Three natives tasted success in the film industry last summer.
Summer officially ended Sept. 23, but the silver screen’s record-setting $44 billion summer season wrapped up weeks ago.
Officially, that was Sept. 1.
It was a big season for the industry and three Brighton natives are sure to mark the summer of 2007 as something special as well.
Dana Fox, Kristen Wiig and Craig Serling made sure their hometown was well represented at the movies. They are working as writers and actors.
“It’s been kind of awesome,” said Fox, a 1994 graduate of Brighton High School, a writer. “After my first movie, it all kind of happened quickly.”
In 2005, Fox saw her first screenplay, “The Wedding Date,” hit the big screen, starring Debra Messing from the TV sitcom “Will and Grace.” While it wasn’t a critical success, it did make more than double its $15 million estimated budget, according to the Internet Movie Database. After doing some work rewriting scripts since then, production recently started on her second script, “What Happens in Vegas...”
The movie will star Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. Fox said she was in disbelief when the major stars said they wanted to sign on.
You hear, ‘Oh, Ashton is going to do it’ and you say ‘Oh, ok, great. Ashton wants to do it, whatever,’” said Fox, dead panning her reaction. “Then you hear ‘Hey, Cameron wants to do it.’ ‘Ok, I believe you. Call me when Cameron is on.’”
Living in Los Angeles, Fox said she’s learned a lot about writing the last couple years. Through trial and error, she’s figured out what works best, which often means getting up early, going to a café and writing for hours. When the time comes, let a studio take it from there.
“That’s the hard thing for a writer because it’s your baby for so long and then you have to hand it over to someone and say ‘Don’t give my baby crack!’ and ‘Don’t let it get hit by a car!’” she joked.
For Wiig, the production aspect may not have been as crazed. This past summer, while taking her usual time off from performing on “Saturday Night Live,” she played an executive in “Knocked Up,” a comedy that grossed nearly $150 million at the domestic box office. She also had a lead role in “The Brothers Solomon,” which co-starred SNL cast-mate Will Forte.
For a summer that was record setting across the board, it was incredibly kind to comedies with “Knocked Up” and “Superbad,” two cases of blockbuster laughers.
“It’s good that comedies are doing so well,” said Wiig, a 1991 graduate of Brighton High School. “‘Superbad’ isn’t a traditional comedy and ‘Knocked Up’ certainly had more heart than most other comedies that have come out. It’s great to be a part of that and it’s exciting to think about what’s coming.”
This December, Wiig can be seen on screen again in “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” a comedy about a fictional singer’s struggles in life.
In all, Wiig admitted the last few months have been a whirlwind and hopes she can get through the upcoming SNL season “alive” so she can continue working on two scripts she’s writing. She also writes for SNL shows.
“Sitting in a room with your friends and writing a sketch about something you think is funny ... it’s very rewarding,” said Wiig, who lives in New York City. “Sometimes when you’re writing a sketch at 4 o’clock in the morning you’re crying because you think it’s the funniest thing in the world.”
That kind of dedication is what helped Craig Serling release his feature film directoral debut in July. The movie, “Jam,” follows a group of people on a two-lane highway when a crash forces them to a standstill in the heat of June.
“It was probably 70 percent hard work, 30 percent luck,” said Serling, a 1982 Brighton High graduate and 1987 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.
With one movie down, Serling has started production on his next project, “Borderline,” a film about the U.S. and Mexican border in Arizona and how the lives of those on both sides conflict. Dealing with issues like illegal immigration, Serling said the movie represents “hyper-patriotism gone awry.”
For all three Brighton natives, each said the same thing helped them reach the success they had this summer – hard work.
“You have to dream big, (but) it’s been nothing but hard work,” Fox said. “That’s the thing that puts you ahead of everybody. I never gave up and never stopped working my butt off.”
Bryan Roth can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 270, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.