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FLOWERS ARE FOR FUNERALS


By tomsoterwriting - Posted on 16 December 2011

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FLOWERS ARE FOR FUNERALS

Cast: CHRIS GRIGGS, TOM SINCLAIR, TOM SOTER, DAVE KENNEY, MIRIAM SIROTA, JACK MONTALVO, KRISSY GARBER, and EVAN JONES as Floyd. Screenplay by TOM SOTER and TOM SINCLAIR. Produced and edited by TOM SOTER. Main title theme by JORDAN SIWEK, performed by MIRIAM SIROTA. Directed by CHRISTIAN DOHERTY.

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Producer/co-star TOM SOTER reflects on the movie:

There we were again – Tom Sinclair, Evan Jones, and I – getting instructions from director Christian Doherty as he stood talking to us about the next scene we were about to shoot.

“I want you all to look terrified – raise your arms above your heads in horror because you know this guy is the toughest, baddest dude around! Then, turn and run. And you, Henry,” he said addressing the star of the movie, “you look confident. Smile knowingly.”

“It doesn’t make sense,” I said to Sinclair. “Why would we stalk him and then run in terror when he turns and looks at us? How menacing does that make us?”

“This is an Apar film,” Sinclair said to me quietly. “What does logic have to do with it?”

It was like old times – 40 years ago this September to be exact – when Tom Sinclair and I (Evan Jones joined us in 1972) faced off against superspy HenrySorelli in Wishing You Were Dead, the first of six action movies starring AlanSaly as Sorelli. (The other five were Gun for Henrty, Blue (I Am Invisible), We Have All the Time in the World, The Man With the Golden Bullet, and Don’t Live for Tomorrow.)

In a way we were fulfilling a promise made to any fans of the movies when the last Sorelli picture closed with a title card that said our superspy would be back in Flowers Are for Funerals.

But that was then and when you’re 16 or 17, it’s a lot easier to mount a low-budget film than when you’re 53 or 54.

The reunion had its roots in the release of the original films (and re-edited versions creating a new 10-part plotline) on YouTube, where they developed a new fan base (much larger than their original screenings in high school auditoriums). That led to the production of my documentary, A Chase, A Gun, and Sometimes a Girl: The Apar Films Story. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYY63MZL5sc&feature=channel_video_title

Although Christian had not made a movie since 1975, he returned to filmmaking in 2010 with a dramatic story that was all-talk and no violence, Is This Love?­(starring Laurel Sturrock and Apar veteran Evan Jones). That was followed by four short Eric Rohmer-stylecomedies (that were re-edited into the 70-minute film, The Hugh Chronicles.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEHkwskKa6s).

Through it all, Doherty regained is confidence as a filmmaker. But while the director was photographing love stories, he seemed to long for a return to form. He talked to me about action movies and jumped at the chance to remake his 1972 horror flick, The Place.  Although the movie was not wholly successful artistically, we did learn a valuable lesson. We tried to do too much shooting a movie in one day when it would be better off done in three or four.

That brings us to Flowers Are for Funerals. Back in February or March, when Saly, Sinclair, Doherty, and I were together, I raised the possibility of doing another Henry movie. At first, it was treated as a big joke – the three of us would try to get out of our chairs to face off, but had become too old and fat to do any damage (we would just make threats). Another Henry movie! You must be joking!

Later, Sinclair and I were talking about the current political scene, especially Facebook comments by Apar associate Jack Montalvo. A“birther,” he went on in a long tirade about President Obama not being born in this country. That led Sinclair to suggest we do a political thriller, and he even had the name of the villain, The Super Patriot (never mind that Marvel Comics had a thriller with that name some years ago). He then wrote a scene in which the Super Patriot garots a young liberal named Stinky Greene, who is offering him that liberal magazine, PIG.  (That was later changed to death by lethal flowers.)

 

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Inspired by this, I wrote out a treatment involving Henry’s battle against the SP and also Dr. Life and Dr. Death, fromThe Man With the Golden Bulletand Floyd from Don’t Live for Tomorrow. Great! Except Alan Saly wanted nothing to do with his former alter-ego.

Unphased, I reworked the treatment to make the hero, Henry SorelliJr.,  fighting his father’s old foes, as well as the Super Patriot. Then Sinclair and I chose scenes from the treatment and worked them up into a script. We also had a subplot in which HerryJr. is searching for his missing dad.

For the new Henry Sorelli, Doherty and I chose Chris Griggs, who had been successful as the anti-hero in The HughChronicles.We reassembled many of the old cast and added some faces from the new Apar stock company­ ­­– Dave Kenney as the Super Patriot, Krissy Garber, Amy Bettina, Lawrence Cioppa – and some new faces to the Apar world ­–JessAnn Smith, Miriam Sirota, Jack Montalvo, AlanBraunstein, Jordan Siwek, and Frank Lovece. There may even be a cameo by a former big Apar star. 

We have been doing the movie at a leisurely pace, starting production, appropriately enough, on July 4, 2011. The movie is now about halfway done, and we’re very pleased with the results so far.  We hope you enjoy it when it is released later this year. Until then, you can check out the preview currently running on YouTube.