Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers #33: Chris Messina On How He Completed 'Alex of Venice' While Shooting 'The Mindy Project'

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 15, 2014 at 12:03PM

Chris Messina both directs and stars in "Alex of Venice," a drama about Alex, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a woman pushed past the comfort zone of everything she knows. Previously known for his work on "The Mindy Project" and HBO's "The Newsroom," this is Messina's directional debut.
1
Alex of Venice
Chris Messina both directs and stars in "Alex of Venice," a drama about Alex, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a woman pushed past the comfort zone of everything she knows. Previously known for his work on "The Mindy Project" and HBO's "The Newsroom," this is Messina's directional debut. 

Tell us about yourself? I was born and raised in New York and spent many years performing in plays from anywhere from the Bronx to off-Broadway to Broadway. About 8 years ago Alan Ball cast me on the last season of "Six Feet Under" and I moved to Los Angeles to work in film and television more. I've been lucky enough to work with film directors like Woody Allen, Sam Mendes, Nora Ephron, Ben Affleck, David Gordon Green and Noah Baumbach and I learned a great deal from all of them. I live in Los Angeles with my wife Jennifer Todd who is a film producer and our two boys, Milo and Giovanni.

Biggest challenge coming into the project? During the shoot, we had limited time due to our budget constraints so we were forced to move as fast as possible. That brevity did not end throughout the entire production process. Post-Production also moved quickly as I was working on a television show and therefore had to cut the film at night, on the weekends and even at times in my trailer. It was a very challenging way to finish the film.

Did you crowdfund? No. I was lucky enough to have great producers, Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell, who secured all of our financing.

What films have inspired you? There are so many films and filmmakers that have inspired me through out my career . For "Alex of Venice" I watched "Kramer vs Kramer," "Hannah and her Sisters," and "All the Real Girls" pretty much non-stop.

What camera did you shoot on? The Arri Alexa 

Did you go to film school? did not, but I have taken a great amount of acting classes. I've been lucky enough to study with some of the best teachers like Ron Van Lieu, Kim Gilllingham, Earle Gister, and Harold Guskin. By working with master teachers like these, I learned so much about script analysis and storytelling.

I love the website Cinephilia and Beyond - each day there are incredible posts taking you through the process of your favorite films and filmmakers. This website was instrumental to me.

What do you have in the works? I have a few scripts in development as a director, and I'm hoping to make another film on my next break in 2015. I just finished playing Al Pacino's son in David Gordon Green's "Manglehorn." I'm currently shooting the third season of "The Newsroom" on HBO, and in the summer I return for a third season of "The Mindy Project."

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.

This article is related to: Tribeca Film Festival, 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers , Chris Messina, Chris Messina, Alex of Venice






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More