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Director Series: Jake Goldberger Explores Awkward New Love in Almost Friends

January 3, 2018 | By

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“I was in a coffee shop doing a screenwriting assignment. I had to do the first ten pages, but had writers block. A kid came in, and he had an amazingly awkward conversation with a girl behind the counter. I transcribed it and turned it into the first section of the script. My writing class really responded to it, so I decided to write it into a full script,” said writer/director Jake Goldberger about the idea behind his third feature film, Almost Friends.

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Almost Friends is the story of Charlie, a once a promising chef, now unmotivated and living at home with his mom. He gets hired as a movie theater assistant manager, meets his dream girl and his estranged father returns. This all occurs as he struggles to figure out who he wants to be. “These are imagined people, not autobiographical. I was fascinated with this character and the rest of the writing process went smoothly,” Goldberger noted. Upon finishing the script, Goldberger shopped the project around to financiers. He remembered producer, Alex Ginzberg, whom he met while doing press on one of his previous films and decided to pitch him. The timing was perfect: Ginzberg was interested and then the project was ready for the next step. Goldberger added, “It takes years and years (to get a film funded) and only if you are lucky.”

ALMOST FRIENDS_3_previewAfter sending financiers a long list of their dream cast, Goldberger knew that casting the lead was a make or break moment for the project. Freddie Highmore was his first choice, already a rising star from high profile roles in August Rush, The Spiderwick Chronicles and A Good Year plus starring roles in TV’s “Bates Motel”and the current hit show, “The Good Doctor.” Fortunately, he was interested and available. “I’ve always been a fan of Freddie and I knew he’d be perfect in this film. He got the project and was excited to be in it. We were obviously very lucky. He’s very talented and intelligent.” Rounding out the cast are Odeya Rush, Haley Joel Osment, Christopher Meloni and Jake Abel. “I saw Odeya Rush in The Giver and she was recommended by our casting director. We met for coffee and she understood the role.”

ALMOST FRIENDS_10_previewALMOST FRIENDS_4_previewThe film was shot in 18 days by director of photography, Jeremy Mackie, who made the leap to DP after a long history as an assistant DP and lighting technician on dozens of projects including, Twilight, Captain Fantastic, Green Room and Night Moves. “I’ve been a Jeremy Mackie fan – I had my eyes on his credits. I had heard positive things about him, so I reached out and he was great.” After shooting wrapped, the editing process began with Julia Garces whom Goldberger worked with before. Goldberger added, “We met on my last film and we hit it off, it was such a great experience. We had a short hand for working. I also thought it would be great to have a female influence. Her life experience influenced the edit.”

ALMOST FRIENDS_2_previewAn important element to any romance film is its music and the contributions by noted music supervisor, Gabe Hilfer (Suicide Squad, “Walking Dead,” The Disaster Artist) were plenty. Songs by indie stalwart Chris Staples, guitar wiz Kurt Vile and lo-fi legends Cloud Nothings and a score by prolific composer, Eric V. Hachikian set the stage for a glance at awkward love. “It was a real adventure getting this made and I’m genuinely hopeful people can get into a slice of life. I’m very proud of it.”Yves Marie Listening (1) ALMOST FRIENDS_12

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