Exclusive: Charles Hood Talks ‘Night Owls’ Starring Adam Pally

Night-Owls-Movie

Director Charles Hood discusses his critically acclaimed film “Night Owls.”

“Night Owls” is an intimate film about two people in an interesting situation. It focuses on two characters named Kevin (Adam Pally) and Madeline (Rosa Salazar) and revolves around a one night stand that turns into an “all nighter” when Madeline overdoses on sleeping pills and Kevin is forced to keep her awake. The film is receiving it’s fair share of critical acclaim right now with a score currently at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. So why all of the praise for this film? We got the chance to speak with the film’s director and co-writer Charles Hood to find out why.

Film Fad:

Hi Charles, How are you?

Charles Hood:

Pretty good, how are you?

Film Fad:

Pretty well. So I’ve been following “Night Owls” and I see that you’re the director and one of the writers. The two main characters, they fall for each other in a very complex and kind of odd situation to say the least. How did this story come about?

Charles Hood:

My co-writer Seth and I knew we were going to be restricted by a smaller budget so we wanted to find an idea that we could pull off in kind of a contained way. We love movies that take place in one day and one location. “Die Hard” is one of my favorite movies, “The Ref” is another one of my favorite movies. It was sort of born out of the restriction that we created for ourselves. We were just talking about what kind of stories could work with those sort of parameters and the idea of one character overdosing on sleeping pills and the other one have to keep them awake all night came up. And then we recalled that scene in “The Apartment,” the Billy Wilder movie with Jack London and Shirley MacLaine, where Shirley MacLaine overdoses on sleeping pills and Jack London has to keep her awake all night. And it’s just one scene in that movie that lasts a couple minutes but we were like, “Why couldn’t that be a whole movie to itself? That would be really fun. That could be a great concept.” So it sort of started from there.

Film Fad:

So were there any personal experiences or anything like that which you drew from to create this kind of imagery on screen?

Charles Hood:

I think there’s always some personal elements to the characters and the dialogue and pieces here and there. So I think there’s a lot of myself and a lot of Seth in both of those main characters. I’ve never (laughs) had a one night stand that ended up with my date having an overdose of sleeping pills…luckily (laughs). But there are little pieces of the characters, there’s pieces of myself in both Kevin and Madeline and I think there’s some of my wife also in Madeline. You take things from your life, little pieces here and there. So yeah, it’s always personal when you’re writing it, for sure.

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Left: Adam Pally Right: Rosa Salazar

Film Fad:

The cast of “Night Owls” consists of a comedy-driven set of actors. You have Adam Pally who was really popular in “Happy Endings,” Tony Hale for “Arrested Development,” and Rob Huebel who is “I Love You Man,” “The League,” and a couple other things. Was there anything from their previous roles that drew them to you for these specific roles in “Night Owls?”

Charles Hood:

There were some elements of “Happy Endings” that Adam [Pally] had done. He gets to play broader comedy stuff more often. He has an improv background and so he’s done a lot of comedy. But there were a few episodes of “Happy Endings” where his character had more of a serious romance and you could see that he had that ability, that he could totally go there and I think that he wanted to do that. And when he got the script, he was interested in doing that. We were lucky enough that he was on a very short list of actors that we wanted for this and he was the only person we approached. My agent got him the script and he read it within 24 hours and got back to us and wanted to do it. It was amazing. It was surreal.

And with Tony [Hale], “Arrested Development” is my favorite television show of all time and Buster is my favorite character on that show. So to have Tony Hale in this movie was just a dream come true. And when Seth and I wrote that part that Tony plays, it’s a small part but we wanted it to be distinct. We wanted the character to be a little bit of a weirdo. And I think there are a lot of different, funny people that could play that role but getting Tony Hale was just absolutely a dream come true, we couldn’t believe that we got him to play that part.

And Rob [Huebel]…Adam [Pally] brought Rob Huebel on and I think Rob is just amazing. He’s got great range and so I had no doubt that he’d be able to come in and really nail it which I think he did. He’s just great at that character.

Film Fad:

Let me ask you this. All of these actors are great and amazing to have on your cast list but were there any other actors that you might have sought out for the roles which conflicts arose that prevented their involvement?

Charles Hood:

Yeah we initially did have a couple early on. Scheduling conflicts came up and they couldn’t make it and we ended up getting absolutely the best people for every role. So we were very, very fortunate to get all the people we got. All were just above and beyond, elevating the script.

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“So to have Tony Hale in this movie was just a dream come true.”

Film Fad:

It’s an amazing cast, I just want to reiterate that. Given that “Night Owls” is both a comedy and a drama, is there any kind of underlying message or theme that you’re trying to convey with this film?

Charles Hood:

It’s up to the viewer what they take away from it. I don’t want to try and explain what my message is but I hope that the message comes across. But I think we were exploring some interesting ideas about this sort of culture in college football. There’s another side of the story that we don’t really advertise in the trailers and everything. But there’s a hero worship that happens in the sports world with coaches and players and there’s a lot of weird rationalizing that happens for illegal activities or stuff that these players or coaches do to break the rules and fans of the team will rationalize all of these things that they do. And there’s a weird culture in some college football towns and cities too where the local police or anyone will look the other way or try to help cover up certain things. There was the big Penn State scandal a few years ago and that was obviously the biggest example of it. But there are smaller ones that happen all the time. There was a recent one at Notre Dame and Florida State. A lot in these last couple of years at these schools where they protect the institution of this sports team. And the way that they look up to these coaches who are just guys doing their jobs and people just worship them.

It’s a really interesting culture. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and I’m a die-hard Nebraska football fan because of that. And I also went to USC film school so I was a big USC football fan too. I’m guilty of it as well (laughs), I’ll support my team. It’s just the feelings that people have for their sports teams in this world, it’s just really interesting to me and we were trying to explore that. And I think there’s also a whole other side of it too with the personal elements of suicide and things like that are kind of interesting. Dealing with depression and that’s another side of things that we were trying to explore too. I feel like the topic doesn’t get talked about that much.

Film Fad:

I have to say that with “Night Owls,” I love the cast and the concept is really intriguing. Do you have any plans after “Night Owls” or any other films or projects in mind?

Charles Hood:

Yeah, we’re trying to get the next movie to shoot this Spring actually. And it’s another comedy/drama, it’s a little bit bigger. The three main roles would be three brothers and Adam Pally would be one of the brothers and Colin Hanks is going to be another one. And we’re trying to find that right person to play the oldest brother and hopefully it will all come together to shoot this Spring. And then I wrote with my other writing partner Mike, it’s even bigger, it’s like a science fiction comedy/drama that we’re really excited about. So that one hopefully will get going at some point too. Maybe later this year or next year if we’re lucky.

Film Fad:

Well Charles I want to thank you so much for your time. I’m really interested to see what you have coming after “Night Owls,” because I really do like the concept and I’m a big fan of the cast. From what it sounds like, you’re going to have something interesting right after this, so I’d love to hear back from you in the future.

Charles Hood:

Yeah that’d be great. Thank you so much.

Check out “Night Owls” for yourself and tell us your thoughts!

Ryan

Author: Ryan

Ryan has been fascinated with film and pop culture since childhood. Throughout college he "played it safe" taking the more lucrative route of being a computer programmer while squeezing in film related courses where he could...but even during his post college career, he could never escape his true passion. After following one of his favorite blogs for a long time, he approached the site's Editor about writing and they reluctantly gave him a shot. He later became their Senior Writer which led to a variety of other projects, radio show appearances, features, and high profile celebrity interviews. Despite his success with blogging, he still wanted more so in order to expand his creative addiction, he merged his IT skills and blogging know-how to create FilmFad.com which has continued to grow into a creative Mecca of pop-culture fun and integrity.[email protected]   Film Fad

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