This film started off being called Neighborhood Movie, because that’s how the film began, inspired by the neighborhood in which Jeremy Weissman, Charlie Hewson and I shared a brownstone (with five other people, as well). One day, Jeremy and I were ambling back from a normal day in the park when a Jamaican nurse, whom we’d seen every so often smoking or talking on her cell phone on a neighboring stoop, beckoned us over to help her move her fallen patient. We agreed, intrigued by the strange request, and entered the quasi-stranger’s house only to find—lying on the ground, in a fetal position, half-naked with a catheter hanging from his penis in the open air—more than we bargained for.
Thus begins the story of our movie, and the hijinks that follow. Like the actual owner of the brownstone on 13th Street in which we lived, Charlie’s character, Charlie, has recently inherited a house from his deceased mother. Real estate agents are after the sale (“like hawks with fangs all dripping with blood diamonds and shit”), and his best friend, Ted, wants to build the recording studio they’ve always dreamed of in Charlie’s basement. Slinging baseball cards to middle school kids doesn’t pay the utility bills like it used to, and Charlie is left wondering what will happen to the remainder of his mother’s mortgage.
Realizing that Charlie won’t rent out his mother’s old floor for fear of losing the remaining vestiges of her memory, Ted sees catheter man, and his prominently displayed baseball card collection, as an opportunity. Never would it be easier to rob someone of something so arbitrarily valuable. Not only is the man basically incapacitated, but his backyard also connects with Charlie’s through a series of hurdle-sized fences that tempt Ted to show off his Olympian prowess. And Charlie has the contacts to hock the goods.
Charlie isn’t having any of it, especially after he re-meets the Jamaican nurse, Cherise, and joins her family for cricket the following Saturday. Romance blossoms. But when Cherise spurns Charlie for her ex-boyfriend, Charlie changes his tune. He’s in, and Ted is walking on air—that is, until Cherise returns to Charlie. Charlie immediately regrets setting the wheels in motion with Ted, as he knows nothing is going to stop Ted from pulling off his great hurdling heist tonight. I won’t spoil the ending.
I’ve infused this film with Charlie’s music (which is absolutely amazing), as his character is a songwriter with a quite an online following. In fact, Charlie meets a slew of girls online (wait, am I talking about the character?) and part of what makes Cherise so appealing to Charlie is how real she is, figuratively and literally. While Ted always has a scheme brewing—be it a sexy how-to video on escaping the credit crisis in lingerie or a never-ending sea of spare keys to Charlie’s house despite how many are taken away—his passion for the recording studio is derived from his real desire to see Charlie’s music recorded the way it is meant to.
In the process, I hope we can record Charlie Hewson’s music the way it is meant to.