Movie of the Week: ‘Jelly’ Wonders Why Life Isn’t Like a John Hughes Movie

The Fancast Movie of the Week is Jelly, which strives to answer the question of what happens to people of a certain age who are still wondering why their lives didn’t turn out like a John Hughes movie. The film stars producer/screenwriter Sarah Louise Wilson as Jelly, a young L.A. woman pondering that painful realization after a terrible break-up with Luke, the man she thought was the love of her life who is now marrying somebody else. Her response to this trauma and that eternal search for her happy movie-script ending is to become a being of pure emotion, throwing herself into her efforts to try to win Luke back – which, of course, drives the man she doesn’t realize she really loves into the arms of her friend. The film also stars John Boyd, Natasha Lyonne, Hayley Marie Norman, Reginald VelJohnson and Ed McMahon.

Why should you watch? Wilson’s answer to that question is simple. “As a lover of cinema I always am looking for films that can be my nightcap. When we made Jelly this is really what we wanted people to experience. A good film that they could curl up with at the end of the day… or mid-afternoon, depending on your work schedule.” So watch Jelly right here, and come back for the rest of the interview with its star, Sarah Louise Wilson.

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Q. What was it about John Hughes that inspired this film?  Are the events in this story autobiographical at all?
Sarah Louise Wilson: I grew up watching John Hughes and loved his voice as a storyteller.  He seemed to know how to translate love and teen angst in a way that very few people can.  He’s my J.D. Salinger.  There are some things pulled from my life i.e. a terrible break-up and being left on the side of the road.  I also have a tendency to look for love in the strangest places… just like Jelly.  Sometimes love is right in front of you like in ALL John Hughes movies. 

Q. How did the project come together?  Was it difficult to get this film off the ground and into production?  What were the major challenges?
Sarah Louise Wilson: Mercedes LeAnza and I met serving coffee at a post production house in Los Angeles, California.  We were both actors out of theatre school ( her younger than me:)) I was the writer and she was the savvy business woman who had owned her own clothing company before most people had figured out how to buy their first car.  Needless to say we combined forces and started our own production company, Stella Bella Productions,LLC.  From our first conversations about how we should make a movie to it actually happening, i.e. oodles of money being raised, cast, crew, crash diets, was about was about 1yr.  The major challenges we faced were getting people to believe in first time female filmmakers and of course money money money money money money…other than that it was pretty easy.    

Q.  How was the casting process?  Any surprises in the cast you finally got together?
Sarah Louise Wilson: The casting process was wonderful due entirely to Gene Vassilaros who was the head casting director…the only casting director on the film.  A one man army he is.  He asked us who we wanted and then he went after them.  He believed in us.  It was because of him that we got Natasha Lyonne, who is a dynamo!  I am a Natasha FAN. She is so talented.  Acting with her made me a better actor.  She’s the real thing.  Gene went for some big fish…we will love him eternally for that.  Also Reginald VelJohnson…my dad in the film.  What a wonderful actor.  All of the actors…Floyd, John Boyd, who just did 24 episodes of 24 is an incredible talent.  Lets not forget heartthrob Steve Talley, who has, it seems, the entire country of Turkey following him.  Anyway we were lucky for sure to get such a wonderful casting director.  I feel like everyone in the film was perfectly cast.   

Q.  Any memorable moments on set?
Sarah Louise Wilson: I can say one of the most memorable moments for me was working with the legend Ed McMahon.  He was funny, smart and wondered why he was the only man Jelly interacted with who didn’t get to make-out with her.  Very funny man.  I also discovered how he kept his energy up so high…eating M&M between takes and drinking copious amounts of diet coke.   

Q.  Are there any particular scenes you like the best, or that you’d like audiences to really take note of?
Sarah Louise Wilson: All of them….seriously all of them. 

Q. How about any scenes that were particularly challenging to shoot?
Sarah Louise Wilson: All of them….seriously all of them. 

Q.  What would you say is the overall message you’d like people to take away from the film?
Sarah Louise Wilson: Every girl has a Floyd, so for the love of god give the nice guy a chance.  Let Ducky finally get the girl. 

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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