Saying I was excited to interview D.B. Sweeney would be a huge understatement. The man is a legend in my book. Having grown up watching The Cutting Edge a hundred times over and being a competitive figure skater myself in my youth, I was ecstatic to chat with him about a project that is very near and dear to his heart, Two Tickets To Paradise. A film which Sweeney not only starred in, but also wrote, produced, and directed. I was amazed at the fact he wore all the hats on this project, and anxious to ask him about it.
While you might think it would be easier to get a project up and going if you’re involved in every aspect of the film, it actually wasn’t according to Sweeney. “It was much more difficult. I took on all the jobs from writing it, acting, producing, directing it… producing it with my own money, doing the costumes, doing the casting… There is a lot of warring instincts between those roles. The producer is watching the bottom line, the director is trying to take care of the fidelity of the movie, and the actor is just trying to stay spontaneous. Those are three different mindsets. I like to think of it like the producer is the dad, the director is mom, and the actors are the kids,” Sweeney explains, “If you’re trying to be all three of those you’re going to lose your mind.”
Would he do it this way again? “Never… never. I’d produce and act, or direct and produce, but I’d never do all three. I’d never recommend it for anyone unless it is the only way to get it done.”
In Two Tickets To Paradise, Sweeney plays a character who has just realized he’s not 26 years old anymore wooing girls with his Gibson guitar. But despite the impression you may get from the DVD cover, it’s not a guy flick. “Women respond to this movie more than men, because they feel like they get to be a fly on the wall of how guys really are when they’re not around. They’re not as bad as you think, and they’re not as good as you think. Women have really responded to it, because it feels really honest.” Sweeney tells FanBolt.
“It’s more about guys who were hot stuff in high school and now they’re moving into middle age and it’s uncomfortable for them. Now they’re having to accept their limitations and even their mediocrity in some cases and it’s the women who love them, and their families.”
Sweeney felt like he was playing a number of serious and intense characters, so he liked the idea of playing a comical character. “When I started writing the movie, that was what I was focused on for myself – creating a role that would be fun to play everyday. A guy who is maybe a little bit dim, but lovable.”
After Sweeney finished writing the script, he took it around to different studios, “They were interested, and they made offers for it. But they immediately said you can be in the movie and we’ll take the script and that will be the end of your input. And I thought, you know that’s not what I want to do. I put a lot of myself into this script, and I’d like to have more say.” Sweeney explained, “Ultimately the easiest way for me to get this movie made was for me to direct it and me to produce it with the money that I had and all the money that I could borrow. Which I don’t recommend for anyone. It will raise your blood pressure.”
The cast worked together so well in this film, I figured that Sweeney had to have some people in mind when he was writing the script. He told me he picked Paul Hipp because he wanted to give him a big break. He had won a Tony earlier in his career (as the original Buddy Holly on Broadway) and then moved out to LA and nothing had happened for him, “He’s a really talented singer/songwriter. Really funny guy.”
Sweeney went on to say, “I knew I was going to play Billy McGriff, and John C. McGinley is one of my oldest friends. We were at collage together at NYU. He’s someone I’ve always admired. We did one movie together that was called Hear No Evil which didn’t have the greatest script – we tended to call it “Here No Movie” when we were on the set. So we were hoping to find another one in the future that would be a more rewarding one that you would want to watch over and over again.”
When I asked Sweeney to describe his movie in 3 words, he gave me 4 that I think sum it up pretty accurately: “You Know These Guys.”
Want to see more of the charming D.B. Sweeney? Well you’re in luck because he will be starring in one of the most talked about new series of the fall, The Event. “I’m sorta like the smiling assassin. It’s really really fun.” Sweeney reveals.
He’ll come in episode 2, so be sure to keep an eye out for him!
Sweeney also told us about another cool project he’s started. He’s engaging a number of people in the entertainment industry to write letters to the troops. You check out the site at http://www.lettersfromhollywood.army.mil, and publicly view the messages that have been submitted so far.
Two Tickets To Paradise is available on DVD today!
Your Pop Culture Junkie,