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Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM

Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM

Actor, Producer, Director Tom Malloy is a critically acclaimed actor, initially known for his indie-cult favorite Gravesend (1998), produced by Oliver Stone. Malloy became a trendsetter as one of the first successful triple-hyphenate Actor/Writer/Producers. Later, Malloy starred in the thriller Trauma Therapy (2019). Prior to that, Malloy starred in the found footage horror/thriller #Screamers (2016). Additional feature credits include: Fair Haven (2016), directed by Kerstin Karlhuber; Ashley (2013), directed by Dean Ronalds; Love N' Dancing (2009), directed by Rob Iscove, starring Amy Smart, Malloy, Billy Zane, Rachel Dratch, and Betty White; the psychological thriller The Alphabet Killer (2008), directed by Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn) starring Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Malloy, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside, and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo; and The Attic (2007), a thriller directed by Mary Lambert, starring Elisabeth Moss and Malloy.

Malloy's latest film Ask Me to Dance (2022) adds another talent to his list as a pro dancer alongside Step Up actress and dancer Briana Evigan. Showing his audiences there is no limit to his talents, this electrifying romantic comedy makes the viewer laugh out loud while wanting to get up and dance.

In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Malloy is an accomplished author whose book Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films was considered the "gold standard" of indie film financing instruction. Currently, he works as president of renowned sales company Glass House Distribution, which he co-founded with Bryan Glass. He also co-owns the filmmaking instructional site www.filmmakingstuffhq.com.

 

In a recent interview with Tom about his newly released film “Ask Me to Dance”.

You are an actor, producer and writer. Can you tell us what came first and did you always know you wanted to work in film?

MALLOY: My career started in 1997 as an actor. I had done a film called Gravesend that we shot on the streets of Brooklyn and improvised all the dialogue. At the end of the film, we got Oliver Stone to put his name on it and it got in theatres. I thought that would be the start of my acting career and that I would never have to work in any other job again. But the bottom line is, when it didn't make me an overnight sensation, I started learning every other aspect of the business. Writing and producing started becoming a means to an end. I got really good at them early on and kind of trail blazed the whole triple hyphenate role: actor, writer, producer. Last year I added "director" to that role, so now I am a quadruple hyphenate.

 

Can you tell us about some of your previous films? Do you have a film that you are most proud of?

MALLOY: I have produced 20 films as of now. As a writer, I've written 30+ screenplays and I've optionioned, sold, or made into movies 25 of those screenplays. As far as a film that I'm most proud of, I would say there are two. The first would be The Attic (2007), which was the first professional film that I got going. It was directed by Mary Lambert, who directed Pet Semetery (1989) and it starred Elizabeth Moss and myself, as well as Alexandra Daddario in her first movie. The second film that I'm super proud of is Ask Me to Dance (2022) because that was my directorial debut and that just came out to theatres last month.

 

Can you tell us about Ask Me to Dance (2022) without revealing too much?

MALLOY: Ask Me to Dance is basically a dating comedy. I had made a film called Love N’ Dancing in 2009. It was a dance film and romantic comedy, but I didn't direct it. I wrote it and I produced it, but it wasn't exactly my vision. With Ask Me to Dance I wanted to make a really funny dating comedy that had some great dancing in it, so that's basically what it is. There are two-star crossed lovers that go on a series of horrible dates and finally end up meeting pretty much at the end of the film.

 

What inspired you to tell this story? 

MALLOY: I was inspired to tell the story because I felt that there were only two types of dance films that were made in the past. One type is: rich guy meets rich gal, or poor guy meets poor gal, learns how to dance and it changes their life. The other type is there’s a place closing and they're going to put on a dance show to save that place. So I thought, let me do something different. So I just made a really laugh out loud funny dating comedy set in a world where everybody can dance well. There are some great dance numbers, but mostly it's just a really funny dating movie.

 

How did you go about casting the film and how long did it take you to make? 

MALLOY: I really wanted to find someone to play the lead role of Jill that had dance experience. Briana Evigan was the star of the Step Up Franchise opposite Channing Tatum, so I knew she could dance. What I didn’t know is that she was also very funny! At first, I knew that it would be super easy to teach someone like that West Coast Swing, which is the dance style that we used in the movie. As far as myself (I play Jack), initially all I wanted to do was direct the film. I wasn't even considering playing the lead role. I knew that I could because I've acted in over thirty movies and I've been doing comedy my whole life. Plus, I've been dancing for over twenty years. I knew I was right for the role, but I was hoping to get a big star. But once we had Briana Evigan and Mario Cantone, we just didn't have the budget to afford a big star. So I was the one that would work for nothing who could pull it off.

 

Can you give us an anecdote or a favorite moment you had while making the film?

MALLOY: I would say the final dance number was great because we had worked so hard on it and we finally nailed it. It was choreographed by Robert Royston, the eight time US Open Swing Dance champion, and Briana and I hit every beat that we wanted to. The other thing I really loved was having my 14 year-old son Tyler on set every day. He worked in the art department, so it was great to go to the set in the morning. We would go our separate ways and I would see him working in the background. That was super fun for me.

 

How have audience reactions been for the film and how can people see it?

MALLOY: Audience reactions for the film have been incredible. This is the best reviewed film that I have ever made, which feels great because it's the first film that I've directed. One reviewer called it the funniest and sweetest film since Love, Actually (2003) which is one of my favorite films of all time. That made me feel so great.

 

Aside from being a multi-talented filmmaker, you own a sales company. Can you explain to the layman, how does your company Glass House Distribution work?

MALLOY: Glass House Distribution is a film sales and distribution company that I started about six years ago. The company was started by myself and Bryan Glass. So that's where the “Glass” comes from, but now it has a double meaning. It also means a “Glass House.” You can look and see everything that's going on inside: full transparency. I wanted to start a company where we were honest with filmmakers because all the people working for the company were filmmakers themselves. I started the company in my living room office and now it has grown to seven people.

 

You recently attended the AFM after two years of it being digital. Was it a successful market for you?

MALLOY: This AFM was a very successful market for us. It had two years of being virtual. It was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, and those virtual markets were also successful for us. But we missed the face-to-face, in-person meetings. We’re known for taking a lot of meetings. We had 74 buyer meetings and countless filmmaker meetings. For the company, it was extremely successful.

 

What will you be working on next?

MALLOY: I'll be working on a couple of bigger films, including one that I want to direct. As an actor, writer, and producer, I've done all kinds of genres… horror, drama, thriller. I've never branded myself. But as a director, I've decided I'm only going to direct comedy. So the next film that I’m directing is a laugh out loud, funny office comedy called The It Guy. Hopefully I’ll be putting that together in 2023!

Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM

Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM

Interview with Actor Producer Director Tom Malloy For Directorial Debut Film "Ask Me To Dance" (2022) @ AFM

 

Interview by Vanessa McMahon

 

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