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Interview: Ennis Esmer and Daniel Perlmutter share some BIG NEWS

We met with star Ennis Esmer and director Daniel Perlmutter in the offices of Markham Street Films which, quite surprisingly, were not on Markham Street.

Luckily, we were able to find the Canadian duo, and duck into a corner office, where we discussed everything from to the newspaper as a dying medium to John Cougar Mellencamp, to the pothole from the film and really had a grand old time discussing the film.

You guys met at PITCH THIS! at TIFF?

Ennis: We did. I was hosting PITCH THIS! for a few years in the late aughts, if you will, and Dan won the pitch completion with this movie, which was at that point called “Fit to Print” and he sort of added a late part for me, as we kind of hit it off and became friends. I said at one point “What if A Civil Action was a comedy?”

This is the first time I’ve been a full lead in a feature. This was a big challenge for me, and they took a chance, and I think mostly they don’t regret it? They primarily do not horribly regret their mistake.

The town is not a real town?

Both: There’s no Grand Rock.

Daniel: Grand Rock is just a fake name, where it seemed like there wasn’t any other place named Grand Rock.

Ennis: The Grand Rock tourism board is furious with us.

Daniel: That was the size of the town, 14,000 people, where you didn’t know everyone, so you could get away with these stories. It’s small enough that you could have that sense of community, but could run into people on the street and have that feeling of small town life still, but you could read an article and it’s still impossible that you know everyone in the town.

What is up with the pothole?

Ennis: Me and the pothole are definitely the co-leads of the movie. People say the town is the character. No! The pothole. And what a character he was! A diva on set. Couldn’t talk to him. He refused to do the interview, and he’s standing outside, (which was sort of true). Smokin’ a cigarette. (spits).

It’s a nice little ode to some dying media.

Both: Yes. It is.

Ennis: Let’s say maligned.

Daniel: It is. And in a way, we would be sad if we lost a national paper, absolutely, but you don’t feel it in the same way a town feels when they lose a paper. It’s really part of the identity of that community.

Ennis: I really miss The Grid

Daniel (laughing)

Ennis: It’s not a joke! It’s the closest I’d come, because I’d honestly get The Grid every week, no offense to NOW, they’re still a great source for news. But I really liked the way that they portrayed the city and I really liked their coverage.

Daniel: No, no, you’re right!

Ennis: There is a vitality to this where, I didn’t think about this before we shot up there, but afterwards, this is a unique little story, and it is something that I wouldn’t have thought about, that this little movie could do.

Big News at Grand Rock opens Friday at Magic Lantern Carlton in Toronto, and Landmark Cinemas in Kanata. The cast and director will be in attendance for the Toronto screenings this weekend.