It didn't take a lot of extra work for Eden Marryshow and his writing partner, Jesse Wakeman, to come up with ideas for the movie "Bruce!!!" The main character is someone with a massively self-inflated view of his own genius who has sabotaged every relationship he has had. Only Bruce can love Bruce.
"We all know (expletive) in our lives and we have all had the opportunities to be (expletive) in our own lives," says Marryshow, who co-wrote, directed and stars in the film. "Otherwise we wouldn't be human. We just drew on ridiculous stories we could remember that were happening at the time. Then we wondered what would happen if we blew it out of proportion. By blowing it out of proportion, we could actually dig close to the truth. The script then ended up just living life and friends telling crazy, ridiculous, true stories."
He and Wakeman started writing the script years ago but stopped for more than five years. Once they finally had a script, deciding who would star in the film came down to Marryshow opting to take the role. He says he knew he was the one actor who would show up for work every day and know the script.
And there was a lot to know, as the original script was a mammoth 143 pages, plus Marryshow and Wakeman would write new material during filming. All this meant that once filming was done, more than 90 minutes of footage had to be cut to get the movie to a more respectable running time.
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Shooting their movie in the digital age made that possible as the budget for the production was a mere $2,500. Marryshow credits the generosity, love and friendship of those who worked on the film for making it become a reality.
Once the movie was edited down, all that the creators needed was to find a company to distribute it. Although Marryshow and Wakeman were convinced it should be shown at Sundance and SXSW, they were not included in either. That didn't stop them from making sure their movie was seen.
"What we realized was that we had to have our own film festival. We flew to Vegas and rented a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van," Marryshow says. "We had these 3-by-5 magnets shipped to us in Park City (Utah) and we put them on the car. Then we drove around Park City picking people up and taking them to different locations with the movie playing on a small screen. Then we had this link where people could watch the film."
A bit of luck that helped them get more attention was Marryshow was starring as Shane on the series "Jessica Jones." One woman who initially rejected his flyer to promote the movie had a different response when she recognized him from the Marvel Comics series.
What the festival crowd got to see was the story of an incredibly unlikable character. The idea for the writers was to start with a negative person and try to make him likable. This is a concept Marryshow has embraced for years, explaining that "Scrooged" with Bill Murray is one of his favorite movies.
Marryshow has been an actor for decades, with roles in "Nurse Jackie," "Famous Farrah" and "The Blacklist." He got his first opportunity to direct with three episodes of the TV series "Welcome Home." As for directing "Bruce!!!," Marryshow had distinct ideas of how the story should go, but he was always willing to listen to feedback from others.
Acting was a part of Marryshow's life from a young age through his father's repertory company. He walked away from acting for a short time and worked for 10 years teaching special education students in New York City.
"I realize now that I got a master class in directing from being a teacher. You have to navigate personalities at every turn," Marryshow says. "Sometimes things get violent and you have to be able to talk kids in."
One of his students who believed in his acting abilities was killed in a drive-by shooting. It was at her funeral that Marryshow decided to go back and chase a career in the arts.
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