Columbia screenwriting grad Sarah Smick is in control for her first feature. Smick is co-writing, directing, acting and executive producing her debut feature “Friended to Death.”
The film, which stars Ryan Hansen (“Party Down”) and Zach McGowan (the naked guy on “Shameless”), follows Michael Harris (Hansen), a loser Los Angeles meter maid, as he begins to question whether or not anyone would care if he died. Harris enllists a former colleague, Emile (McGowen), to help hiim with his plot to fake his death online, but the plan backfires.
In an interview with Indiewire, Smick explained what brought her to the story: “I always thought it was interesting that Facebook could be used for so many things. The idea of death by Facebook is both hilarious and scary. We [Smick wrote the film with the film’s producer Ian Michaels] came to this wanting to write about Facebook, but it’s bromance at its heart. There’s only two females in the film. My sense of humor is it what it is.”
Smick explained that it’s been tough selling people on a bromance written by a woman, but she couldn’t write it any other way. “I have an older brother and a younger brother. My sense of humor is broad, I guess. When people read the script, they say things like, ‘I can’t believe you wrote this! You seem so prim!'”
To play the prickly protagonist, Hansen needed to be what Smick called a “likeable douche.” “The script is dependent on the main character being unlikeable to an extent,” Smick explained. “Ryan plays the character as very impish and sweet.”
Hansen added (prepare yourself for more comparisons to a feminine cleaning product), “You have to actually watch this guy and not want to shoot yourself. But he does have to be a kind of a dick. Most of the douchebags I’ve played have been more cool, more popular. This guy is definitely more of a quirky douche. I think it plays in the movie. Every naive adolescent grown man is kind of a dick.”
McGowan, on set in Chicago for “Shameless,” added, “When I read the script, it totally came off the page. It was one of those scripts where all the jokes seemed to work on teh page. The whole crew did a great job with what they have. They’re all artistically on the same page. It was a great thing to have everyone working together so well.”
And as for Hansen’s perspective of working with the first-time director, he, perhaps still in character, commented, “She was wonderful…for a bitch!”