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Watch: Chris Messina on How Ben Affleck Helped Shape his Directorial Debut

Watch: Chris Messina on How Ben Affleck Helped Shape his Directorial Debut

READ MORE: Watch: Mary Elizabeth Winstead Has Lost Control In The First Trailer For ‘Alex Of Venice’

Chris Messina is an actor best known for his work on Mindy Kallng’s sitcom “The Mindy Project.” Now he’s made his feature directorial debut with “Alex of Venice,” which he also stars in. In the drama, Mary Elizabeth Winstead  (“Smashed”) plays Alex, an attorney whose life is thrown into disarray after her husband (Messina) unexpectedly leaves her. Now, she must piece together her own life while also holding together her crumbling family. 

Indiewire’s Nigel M. Smith spoke to Messina for AOL Build about the project and what it was like to direct his debut feature. Here are some of the key highlights from the talk. You can watch it below.

Messina doesn’t like the phrase, “Action!”
Messina thinks the chaotic nature of a film set can intrude on an actor’s process. “Maybe it’s indulgent but I like sitting and waiting for something to happen,” Messina said. “‘Action’ is a weird word unless you’re doing an action movie. It’s a weird word to say ‘action.’ Because as an actor you feel like ‘oh, I gotta do it now.'”

READ MORE: Tribeca Review: ‘Alex Of Venice’ Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Don Johnson & Chris Messina

Ben Affleck helped him out with his debut.
As two actors-turned-directors, Messina and Affleck have a lot in common. “His movies are a little bit of a bigger budget than ‘Alex of Venice,'” Messina joked. The two worked together on Affleck’s film “Argo,” which ultimately helped Messina when it came to directing his own feature. “He was very helpful on set…we would shoot something and, because we had a big budget and because we had days, we would go back to Video Village and watch playback. A lot of directors don’t do that by the way. They want to keep the actors away. They probably had experiences where the actor got in their head from watching themselves.”

He has a lot more up his sleeve.
Messina, at 40, is only now becoming “big.” And while he feels lucky for the success he’s found, he doesn’t think he’s quite “there” yet. “If I had found any success at 26 I think I’d be a mess…But I certainly don’t feel, for better or worse, like I’ve made it or this is it. I still have so much to do and to say.” As far as directing goes, he said he’s looking at a project to potentially star Sam Rockwell.

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