‘Multiple Sarcasms’ Marks Former Entertainment Exec’s First Film4 Aug, 2010 By: Billy Gil
Image Entertainment’s Aug. 10 release of Multiple Sarcasms (DVD $27.98, BD $29.98) sees former Paramount executive Brooks Branch make his screenwriting and directorial debut.
The former licensing executive managed to corral a cast of celebrated actors for his first film. Multiple Sarcasms stars Oscar winners Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People) and Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) alongside Emmy winner Dana Delany, India Ennenga, Mario Van Peebles and Stockard Channing.
“It’s such a character study that I knew the cast … had to be able to pull of that nuance and intimacy,” Branch said. “With the group that I ended up getting, the script spoke to them.”
The film concerns a middle-aged architect (Hutton) who, unhappy with his life, decides to write a play about it, examining the relationships in his life, with his wife (Delany), daughter (Ennenga) and best friend (Sorvino).
Branch said despite the 20 years he spent in the entertainment industry, he’s grown up an artist his whole life — first as a painter, then a graphic designer, then a creative director. He was never really a “suit,” he said.
“When a filmmaker was working on a film, I was always the one at the studio who could speak the language of the directors,” he said.
Branch said he grew up a student of film and a writer, and would direct in his career when there wasn’t a budget to hire a director. As he wrote Multiple Sarcasms, Branch said he felt like he should direct it as well.
The film is an homage to the quirky dramatic comedies of the 1970s (during which this film is set), using films by such directors as Woody Allen and Hal Ashby as inspiration. Strangely enough, the star of one of the films (Ordinary People) that inspired Multiple Sarcasms came to star in it.
“It didn’t really occur to me to think of him,” Branch said. “It was brought up as an idea early on and just sort of sat with me. It felt like an idea that was really right.”
Despites his history as a licensing executive, for the DVD and Blu-ray release of his film, Branch said he didn’t want to get too gimmicky.
“I didn’t want to over-merchandise this thing,” he said.
The low-frills releases include a making-of featurette with cast and crew interviews that Branch said are more low-key and real than ones typically seen on home video. The discs also have deleted scenes that include more comedic scenes than those included in the film.
“It’s a drama, but there are a lot of quirky, funny parts,” he said. “In the edit room, we really focused on the drama.”
The film saw a limited theatrical release, and screenings and events will be announced in the coming weeks to promote the home video release.