetition is key!

The gun, if I’m honest, I’m no stranger to. I was a registered gun owner when I was 11 years old, as certain members of my family fancied themselves hunters. After years of early-morning shivering (reality check: this is actually what you do when you “hunt”), my dad accused me of purposely missing everything I shot at, and my stint as a youth caveman came to an end. Nevertheless, the prop gun with silencer was far heavier than was reasonably expected, and not surprisingly holding it outstretched for hours on end gave my arm something of an epileptic seizure for the final hilarious but unusable takes.

Working with Evan, Kerry, Craig and the rest of the team at Sweet Home Films was an absolute pleasure, and I hope you enjoy watching “The Moment,” as much as we enjoyed creating it. Turns out, my Irish accent is pretty good, and yes, I will kiss a guy no tongues.

 

 

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