I had the pleasure in watching Pacific Edge starring Barbara Bain & Ed Asner in a short film this past week. It’s about a young woman who is at a crossroads in her life and meets an elderly couple whom helps her find her way. For me, it was to love someone, lose a bit of it and love again. It was by fair the best love story I’d seen in many years. I caught up with Director Maggie Grant for an exclusive take. Here’s her view…
Q: How did the idea come about in working with Hollywood Royalty?
A: I am a very fortunate person who has been so fortunate to work with many fine actors. I have a theatre in Los Angeles Three Roses Players. I created a play festival called “The Writer Speaks” where I directed and produced 150 original one act plays from all over the world (I would read between 60-100 plays per month to choose between 6-8 plays for each month’s festival) I did all of this in only 23 months, I also acted in about 50 of them as well, yes some called me a little crazy BUT one has to be a little crazy to be in this business in the first place!
I needed a way to keep my audience there, a lot of times people come to see their friends’ plays and then they would leave. Sad but true. That happened ONCE. I then created a score card and the audience voted on the plays scoring them 1-10. The only way their ballots counted is if they voted on ALL of the plays and it worked! The audience stayed for the entire evening.
In 2009, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of making films. I decided that I would start with short films and those came from the highest scoring films in “The Writer Speaks” Festival. To date, I have made 10 films and 3 of them have been from the play festival. Pacific Edge was originally “Canyon’s Edge” written by Barbara Lindsay, and it was one of the highest scoring plays ever. That way I knew it would make a great film, LA audiences are tough…
I have had the pleasure of working with Barbara Bain directing her in 3 plays and 2 films. She is an amazing actress, person and what a trouper I love her like a second mother.
In 2012, we made a short film called MATCH MADE which started as a one act play at my theatre. It was written by Dale Griffiths Stamos. Barbara Bain and Robert Miano (Sonny Red in Donnie Brasco and countless other films) starred in that film and it did very well:
Winner Audience Award Best Film, Sedona Film Festival, Cinema At The Edge Film Festival Santa Monica, CA, Orange County Screening Society. It was officially selected for the Palm Springs ShortFest and Orange County Film Festval.
We beat Ed Asner’s film Good Men at The Cinema At The Edge Film Festival in 2013. Ed was at the festival and he came up to me to congratulate me on the film. And I said, “too bad Mr. Asner I sent this to you last year and you passed on it.” Ed punched his fist in the air and said “Dammit if I had known it was going to be this good, I would have rearranged my schedule and done it!”
Me thinking this is a dream come true, I grew up with my family NEVER missing The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Lou Grant, he is one of my favorite actors ever, and I thought when am I EVER going to get another opportunity like this??
And I blurted out with not a thought in my head about which script I could send him…” Well it just so happens Mr. Asner that I have a fantastic film for you and Barbara to star in together!”
(in my head I am thinking gees I hope I find something for them…heck I must have something for them right???)
And Ed said, “Send it to me and I will read it, I promise”
So I had my job cut out for me I went home and racked my brain and finally remembered Canyon’s Edge which I had done in January 2010 some three years before. You NEVER forget a good play nor a good actor.
I emailed it to Ed and the day we were screening Match Made at Palm Springs Short Fest I received the best email from Ed it said: “I would be honored to be in this film” WOW music to my eyes! I had to pinch myself!
And so the most amazing experience in my life, thus far was underway. Working with Ed, Barbara and the entire cast was the greatest experience and I cannot wait to do it again!
Q:What was their reaction when receiving the script?
A: After Barbara Lindsay and I worked on it together and Barbara adapted the screen play, I emailed it to Ed and Barbara and they loved it.
Q: Is this a personal story?
A: No it is not. BUT it became a very personal story for me. I lost my 97- year old Dad June 30, 2013. I came home from the funeral and the next day we had the first table read at Ed’s house of Pacific Edge. I had taken my Dad’s favorite Indiana Pacer’s cap home with me to LA. I asked Ed if he would honor my Dad and wear the cap in Pacific Edge and without hesitation he said “Absolutely!” So my Dad is with me every time I watch the film. This story reminds me so much of my parents 54 year 11 month relationship.
Q: At what point did it become a short and not a feature? I’m a hopeless romantic. A: (me too!! Is there any other way to be??)
It was written as a short, since it was a one act play. Though I have thought several times of making it a feature and who knows with how well it is doing as a short, you may get to see it as a feature one day!
Q:Will there be a feature film to Pacific Edge?
A:That is a definite possibility.
Q: What can we expect next from you?
A: I never stop. I love what I do and I think that is when things seem to work in your favor. When you do what you love. I have been in this business since I was 4 acting, modeling, singing, directing, writing and producing. I can’t imagine doing anything else, ever.
I am writing a feature for Barbara and Ed called “Sharks” it is a caper comedy and I am planning an all-star over 80 cast!
Between Barbara and Ed they know all of the actors I am dreaming of for that perfect world cast and I am hoping we are ready to start that film by the winter of ’15.
At this moment I have:
A Game Show I have created that I am working very hard to get made
A one hour Procedural Drama Series that I am also working very hard to get made
A one hour Rockumentary featuring Rock Stars, their music and their staying power that is close to getting made, which is very exciting!
An all star concert tour featuring some fantastic musicians from very well-known Rock Bands
A Rock Opera called In The Name Of Freedom created by Richie the drummer from the Band Sweet (Ballroom Blitz, Fox On The Run)
So I guess you could say I am very, very busy and loving every second of it.
To be able to touch hearts and move people either on stage or on the screen and have that “special communication” with people I may never meet in person, as well. It certainly makes the long, hard and many times solitary hours absolutely worth it!
Pacific Edge is the winner for Best Film, Audience Choice Award, Best Actor Ed Asner, Best Actress Barbara Bain earned at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. NYLA Film Festival NYC and LA BEST ACTOR ED ASNER.