While big budget Hollywood blockbusters can afford to shoot for months on end, scheduling for smaller independent movies is a bit trickier. Due to various resource issues and conflicts, productions can be a whole lot thornier as filmmakers and actors work with the time they have to try and make the best product possible. This was a particular challenge in the making of the new film Frank & Lola, which actually split its schedule into two halves. Fortunately, this wound up working out for the movie, but it did have the side effect of frightening star Michael Shannon - who was legitimately concerned he wouldn't be able to ease back into his character after stepping away from it for nearly two months.
With Frank & Lola now in select theaters and available on Digital HD and On Demand, I recently had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Michael Shannon to talk about his part in the movie -- and one of the subjects we discussed the production's awkward split schedule. Given the impressive number of films Shannon has been in this year, I asked him if there were times that he found himself playing multiple roles at once -- and while he told me he was never really bouncing around, Frank & Lola did have a five-to-six week break between filming sequences in Las Vegas, Nevada and Paris, France. Said Shannon,
We started Frank & Lola, we shot it in Vegas, and then I went and did Elvis and Nixon in New Orleans, and then I went back and did the Paris section of Frank & Lola, so that's probably the craziest thing I did.
As you would expect, this wasn't exactly the easiest transition for Michael Shannon, as the two projects really couldn't be more different (there aren't too many similarities between Frank, a talented chef working in Las Vegas, and the legendary Elvis Presley). Fortunately, what ultimately allowed it all to work was just the fact that Shannon felt connected to his part in Frank & Lola, and when he came back to the film he fell back into the part unexpectedly easily. Shannon explained,
I was surprised honestly, when I went to Paris, how easily Frank's story came back to me. I was frightened. I thought that maybe I wouldn't be able to do it, but I guess it's just because the story itself made so much sense to me that it was just easy.
The best news is that it shows in the finished product as well. In Frank & Lola - from writer/director Matthew Ross - both Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots put on impressively emotional and powerful performances as they navigate the waters of the dark romantic drama, and it's their turns that really drive the film. You'd never guess that there was a two month break in the middle of production, so it was legitimately surprising to learn there was one.
As mentioned above, Frank & Lola is now out in limited release, on demand, and Digital HD, and if you're a big Michael Shannon fan, we recommend checking it out.