A lot of you may not know who Pat Healy is. Many of you, however, will have seen him in at least a couple of films. He has had roles in both small indie and big budget films for a good fifteen years now, including Pearl Harbour, Magnolia, Ghost World, Rescue Dawn, Compliance and The Assassination of Jesse James. He is now staring in offbeat indie film Cheap Thrills which I review here. I’ll leave Pat to explain the premise behind the movie…
Q. How would you sum up Cheap Thrills to potential viewers?
A. It’s a thriller/dark comedy about the lengths people will go to for money. A young father, faced with unemployment and eviction accepts a series of absurd dares for money from an eccentric and wealthy couple. As the money goes up, the dares get crazier and what starts as a fun game becomes a descent into hell and depravity.
Q. How did you become attached to the project?
A. I was sent the script by my manager. The director E.L. Katz was a big fan of my work in a film called GREAT WORLD OF SOUND that came out in 2007. He thought I would be the perfect casting for this role. He wanted the movie to be grounded in reality and thought that I could bring something to it that would help it from veering into ‘wacky’ territory. The material is tricky so casting actors that can play it ‘for real’ was key.
Q. I understand the movie was shot in just a couple of weeks or so? How was it working that quickly?
A. The entire film was shot in 14 days, 10 of which were in the house. It was hectic, frantic, maddening at times. There was little time to think and it was over 100 degrees outside, with no air conditioning inside. And yet this kind of madness lends itself well to the proceedings and really gives the movie a sense of urgency and authenticity.
Q. The film gets pretty far out with what yourself and Ethan’s characters were dared to do. Was it fun to film, or did you leave the set each day a bit of a wreck? I imagine some of it might have been quite cathartic?!
A. It was often not very fun at all as it was commonly painful both emotionally and physically. During the filming, Ethan and I did not get along and sort of adopted our characters animosity towards each other. Luckily, we are good friends now that the smoke has cleared. The scene after I cut my finger off was the most challenging and also most rewarding thing I’ve done in my entire career. It was very cathartic indeed to get all of that anguish and rage outside of myself.
Q. If you needed money as badly as your character Craig, what lengths would you go to?
A. I might cut my pinkie off but not for any less than 100 grand!
Q. Were any actors harmed in the making of this movie?!
A. Yes. I suffered a permanent elbow injury as well as various bruises, scrapes, aches and pains that have diminished over time. I unfortunately, and accidentally, gave Ethan a black eye by kicking him in the face. When you’re working this quickly, these things can happen. I don’t recommend people trying it the way we did it. You can fake stuff and still make it seem very real to the audience.
Q. You’ve done everything from small indie films like Cheap Thrills and Compliance, to big hitters like Rescue Dawn and Captain America and TV like 24 and Six Feet Under. What has been your favourite medium to work in and your favourite role to date?
A. I like all of the mediums if the material is good and you are allowed to do your best work. But the work in the indie films, particularly CHEAP THRILLS, has been the most rewarding. The money is not great but I am afforded the role of a lifetime. It’s a great pleasure to play a character with such a tremendous arc from A to Z in such a great twisty-turny story. Hopefully I will start being offered bigger roles in bigger movies and be able to do both!
Q. You’ve also had roles in two of the greatest movies made in the last twenty years, in Magnolia and The Assassination of Jesse James. How was it working on those films? Did you get to mix it up with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise?!
A. Those are both films that I cherish and experiences I will never forget. I never worked with Mr. Cruise but I spent a lot of time with Bradley Pitt and he is a wonderful guy and a real pleasure to work for and with.
Q. What will we be seeing you in next?
A. NO WAY JOSE by Adam Goldberg, KITCHEN SINK by Robbie Pickering and STARRY EYES by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Q. Seen any good movies lately?
A. GODZILLA, DOM HEMINGWAY, MUPPETS MOST WANTED, IL SORPASSO
Thanks for your time Pat