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Close Quarters movie debuts

An improvised film takes its name from a classic form.

 (Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki)
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Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

David Pasquesi and Gregory Hollimon
What was the process of filming like?
DP: I worked down in the basement with Holly [Laurent], we were in the bathroom with a couple of camera folk, so it was real clear what we were supposed to do.
GH: [Our characters] had just come from a funeral, but we filmed so much I forget all the topics. It�s one of the best films I�ve ever been in, not my best work, but I thought your guys� stuff was great.
DP: Holly is a blast and I got to kiss her.
GH: Man, if there was any time I wish I was Dave Pasquesi, it was in that scene. How long did you guys have to do the kissing scene?
DP: We rehearsed the kissing part for a weekend; we did, like, a weekend workshop. Though we didn�t have sex onscreen, we did some background work.
GH: I really hate you now.

 (Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki)
2/4
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

David Pasquesi and Gregory Hollimon
What was the process of filming like?
DP: I worked down in the basement with Holly [Laurent], we were in the bathroom with a couple of camera folk, so it was real clear what we were supposed to do.
GH: [Our characters] had just come from a funeral, but we filmed so much I forget all the topics. It�s one of the best films I�ve ever been in, not my best work, but I thought your guys� stuff was great.
DP: Holly is a blast and I got to kiss her.
GH: Man, if there was any time I wish I was Dave Pasquesi, it was in that scene. How long did you guys have to do the kissing scene?
DP: We rehearsed the kissing part for a weekend; we did, like, a weekend workshop. Though we didn�t have sex onscreen, we did some background work.
GH: I really hate you now.

 (Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki)
3/4
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Jack Newell and Bill Arnett
What is Close Quarters the film?
BA: When you first talked to me, it was, we�re going to improvise a movie, and of course you need some kind of skeletal structure. As it went along, it started bearing similarities to the improv form Close Quarters.
JN: Some of the decisions were made based on economics, and that led us toward a series of decisions that got us in one location at one time in real time, and it got closer and closer to [the form]. I�m going to ask you, how does the movie play versus the form?
BA: In the form, all the players can hear all the conversations while it�s unfolding; in this all those conversations are happening independently. If you really wanted to do this exactly, we�d have to have 16 cameras and you would have to be ready to go at the same time.
JN: I think what makes Close Quarters a good form for film is being in one location. By nature the Close Quarters form is a pressure cooker; it�s getting people stuck into a location and seeing what happens.

 (Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki)
4/4
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Noah Gregoropoulos and Linda Orr
What is Close Quarters the form?
LO: You invented Close Quarters.
NG: As an improv form, yes. Actually Peter Gwinn, who works for The Colbert Report, asked me to direct a group, and he wanted to do something with community and it sounded kind of boring to me, so I made up this sort of bullshit thing where there�s always kind of this accidental community of the moment. The idea was to have a bunch of unrelated scenes that were taking place around the same time, somewhat aware or unaware of each other and overlapping. The narrative time of the show would be about 15 minutes even if the [actual] show was an hour long, and you would just keep replaying the same time frame in different places.

In Close Quarters, a form invented at iO, scenes are improvised around a single place and time. In Close Quarters the movie, opening Saturday 12 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, the cast (including Bill Arnett, Noah Gregoropoulos, Gregory Hollimon, Bruce Jarchow, Holly Laurent, Linda Orr and David Pasquesi) plays characters whose lives overlap at a coffee shop. We sat down with director Jack Newell and cast and, similarly to both Close Quarters the form and film, broke them into pairs for simultaneous interviews.

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