Nearly everyone who was involved with the fourth season of “Project Greenlight” might be best classified as a survivor. Amongst their number was Peter Farrelly, who served as a mentor for the first few episodes of the series before quitting somewhat abruptly.
As documented in the reality series, which chronicled the making of a low-budget HBO feature, Farrelly butted heads with producer Effie Brown during pre-production before backing away from the drama of being on a reality show. “I can see that Effie wants drama and I don’t want to engage with it,” he said at the end of the third episode, “Gun to Your Head.”
Turns out, that wasn’t an exaggerated reaction, because two years later, that has still left an impact on him, as he expressed during a panel for the Audience Network series “Loudermilk” during the Television Critics Association press tour. When asked if being on “Project Greenlight” changed him as a creator, Farrelly told critics, “I don’t know if it changed me. I was disappointed that it turned out like that, because I really was looking forward to doing it, and I just wanted to work with some young filmmakers, and then I realized very quickly it was turning into, like, a ‘Housewives’ type show. And I wanted out.”
Once Farrelly deduced that he was a part of a series that was relying on escalated drama, he questioned his involvement. “I would be lying in bed with my stomach aching… I was thinking, ‘Oh, my God. How do I get out? What do I do?’ And then I just remember thinking, ‘You quit.’ I just remember feeling so relieved. And I went to sleep. I woke up in the morning and said, ‘I’m out. I’m done. I’m not doing it,'” Farrelly said.
While Farrelly cut ties with “Project Greenlight,” he did maintain at least one relationship from the series — Jason Mann, the young director whose project was selected to be made in the first episode of the season, and whose uncompromising approach to making his film fueled much of the show’s drama.
“The guy who won, Jason Mann, I didn’t pick. He wasn’t my choice. My brother and I were leaning for another guy, who was great,” Farrelly said. “But Jason Mann won, but when he won, I was like, ‘Let’s do it. Come on, man. Let’s go.’ And I really got to like that guy.”
While Mann hasn’t made a new film since the “Project Greenlight” production “The Leisure Class,” he has been working — thanks to Farrelly, who hired Mann to shoot second unit material on “Loudermilk.”
“I felt bad for him because he was a sweet guy and very talented,” Farrelly said. “Very talented guy… So I wanted to help him out. He was a nice guy, and that was the only way I could do it after I had to leave the show.”
Added Farrelly, “It was not my favorite experience, that’s for sure.”
Farrelly’s new series, “Loudermilk,” stars Ron Livingston as a recovering alcoholic and substance abuse counselor. It premieres October 17 on Audience Network.