I’m honestly not sure what’s more impressive: the fact that Eric Roberts has 554 acting credits listed on his IMDB page, or that with his current slate of projects he had time to visit the Twin Cities Film Fest for the Minnesota premiere of ‘Inside the Rain.’
Seriously, check it out, it’s insane.
But here he was – Oscar nominee (Best Supporting Actor, 1986, ‘Runaway Train’), Julia’s older brother, Emma’s father, mid-’90s ‘Doctor Who’ villain, ‘The Dark Knight’ mobster – standing (I use that term loosely as he indulged as many people as possible with selfies and conversation) on the red carpet promoting an independent romantic dramedy in which he is a supporting player without a ton of screen time.
“One of my readers read the script and said ‘you gotta read it,’” Roberts said. “And when he says that it’s really good … I said ‘I kinda play this little part, but I want to be in this movie.’”
And it’s easy to see why the story would jump out to a veteran actor.
After Ben (Aaron Fisher), a college student with a history of mental illness, is threatened with expulsion from his college following a misunderstanding, he sets out to clear his name. With his parents urging him to transfer and refusing to hire an attorney, Ben devises a plan to make a short, narrative film detailing said misunderstanding. One night after leaving a strip club, he befriends a young sex worker, Emma (Ellen Toland), and eventually convinces her to be in his movie. With only Emma, a handful of childhood friends, and Monty (Roberts) – a struggling actor that signs on to produce the film – on his side, Ben sets out to prove his innocence.
The uniqueness of the story also appealed to Toland.
“When I auditioned for it, I thought it was really interesting that a sex worker was being portrayed as a normal girl. And I thought [the same about] someone that has mental illness being portrayed as a normal guy,” she said. “A lot of times with those subjects it becomes really heavy, and it was nice for it to be a script to laugh at and humanizes people.”
Fisher, who also wrote, directed and edited the film, said the early response from audiences has been great, with people really connecting with the characters (in the post-screening Q&A, I noticed Ben in particular resonated with the audience).
“We’ve been at Woodstock and Nashville so far, and the response has been amazing,” he said. “People really love the movie, they’re laughing the entire time. I couldn’t explain the amount of energy when I got on the Q&A stage with Ellen … I felt like a rock star.”
The film has just started its festival run – TCFF, Woodstock Film Festival and San Diego International Film Festival in October, Big Apple Film Festival in November, and the Bahamas International Film Festival in December.
Catching a film early in its festival run generally means those that miss out will have to wait a long time to see it. That, however, is not the case here as it’s already been announced that the film has distribution and will hit theaters in March 2020.