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Opening Night at the 20th Annual Austin Film Festival

"Coffee, Kill Boss" was the opening night film of the Austin Film Festival. I had the opportunity to interview some the cast and crew on the Red Carpet in front of the beautiful Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin, Texas. The film is about ten executives who assemble in secret to sell the company. Things seem to be going well until the staff starts dying off, one by one, and before they know it, the executives are involved in a murder mystery. This comedy was directed by Nathan Marshal and written by Sigurd Ueland, who, a few years earlier, competed in the Austin Film Festival script competition with this very script. The film stars Eddie Jamison, Robert Forester, Noureen DeWulf, Zibby Allen, and Chris Wylde. Coffe,Kill Boss Website

Austin Film Festival Outside
Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

Hi Chris

Chris Wylde: Hi, how are you doing?

Great, so tell me about your part in the film.

Wylde: I play Chuck who can be compared to Ned Flanders from, "The Simpsons." It's the type of part that I have never played before. I've played a lot of stoners, slackers, lounge singers, even drug dealers, which is strange because I am actually a preacher's kid. So, when Nathan offered me this role, and I read it, I said to myself, "This is Ned Flanders. This is Churchy McGee, and I've got this role in my back pocket." So I was excited to do this role. Nathan and I had worked together before, so it's always great to work with someone you know. Nathan is very talented, and I hope to work with him in all his future endeavors.

Can you tell us a little about the film, what the plot is about?

Wylde: It's a murder mystery. It's a "who done it." My father is an avid Agatha Christie fan, so this is a movie that I know he is going to love. It really is like "Twelve Little Indians." Or maybe it was "Ten Little Indians." Maybe it was "Eight Little Native Americans" or "Eight Little People who happen to be a different race." I'm not sure, but it's a "who done it," and there is a lot of "red herrings." I've got to be honest with you, I think that the audience is going to watch this and think that my character is the killer the whole time. I don't want to give any spoilers away, but I am the killer. Wait, that's not true. Or maybe it is.

Now is this a comedy or a more like a mystery?

(l-r) Eddie Jemison and Noureen DeWulf in Coffee, Kill Boss

Wylde: It's kind of like "War of the Roses." It's funny, but it's also super dark. It's a dark comedy that is very funny with a mystery thrown in. It's a murder mystery, dark comedy. It's a dark murdermisomedy.

Thank you so much and enjoy Austin.

Hi, Nathan, as the director of the film, what attracted you to the script?

Nathan Marshall: The script was a finalist here at the Austin Film Festival a few years back, but I was aware of the script before that happened. I was in a screen writing class at U.C.L.A. with the Sigurd Ueland, the writer of the film. He was writing a different script at the time, but it was really original and fresh. I became friends with him and asked him, what else have you done? He brought me this script, and we started talking, even at that time, about how could we get this film done. It took a few years, but as our careers advanced, we got the opportunity to make the film, and here we are.

I know that you have directed for Television, so is this your first feature film?

Marshall: Yeah, it is my first feature. I've directed a good amount of narrative television, even some horrible reality television, and even a few commercials.

What was your experience like directing your first feature film?

Marshall: It was great. There's certainly a difference making a feature over a television drama. Exhausting yourself over one week on a television show is one thing. But on something that just doesn't end, where you are working week after week after week, can be trying. You not only have to keep yourself up creatively but also, keep yourself going physically is a challenge.

Would you describe this film as a dark comedy?

Marshall: Yeah, the movie is a dark comedy. It's really a thriller and a comedy. I think of it almost like those comedy, mystery films from the 30's and 40's like "His Girl Friday" or "The Thin Man." It's a genre that's been sort of dead for a while, a mystery where people are making jokes all the way through it. I love the older film directors from those times, and I tried to pull some of that into this film. I wanted to make something that was modern but also a throwback to some of those old films.

Enjoy Austin and the Film Festival.

Hi Noureen. I know this is a murder mystery and you don't want to give too much away but tell us about your character.

Noureen DeWulf in Coffee, Kill Boss Source: Austin Film Festival

Noureen DeWulf: Sure, I play a mysterious character named "The Temp." We are introduced to her at the start of the film. She's nice and sweet, but it's possible that there is more to her than meets the eye. She just might be deceptively innocent.

Was it fun working on this type of film?

DeWulf: It was amazing. It's an independent film, so everyone that was there was because they wanted to be a part of it. The script was amazing. It was hard work because the budget was so small, but it was fun to shoot that way. We were there because we all loved the material.

When you read the script, did you fall in love with it?

DeWulf: When I read the script, I was blown away. I was so happy when I got the part because I thought it was a well written role. My character is serious, sexy and funny, something different than my character on "Anger Management," and it was something that I really want to play on screen.

Thank you very much.

My Review:

"Coffee, Kill Boss" (2013)

The film takes place on the 20th floor of an office building as a small staff of ten executives assemble in secret to try and sell the family-run company to an outside investor. Very quickly things start to unravel as the executives find themselves involved with a murder mystery that threatens not only the sale of the company but their lives, as well. The film really misses the mark as it isn't funny enough to be a comedy and isn't strange or twisted enough be thought of as a dark comedy. The premise is fun at the outset but just isn't fast paced enough to keep the audience engaged with the plot. I did like several of the performances in the cast including Eddie Jemison who plays the son of the late CEO of the company. Jemison plays the part of the overwhelmed executive who is willing to do anything so that the company sale goes through. Noureen DeWulf is delightful as "The Temp," a wide-eyed young employee who wants to help Jemison's character succeed, even if it means moving a dead body or two. Overall, the film never delivers the laughs that it desperately needs, and the dialogue doesn't project the wit and snappiness that would have made it succeed. My Rating: Cable

The Austin Film Festival goes on through Thursday, Oct. 31st.

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