Back from the Hall, Scott Thompson just wants to keep doing his thing
By GUY DIXON The Globe and Mail on Jun. 04 2012
As he bounds up at a press gathering for Toronto’s popular Worldwide Short Film Festival, which starts Tuesday, the comedian makes no bones about the fact he sees this as a launching pad – that his three recent comedic shorts were all made in preparation for a long feature to come. “I want to be like a funny John Cassavetes!” the former Kid in the Hall shout-speaks gleefully.
Over the past two years, Thompson has made his self-financed shorts with director Josh Levy and his brother and producer Robi Levy. The Levys have known Thompson for years. Josh was a production assistant on 1996 The Kids in the Hall movie Brain Candy, and Thompson and fellow Kid in the Hall Mark McKinney acted in Josh’s 1997 feature comedy Hayseed.
“I’m basically trying to get together a team,” Thompson says. “A director, producer, cinematographer, a musical director – I have all these people and they will work for free. For the next one, hopefully people will actually get paid!”
The first two – 52, about confronting aging; 4 Pounds, about an actor losing weight – showed at the short film festival last year and continue to play at other festivals.
“When it came time to do a follow-up, we decided to do something ambitious,” Josh Levy says.
Their latest, The Immigrant, was filmed in Los Angeles. It features a Michael Cera cameo and yet another ex-Kid in the Hall, Dave Foley. The story is a comedic send-up of the time Thompson lived in a rough section of the L.A. neighbourhood West Adams.
“I just do my thing! I got tired of auditioning. I know it wasn’t going to happen for me. So I decided a couple of years ago to make stuff,” Thompson says. “I was so spoiled with Kids in the Hall. It took me a long time to realize that that doesn’t happen every day. I’ve got to make it happen. So that’s what I’m doing now.”
Levy says the three shorts came at a good time for him, as well: “Basically, I’d been directing some reality television for a few years and music videos, and I was really determined to transition back to my first love, fiction filmmaking and comedy filmmaking. And Scott had just come out of his bout with cancer and some time off. So we were both at the point where we were looking to do something that was purely for the joy of filmmaking itself, and doing something that was fun.”
The feature script is still being written. Thompson says he hopes to start shooting next summer. But “this is a tough country to make stuff, and especially – ironically – funny stuff.”
The 2012 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival runs in Toronto from June 5 to 10 (worldwideshortfilmfest.com).