Heartless (2009) 10 min. Cary, NC
Writer/Director: Nick Karner
With: James Scott Norton and Mary Rowland
IMDB SYNOPSIS: A drug dealer must hide with his mother to escape his would-be killers.
This was the continuation of a theme I had explored back in film school with a film called 5. I thought that if I’d had more time, I would’ve cast another actor in the lead role instead of casting myself. I met James Scott Norton on the set of Rage. He’s a smart and talented actor who’s also easy on the eyes. My wife said when he said hello to her at work all of her female co-workers went gaga over him. I thought he’d be perfect for the role of a golden boy gone bad. For the mother role, I went with Mary Rowland, whom I’d worked with previously on Awake and Ovulate. She’s a very talented, award-winning stage actress. I’ve heard her performance in Proof was stunning.
I used an empty restaurant as the setting and changed the Mafia to drug dealers. It seemed more likely that he’d get mixed up with that group as opposed to the Mafia. I was my own crew, as usual, which was becoming more and more difficult as my ambition was growing. I wanted to do a very long, single take push-in, which I was able to get by rigging the tripod to a baby stroller. I didn’t have a separate sound recorder, so I set up a second camera out of frame and ran a boom over the actor’s heads and recorded the sound from there. Originally I planned on this being a 2-night shoot, but after we’d shot the long take several times, I asked if we could just push forward. Mary called her husband and got the OK and I think it was the right call since they were both able to bring out great performances by being in the moment the whole night.