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CU Independent sat down to talk with Ryan O’Nan and Michael Weston from the new film “The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best.”
Ryan, this was your first time directing. What was it like having that sort of creative control?
O’Nan: It was so nice, man.
Weston: It went right to his head (laughter). Like Napoleon. And he wore a weird hat all the time that he would strut around with.
O’Nan: I was not a malevolent ruler. I lead with love. No, this was my first feature. You know, it was an interesting thing. I was in charge of everything, but a movie is a whole bunch of great artists all working in tandem. It is hard sometimes to feel a certain sort of authorship, because you have so many amazing talents working. They all bring their own authorship to whatever piece they are working on.
The Brooklyn Brothers is a real band?
Weston: Yeah man, that was some crazy shit that went down. First of all, Ryan kind of sprung the whole thing that we would have to be playing live music in front of people ever. I had no idea that this was gonna happen. I thought I was just going to get to act and then I would be done. I had to travel with this case full of baby toys in it. I have to say this. All of the music in the movie was recorded live.
Ryan: And Michael won’t practice, so I had to have a whip.
And The Brooklyn Brothers are you, Ryan and two guys that you met in college, that went by the name of The Crayon Rosary.
O’Nan: They were a huge influence on me and the movie. They helped me transpose all of their songs onto these children’s instruments, because they had played with them so much. We actually used a few of their songs in their film, and we wrote one all together.
Michael, did you have any musical experience before this?
Weston: Yeah, and all I did was try to get out of touching a piano for a whole hour. I hated playing piano. It wasn’t for me. This was a whole different experience with these kids instruments.
Ryan, since you are in this band, are any of the parts of the story true?
O’Nan: I did play in a band for a while, but it isn’t necessarily a true story. Where I feel it is autobiographical is that I was documenting, to a certain extent, the emotional struggle that I went through. These fears that start creeping through that start asking, “What have I been doing with my life?” This self-doubt that opens the ears to all of the critics. Then there is the other side that says that it is the only thing that makes you happy. It is those two sides that I wanted to split into two characters.
Michael, Jim was much happier in comparison to some of your other characters. What was it like playing that sort of character?
Weston: I love it. This character bounced off the page to me. I loved his independent spirit. He has these flashing fears of what he could accomplish.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Patrick Fort at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.