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Stuck Between Stations: Brady Kiernan

The best night of your life happens at the worst possible time. Or at least that's the case for two lovers stuck in a quarter-life-crisis. Meet the director who explored this timely phenomenon and the youth in its grasp.

Stuck Between Stations

 

Tribeca: How do you describe Stuck Between Stations in your own words?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Stuck Between Stations is about how sometimes, the best night of your life happens at the worst possible time. It’s a glimpse into the beginning of a relationship between two damaged people in an imperfect moment, and how sometimes the way we present ourselves doesn’t always reflect the depth of our character.

 

Tribeca: What inspired you to tell this story? Did the script come to you fully formed, or were you involved in its development?

 

Brady Kiernan:
What appealed to me in this story was that I could immediately see who these characters were. We’ve all had nights where we meet someone and end up talking until the wee hours of the morning. What was different for me about this script was that it captured in a very real way how, in those moments, when you are developing that intimacy, you end up revealing things about yourself that you would not normally confess to a stranger.

 

The script came to me fully formed. Nat Bennett and Sam Rosen wrote it, and we ended up doing some substantial rewrites based on our rehearsals and due to the fact that we were dealing with some sensitive material. But overall the script is very close to what initially came to me.

 

Tribeca: Your film is set in Minnesota, which is not a world most film audiences know much about. Can you talk a bit about the regional filmmaking scene? Is there an active film community in Minneapolis?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Minneapolis has a great filmmaking scene, but we haven’t had a really high profile, breakout indie hit yet. There are some extremely talented people making features, short films and music videos, just waiting to break out. We’ve got great support from the IFP chapter up there, as well as the MN Film and TV Board. Like everywhere else, the recession has made it more difficult, but there is such an amazing support for the arts that there are still a lot of things going on. We have a lot of commercial production work there too, so that helps to pay the bills.

Tribeca: Stuck Between Stations touches on a lot of current issues, including the wars in the Middle East, 20-something ennui, etc. What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

 

Brady Kiernan:
That people are always more complicated and interesting than what you may superficially give them credit for, and that simple answers are rare.

 

Stuck Between Stations

 

Tribeca: Can you tell us a bit about your cast? The two leads are super appealing—and I understand Sam also co-wrote the script?

 

Brady Kiernan:
I met Sam a few years ago working on another indie film, and I immediately knew he was something special. He and Zoe [Lister Jones] have known each other for quite a while, and I had seen and admired her work. The chemistry they were able to build was something special, and they really carry the movie.

 

I think my most important job as a director is to protect the actors, give them a comfortable space to work in, and get out of the way. If you’ve done your job right in casting, it makes the rest of the process endlessly rewarding. That’s not to say it wasn’t challenging, but I really valued the fact that they had a different insight into the characters than I did, and I feel like the performances we came away with were stronger because of it. Above all else, we all had a commitment to the story, and I feel like that shows up on screen.

 

Sam is in an upcoming movie called The Oranges with a ridiculously good cast; Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, and Oliver Platt. Zoe and her partner Daryl Wein are getting ready to go into production on their new film Lola Versus. I anticipate good things for both of them in the coming years, and I feel privileged to have gotten to work with such extraordinary talent on my first feature.

 

Tribeca: What's the craziest thing (or "lightning strikes" moment) that happened during production? Something you just can’t believe happened—for better or worse?

 

Brady Kiernan:
I’d say when Michael [Imperioli] and Josh [Hartnett] agreed to participate. We knew that would help push our project onto the next level, and getting to work with actors of their caliber was a dream come true.

 

Also, participating in the IFP Narrative Lab was pretty amazing. If you are working on your first feature, circle their application deadline on your calendars, because it will give you insight and access that you will not be able to get on your own.

 

Tribeca: As a first-time filmmaker, what’s the biggest thing you learned while making Stuck Between Stations? Any big surprises, or was every day a moment of discovery?

 

Brady Kiernan:
I learned too many things to list here. I guess the overall lessons were surround yourself with people that you trust, be open to the opinions of your collaborators, make sure you are ready to take critiques and learn from them, and trust your instincts.

 

Stuck Between Stations

 

Tribeca: Any advice for aspiring filmmakers, now that you’ve made your first feature?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Don’t wait for anyone to give you anything, including respect. Go out and get it; no one is going to hand you anything.

 

Tribeca: What are your hopes for Stuck Between Stations at Tribeca?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Honestly, I am really excited for people to see the movie. I hope they like it, and that I get the opportunity to work with all of these people again.

 

Tribeca: If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Man, that would be a tough call. It’s between Sidney Lumet, Alan Pakula, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Michel Gondry, Christopher Nolan, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher and Jim Jarmusch. Couldn’t we have a potluck and invite them all?

Tribeca: Sure! What piece of art (book/film/music/tv show/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?

 

Brady Kiernan:
I’ve been forever infatuated with Edward Steichen’s photo collection, “The Family of Man.” It’s such a beautiful and epic project that encapsulates the idea that across gender, culture, race, and geography, we all share the common bond of humanity.

 

Tribeca: What would your biopic be called?

 

Brady Kiernan:
The Autobiography of Malcolm X. No, I’m kidding, I have no idea. Let me do some more interesting things first; I’ll get back to you.

 

Tribeca: What makes Stuck Between Stations a Tribeca must-see?

 

Brady Kiernan:
Honestly, the performances of Sam Rosen and Zoe Lister-Jones make this a must see. They are both stars on the rise. All of our actors are so phenomenal—Michael Imperioli and Josh Hartnett are in smaller supporting roles, but are so great and not what you’d expect of them.



Find out where and when Stuck Between Stations is playing at the Festival.

 

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Watch the trailer at Stuck Between Stations's Official Website.

 

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