Press/Photos: Tatiana for ‘Anthem’ Magazine

Tatiana was featured in Anthem magazine last week with Tom. Check out the article and photos below.

In Joey Klein’s impressionistic romance The Other Half, two combustible lives collide to spark fiery passion that’s just as easily extinguished in a series of preludes and aftermaths, and persistent loss and newfound love. The Canadian film marks Klein’s first feature out as writer and director.

Tatiana Maslany plays Emily, a mercurial woman with severe bipolar disorder, and Tom Cullen is Nickie, a morose hothead stunted by depression following the unexplained disappearance of his younger brother years ago. Emily first meets Nickie as he’s unloading unchecked fury onto a pesky patron at his day job. She intervenes, all googly-eyed. As luck would have it, Emily’s in one of her brief windows of stability. They quickly lose themselves in each other’s arms and find solace in their shared dysfunction. Still, Nickie tries to conceal his chronic melancholy and barely-corked rage under layers of bravado and macho posturing, while Emily cycles between wild buoyancy and terrifying manic episodes. Together, they clumsily clear a path towards something profound. In allowing this ill-fated duo to simply exist in their slow spiral towards possible stability—rather than hurtling them into a certain tragedy—Klein is sensitive to the incremental changes that come with fortifying love and the self-destructive demons we sometimes fight in order to maintain it.

The Other Half is a homegrown effort for Klein, modestly undertaken between close friends. It’s beautifully captured by DP Bobby Shore (Closet Monster, The Invitation), and skillfully performed by Cullen and Maslany whose real-life romance offscreen is unapologetically felt onscreen.

The Other Half opens in select theaters on March 10.

It’s been a long journey for The Other Half, if you consider that you, Joey, started developing ideas, I think, around ten years ago now. I know it has gone through quite an evolution since its first conception. Were there times when you thought it wouldn’t get made at all?

Joey Klein: Yeah, I think you have to be dedicated. And delusional. [Laughs] Also, I was fortunate enough to meet people who elevated me and made me better than I was. Somebody just asked [Tom and Tatiana] whether I wrote these parts for them, and while it’s true that I started writing before I knew them and before we all became close to our cinematographer Bobby [Shore], they really informed my process. They all helped with elements of the story and made it stronger. Once we were together, it made it easier for me to find the form and develop what it ended up being.

Things have gone chemically wrong for Nickie and Emily—Nickie with his PTSD and Emily with her bipolarity—yet they’re not entirely tragic characters. They find each other—“they don’t smell each other’s stink,” as you playfully put it in the past—and they push forward.

Tom Cullen: Thank you for saying that because that’s something we really believe in. This is a hopeful film. It’s about two people suffering and people slow to learn that other people are trying to save them. What I like about Nickie and Emily is that they’re not trying to save each other. They’re there to understand one another, without judgement. I find that really beautiful and very real.

These are unpredictable characters. For instance, Emily has a hysterical meltdown after going off her meds and Nickie will get into one of his scuffles on the account of his jealous rage. What did you find most compelling about your character on the page, Tatiana?

Tatiana Maslany: What I enjoyed so much about Emily is that she’s much more complicated than women with mental illness that I’m used to seeing in film. It’s a part of who she is, but it’s not cutesy or romanticized. It’s something real that she has to deal with on a day-to-day basis, which makes it difficult for her to relate to others. She finds a kindred spirit in Nickie. She recognizes something in him that he recognizes in her. It’s unspoken and goes beyond their traumas. Like Tom was saying, there’s an acceptance of the wholeness of a person, as opposed to a shiny veneer. We don’t run away after they reveal themselves to be more difficult than initially thought. Emily and Nickie are brought together by their complexity and what they go on to reveal to one another.

One of my favorite moments in the movie seems improvisatory: when Nickie and Emily take imaginary bullets. It’s very brief in the context of the whole film, but it leaves a strong impression. How much of what we see were found on set, as opposed to being written down?

Tatiana: We were pretty true to the script throughout, but Joey definitely allowed for us to go off in a lot of scenes and sort of find something, like a moment of levity or a moment of connection. Nickie playing the ukulele with Emily sitting on the sofa and improvising a song—that’s just play and a part of it, you know? Joey was really open to that and generous in giving us that space.

Tom: We only had sixteen days to shoot, so we had to be reasonably structured. Maybe if we had some more time we could’ve experimented more, but the script was really good so we stuck to it. Joey encouraged us to find little moments, little bits that came out organically within the structure.

Sixteen days seems like a mad rush toward the finish line. But you guys did it. You got a lot.

Tatiana: Oh yeah.

Could you tell me a little bit more as to what the collaboration looked like on set on any given day between the three of you, and also with your cinematographer Bobby Shore?

Tom: Bobby is an extraordinary cinematographer. His work is brilliant and his work on this film is just fantastic. I think it looks beautiful. What Bobby offers is immense commitment and generosity to the story, as if he was a third character. He was with us all the time and, with his team, it felt intensely collaborative. This was the most collaborative experience I’ve ever had on a set. Everybody, from the set decorators to the costume designer to the makeup artist and the camera department, was invested in telling this story together as a conglomerate of people. I feel like that translates onto the screen, even though we didn’t have a huge amount of time and we had to jump in really deep. It was heavy, raw work. I don’t think Tat and I felt unsafe to do that at any point. We felt supported. I feel that the real reason we were able to go so deep has got a lot to do with Joey who leads with a very egalitarian, smooth hand when he’s directing. It was a real pleasure. That’s the beauty of doing these small movies: It doesn’t feel out of your control and everyone has space.

Tatiana: It’s not just a machine.

Tom: There was a time near the end of the film where Tat’s having a really big break. It was a night shoot, it was the last scene we were doing, and we were right by a train line—everything was against us. Joey and Bobby had set up the shot, but I felt like Tat and I needed to get deeper into it. So I just got onto my knees and started talking to her as Emily, “You’re going to be okay,” and started the scene. There was still ten minutes before we were going to shoot and I felt like we really needed to stay it because it wasn’t something you can just drop into. Joey sort of noticed what was going on and said to Bobby, “Can we just change it now?” At the drop of a hat, Bobby changed the shot completely and shot it in a totally different way. That’s what the collaboration was like on this.

Tatiana: Even though it was night, the lighting set up a certain way, and everything was precious.

Tom: And working against time. That kind of collaboration where it’s in service of the work is something really rare. You’re often having to compromise your instincts, or yourself, for so many different variables. On this, it felt like the work was driving us. We were in service to that alone.

Joey, you’re also an actor. Directors often talk about how, if they do have that background, it’s easier to empathize with actors. They understand how scary it is to put yourself out there and know exactly what they’re asking of actors. Did that create a shorthand for you guys?

Tatiana: Absolutely! We’ve all acted and we all know what it’s like to be directed. We understand that world, that relationship, and that dynamic. Joey talked so much over the years about the way he wanted to work and the kind of work he wanted make. This is Joey’s first feature film.
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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.

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