Press: SXSW Film ‘The Other Half,’ Starring Tatiana Maslany, to Get U.S. Release

“The Other Half,” the indie drama that premiered at SXSW last year, has been picked up by distributor Brainstorm Media for release in U.S. theaters in March. Director and writer Joey Klein’s love story earned a strong review from Variety in its festival bow in 2016.

The storyline centers on a grieving young man, played by Tom Cullen (“Downton Abbey”), and his budding relationship with Emily, an artist depicted by “Orphan Black” star and Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany. Over the course of the film, Emily’s bipolar disorder brings trauma and tension to the already-precarious union.

“This film was a standout for us at SXSW, with such beautiful and intimate performances,” said Brainstorm Media president Meyer Shwarzstein. The distribution company will coordinate the U.S. release in theaters and on video-on-demand, both set for March 10.

Jonathan Bronfman from JoBro Productions and Nicole Hilliard-Forde and Joey Klein from Motel Pictures produced the film while JayJay Firestone, CEO of Prodigy Pictures, executive produced. Cullen and Maslany are also on the film’s team of executive producers.

Press: Interview – Joey Klein on The Other Half

We very lucky to get a chance to speak with Joey Klein, an actor and now writer and director of the powerful and challenging film The Other Half, which first debuted at SXSW, opened the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival in November, and is now playing in select theatres from Mongrel Media. It was especially special for Klein for the press day to take place at the Gladstone Hotel, a place where his parents stayed years ago. Klein was very generous with his time, and his praise for co-stars, and real-life couple, Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, who deliver searing performances in the film.

The following are excerpts from the lengthy interview that occurred.

Scene Creek: (gestures to poster) Are Maslany and Cullen your other half(ves)?
Joey Klein: Guess so, I mean, I’ve known them now for a while. But all because of this, I mean, I met her on an acting job, and someone said “check out Grown Up Movie Star“, and as soon as I saw it, I offered her this. We did my first BravoFACT together, and she started dating Tom around that time. I was as obsessed with him from his work on Weekend and I wrote a role for him anyways, it made sense as it was someone who fled where he was from. So by the time we made the film, we were all really close, but we kind of got to know each other through trying to make it, hoping to make it. I started writing something that became this years and years ago. She was attached four and a half, five years and he was attached two, two and and a half years. Bobby Shore, the D.P., was attached even before Tat. Nicole Hilliard-Forde really picked it up and carried it on her own for a while and was really the force behind getting it made. Jonathan Bronfman, if I can use a baseball analogy, was sort of the star reliever in seeing it through to production.

I’m developing a revenge movie hopefully with these cats, if we all get on the same page together, I mean, we will, but first it’s got to get on the page.

SC: There is heavy subject matter in this film, but it is also hopeful.
JK: This is not an autobiographical movie, but it is a personal movie. Yes, I wrote from a point of experience and a point of knowing a lot of this stuff, but I want to represent what grief over time is like and to look at what is true to me about the grace of two very sick people finding themselves these days. I wanted to be as respectful to the subject as I could, and I wanted to do it in a way that I could explore realistic hope. I appreciate you bringing up the hope aspect of it because I think there’s true hope in it. I want to put some love back in the world and I will do it any way that I can.

SC: What would you like an audience to get out of this film?
JK: My favourite films have saved my life a little bit, and I just hope that this film stands for something for anyone who unfortunately does know at all about this, and for anyone who is older than twelve, you’ve gone through something, maybe that you shouldn’t have.
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Press: The Other Half is Coming to Theatres Across Canada

Great news everyone! I will plan to see the film as soon as I can when it’s available for me. How about you?!

We are so excited to announce The Other Half’s theatrical release date across Canada will be:
December 2nd, 2016.

Mark it in your calendar, tell your friends and go see this incredible film.

For those of you in Toronto, go see it at the Cineplex Studios at Yonge & Dundas.
Click here for more info.

For those of you in Vancouver, go see it at the International Village.
Click here for more info.

For those of you in the States, stay tuned. It is scheduled to be released in early 2017.

We are grateful to all of your support along the way and are excited to share this heartfelt story with all of you.

Press: Tatiana Maslany on Movie Role With Boyfriend Tom Cullen: “It Was Very Kinky Role-Playing”

The Emmy-winning ‘Orphan Black’ star says co-starring in ‘The Other Half,’ an anguished relationship drama, with her real-life beau called for falling in love all over again.
Tatiana Maslany says her latest movie is a complete 180-degree turn from her Emmy-winning TV role in the Orphan Black.

The Canadian star has been falling in love on and offscreen with real-life boyfriend Tom Cullen, with whom she stars in the anguished relationship drama The Other Half. “We got to fall in love again, we got to meet each other for the first time. It was very kinky role-playing,” Maslany told a Vancouver Film Festival audience on Saturday.

The indie by director Joey Klein has Maslany playing Emily, a bipolar woman falling in love with Nickie (Cullen), a grief-stricken man. “Through the characters, we got to explore these firsts again, including falling in love, and it didn’t feel like we were grasping from stuff we’d experienced together. It was a different courtship, and a finding of each other,” Maslany explained.

The Canadian actress was first nominated at the 2015 Emmys for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in Orphan Black, now set for its fifth and final season on BBC America. But Maslany had to wait for her second nomination to prevail in the category.

“I feel like the Clone Club was the reason any of that happened, and the reason anyone cared,” Maslany said of loyal Orphan Black fan support stirring eventual interest by Emmy voters in her playing multiple clones in the BBC American drama.

Here’s a shocker: the Emmy-winner is these days mostly offered clone roles by Hollywood that don’t interest Maslany. “I get a lot of, do you want to play multiple characters on this thing? No,” the Canadian actress said Saturday.

As she chooses her next roles after her Emmy, Maslany is also betraying tiredness at having to go to a deep, emotional place on screen. Maslany co-starred alongside The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star Dane DeHaan in the indie romancer Two Lovers and a Bear, and played opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in David Gordon Green’s Boston Marathon bombing drama movie Stronger.

“The roles I’ve played recently have been highly emotional and that’s kind of what people are asking me to do. And that’s the kind of roles I like to do,” she said. “But I’d like to try to be the reporter,” Maslany added wistfully about shifting to a less demanding character.

And, recalling playing a love interest for Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford in NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Maslany insists she’d also revel in a comedy or two. “I was peeing my pants there… working opposite Aziz Ansari. I was just terrified,” she said, as she declared comic actors geniuses on screen.

And speaking of fear, Maslany said her next role may well, like the dozen characters she plays in Orphan Black, fill her with the dread that keeps her in the acting game. “I have a lot of fear when I go to work. But why else am I doing it? If I feel comfortable, or it’s easy, I don’t care. I like being thrown into a situation where I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Maslany said.
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Press: Tatiana Maslany And Tom Cullen On Being In Love On And Off Screen

A conversation with the stars of ‘The Other Half’

In The Other Half, a bracingly vérité romantic drama, real-life couple Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen star as two lost souls who find each other and must deal with the aftermath—for better and worse—of such an intense collision. Cullen’s Nickie masks an all-consuming grief with a tough-guy exterior, while Maslany’s Emily, an aspiring painter, suffers from bipolar disorder. How these two come together and try to build something lasting and real, is the movie’s heartbeat. To make the film, with first-time director Joey Klein, both Cullen and Maslany took time in between their busy TV schedules (she as the star of Orphan Black, he as part of the Downton Abbey ensemble) to co-executive produce and help refine the film’s script alongside Klein. And as two people who spend most of their relationship apart, they relished the time working together. We recently caught up with the couple at SXSW, where The Other Half premiered to great acclaim, to discuss their movie’s complicated love story, falling in love IRL, and balancing a personal relationship with a working one.

This is a passion project for both of you. How long have you been involved with it?

Tatiana Maslany: For like five years and Joey, the director, has been writing it for ten. It was a long time coming, and a lot of different tryouts and versions of it.
Tom Cullen: I think as Joey’s gotten to know us better as very good friends, he’s changed the script, too.

How did you meet Joey?
TM: I met Joey working on a movie. We were both acting in it. We just got to talking on set one day about acting, and about work and art, and we really bonded. Then he offered me to read the script, to see what I thought about it, and he’d seen some of my work and he’d seen Tom’s work. Tom and I had just started dating about that time.

Were you guys friends first or did you guys fall into it fast like your characters?
TC: It was pretty fast, wasn’t it?
TM: Yeah. We were living in Budapest [Hungary] for like six months for our TV series, so we had a lot of time to just bond and see the city together.
TC: Yeah, it was a very romantic six months.
TM: We went to music festivals and went dancing.

You’re saying the script changed after you guys came onboard. Can you tell me a little bit about that process of working with Joey and really informing the characters of the script?
TM: Anything we thought, anything we felt, anything we wanted to go deeper with or change or alter or explore differently, he was so up for it. He’s the most legalist director I’ve ever worked with, in terms of allowing for shifts and giving over trust and control to other people and taking on new ideas. Yet he has a very specific vision.
TC: Yeah. I think the more that he got to know us, the more he wanted to push us as actors and to see what our extremities were.

In what way did he push you?
TC: He pushed it in the story. He created two really complex characters, quite dark characters, troubled characters, and also, there’s this fire in both of them. I think in that way, he wanted to see every facet of human emotion, and I think that he really wanted to see us move through that. It was fun. We shot the film in 16 days, and it was a real fast ride where we just jumped in headfirst. It was a thrilling experience.
TM: I got to work opposite Tom, who inspires me and riles me up and knows me so well, so I feel safe. There was a lot of trust in play. I think you can overanalyze it too much, and these two characters were so burdened and so heavy, but I think we all have that in us, it’s just acknowledging it. It’s acknowledging that our emotional life is vast and it’s always there at the surface. We all have really good poker faces, but we’re all feeling a shitload of things and we’re all scared, and we’re all searching for love and acceptance and somebody to go [to]. “I see you and I love what I see.” You know what I mean? I think it’s an easy thing, but at the same time key. It’s very universal.

Tom, tell me about Nicky’s look in the film. The ’50s shirts—why don’t men dress like that more often?
TM: Exactly.
TC: I wish I had the gall to dress like that!

You should do it.
TC: That’s how I wanted to dress I think.
TM: You still have those shirts…
TC: I do, yeah. That was a really specific choice because he’s lost his brother in such awful circumstances, where there’s no reason why it’s happened. There’s nobody. There’s no conviction. He’s just gone, disappeared. I lost a friend this year. I remember the feeling of waking up the next day and getting into the tube in London and being so angry at everyone for not understanding that somebody had died. They didn’t know how amazing that person was. For Nickie, he has paused and is stuck in that place. He has become completely disillusioned with the world. He sees it as this fake, unjust place, and he wants to reject it. He’s dressing a certain way just to fuck [with] you. Don’t come anywhere near me, don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, I’m different, I’m hard, and I will destroy you. Of course, underneath all that, he’s just a little boy who needs saving and help. I looked a lot at ’50s London—both anti-establishment, but renegade by generations, fighting against something. The rock and roll that’s coming out of the second world war. Punk rockers in the U.K. rebelling against bachelorism and capitalism.

Is their relationship saving them, or is the relationship actually hurting them because they have not had the time to deal with their issues?
TC: Really good question.
TM: I think that’s exactly the kind of thing that we’d want people to question and wonder about. I like the idea that Emily and Nicky feel like a destined relationship and at the same time so dangerous. From the outside, they look like the worst enablers of each other, and yet at the same time the best.
TC: They’re the only people who get each other.
TM: Yeah, they get each other, and yet they also push each others’ buttons, but they can also defuse each other. There’s something really volatile about the two of them.
TC: I think the reason they fall in love is because they recognize something in each other that satisfies something inside themselves. For Nicky, he meets somebody that gets him. He sees a level of pain, but understands and is patient with her, and she brings out something in him that he thought was missing.

Since you were working together while maintaining a relationship offscreen, did you make it a point to spend some time apart?
TC: I mean, we always have fun. We’re best friends, it’s very respectful, and I think we’re very good at getting each other.
TM: We’re long-distance so we get a lot of alone time in there. Like when we don’t have a lot of time, we freak out.
TC: Alone time sucks. I don’t want any alone time!
TM: We have lots of time apart, and we’re both very independent people and working and doing our thing, and really support each other in that. At the same time, we really need time together and make sure that that’s a priority, too, because I think in this industry specifically, it can become the only important thing.

Are you guys going to work together again?
TM: Definitely.
TC: Oh, definitely.
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Press/Video: ‘Orphan Black’ Star Tatiana Maslany on Playing Multiple Clones

Most actors play just one character at a time, but Tatiana Maslany has played nearly a dozen roles on the BBC America show “Orphan Black.”

“There’s a lot of ‘How do you keep it straight in your mind? How do you differentiate these people? How do you become different people?'” Maslany, 30, told Peter Travers on ABC News’ “Popcorn With Peter Travers.”

The show follows clones who discover one another and search for their identity and for their origins. Maslany, who has played an array of clones, including a Ukrainian assassin, a suburban housewife, a drug-using cop and a transgender man, credits a team of people for helping her portray each character.

“The hair and makeup team are incredibly creatively collaborative with me. And we’ve created these characters together, you know, along with the writers and showrunners, but also I have a dialect coach who helps me get into the voices,” Maslany said. “And then I have my acting double, who plays all the clones opposite me when I do. Her name’s Kathryn Alexandre, and she’s an amazing actor and does the most selfless, generous job on the planet, because she’s never seen.”

Though undertaking the complicated gig was initially daunting for her, Maslany said it’s fun getting to play so many characters.

“I think, for me, it’s the most natural thing an actor can do, is transform like this. I think that’s we’re born to do,” she said. “At least the people I admire and the people I work with, we are thrilled to get to transform, and we’re excited by that challenge.”

Maslany, from Regina, Saskatchewan, also has her improvisation background to thank. Before she moved to Toronto to pursue an acting career, she worked in theater and television as a child. Improvisation helps her on “Orphan Black,” she said, “in terms of character relationship and just story of in-the-moment building of a character … We’re really lucky. We really just are allowed to play [but] always within the scene.”

She said that when she’s not working on the show, she eagerly jumps into new roles.

“I definitely have to, like, shed the characters and the kinetic sort of nature of the show after I wrap,” she said. “But the last two seasons, I went straight to a film right after, so I kind of dove into another world.”

“That’s a nice reset to be thrown into something different,” she added.

Maslany recently starred in the film “The Other Half,” in which she plays a woman with bipolar disorder opposite her real-life boyfriend, Tom Cullen, who played Lord Anthony Gillingham on “Downton Abbey.”

“That’s the story of two very kind of damaged people who come together because they see something in each other that is resonant and they kind of can see themselves inside each other,” she said.

She added that Cullen is “a really interesting actor. He can kind of play so many different notes and so many different characters.”

He has also her advice and support for “Orphan Black,” Maslany said. “First season, I was in such a terrified panic. We’d have, like, three-hour phone calls where I’d just be like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. Help me’ — you know, with the accent, with this, with that … It’s great to have someone like that to collaborate with.”

And though she’s been nominated for a best actress Emmy for the show, she said she doesn’t think she’ll ever be content with her performance in any role.

“The first episode of season one … I’d been dreaming of this script for so long, and I pictured that opening sequence over and over in my head, then I got the part and got to stand on that train platform and do the scene, and it was, like, freezing cold, and I was looking at Kathryn, and there was something about being in someone else’s shoes, like, mind-blowing,” she said.

“I don’t know that I’m satisfied with any part I’ve ever done, but there was a real satisfaction in just being there in that image that I’d dreamed about for so long.”

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW
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Screencaps will be added later tonight.

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