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Kyle Newacheck and Harvey Guillén on Their Drama-Comedy I’m Totally Fine

Jan 1, 2023


In the mood for a unique spin on the typical Hollywood buddy comedy? Well, I’m Totally Fine offers that plus much more. A refreshing blend of several genres and themes, the new indie film — in theaters as of November 4 and available on demand and digital — follows Vanessa (Jillian Bell), who is mourning the death of her best friend Jennifer (Natalie Morales). She decides to take a trip for self-care but is quickly interrupted when shortly into it, she wakes to Jennifer in her kitchen, claiming she’s an alien sent to study the human species.

Directed by Brandon Dermer and written by Alisha Ketry, the aptly named I’m Totally Fine features a small cast but plenty of opportunity for other characters besides the two pals to shine. We recently interviewed the two male co-stars, one of whom also produced the film.
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Kyle Newacheck on Producing and Workaholics

MW: What drew you to this project initially?

Kyle Newacheck: The initial drawing to the film was when Brandon Dermer told me, like, the two sentences that kind of outline the premise of the film, because that’s where it started. It started on a Zoom call with me saying, “I’m so bored of not doing anything. We’re in the pandemic, I want to make an indie movie. I want to make it.” And he said, “I have this idea.” And he threw the premise out, and then I say, “Well, no matter what, I’m gonna produce that film.”

MW: What’s it like producing a movie that you’re also starring in? Is that much more challenging?

Kyle Newacheck: Well, it’s kind of easier. You save money on trailers because I don’t need a trailer. The townie’s car is my car. So you know, we’re just using what we got. We wrote that part, I really had my eye on that part because I thought it was just really fertile and fun. And then we cast someone else. And then, you know, during COVID, we were out there actually shooting during a stay-at-home order. And so it got crazy. And the person couldn’t come out, we couldn’t make it work. And so I was just like, “Well, I’ll go out there and do this.” So in that respect, it was great being the producer and the actor because I just cast myself last minute in kind of a crisis. [laughs] And nobody was like, “Hey, wait a minute!” Julian was like, “Cool. Let’s do this.” And Natalie and Dermer loved it. They wanted me to do it from the beginning.

MW: Is there a particular part of the movie that was the most fun to shoot?

Kyle Newacheck: Well, we were a tight crew. We were only about 20 people out there making a movie, including the cast. So you know, we were all around for all the pieces. I mean, I have a grip and electric background. Back in the day, I used to push dollies and do that stuff. So there was one particular part where she has to fall asleep by the fire, and we’re flickering the lights. And every time I look at it, I’m like, “Those are my flickers.” I was doing the knobs and the unplugging and plugging in that shot because that’s how tight it was.

MW: I’m a big Workaholics fan. What it was like working with Jillian Bell again?

Kyle Newacheck: Lovely. Absolute dream. Jillian and I have been friends forever, even before Workaholics. And then, we worked together on Workaholics for years. And then I went over and directed some of her show Idiotsitter, which was on Comedy Central. And then, we just keep in touch and always are like, “What are we going to work together on?” And so, on a film like this, you get the idea, and for me, I just thought about the funniest and most talented person I know to play the female lead, and opposite another female lead. And I say, “Well, Jillian Bell is the person. I will do anything to get her in this movie.” Thankfully, it wasn’t that hard. I called her up. I said, “Do you want to check this out? And she did, and she really responded to the script. And so thankfully, she was in.

Having Jillian Bell on this project — because she’s an executive producer on it as well, Natalie also, having people as talented as the people that are involved in this project without a lot of red tape and without having to navigate all these studio channels, and it’s really just five people like making a film — having someone like Jillian Bell in your corner is so, so awesome because she was able to work this character from the beginning and able to participate in the writing process and shaping into something that she really understood. So I just wanted to give her flowers. I just love her dearly.

MW: Would you like to share about other projects that you’re currently working on, that will be released down the line?

Kyle Newacheck: I just finished directing What We Do in the Shadows and producing season five. So that’s actually still being shot right now. I have Murder Mystery 2 coming out, which I’m an executive producer on, which is cool. I shot another indie with my brother. It’s a psychological horror. So we’re about to put that out. And then currently, I’m about to jump in full speed into the Workaholics film. We’re gonna do it for Paramount+. We’re gonna shoot it very soon, and hopefully, it’s out by the end of next summer. I’m gearing up to get into that. It’s such a trip thinking about everybody putting on the ties and going back to work. It’s going to be an absolute blast. Timing couldn’t be better. Everybody wants to party. We’ve been locked up. We want to have fun with people. We want to just get out and mingle again. I think Workaholics is going to be the perfect project to be working on during that time.

Related: Exclusive: Jillian Bell Discusses her Otherworldy Comedy-Drama I’m Totally Fine

Harvey Guillén On DJing And His Hit FX Show

RKM Studios

MW: What drew you to this project, going back to the beginning?

Harvey Guillén: In the beginning, I guess it started with Kyle Newacheck, who directs part of our season for What We Do in the Shadows, producing the film. And so we were on set, and he was like, “Hey, man, I got this film I’m working on and, you know… I think there’s a part in it for you.” And I was like, “Oh cool, let me know.” We had been filming for the year during the pandemic, and it was kind of crazy. And the fact that he did it during that time was even more astonishing just because it was such high protocols and kind of hoops to jump over to kind of produce anything at that time, you know? And so when he told me, you know, it’s DJ twisted, bristle. And I was like, what, and he’s like, “He’s a DJ!” And I was, “Wait, I thought it was about two friends.” The story is such a lovely story about two friends played by Jillian and Natalie Morales. One of [the characters] passes away, and it’s the kind of coping and, how do you deal with someone who was such a huge part of your life? And letting go and remembering the good memories. And [the film] is perfectly timed with this week being Dia de los Muertos, which is the day of remembering loved ones and those who came before you and those who leave a mark in your life. And so it’s really a sweet script. When I read it, I was like, “Oh, this is so cool and interesting!” An Alien kind of studies human life forms, and someone’s mourning, and I get to play a character that’s so different than usually what I play, with a light-up jacket and everything. [laughs] So I said, “Sure, sign me up.” And I did it. It was a one-day shoot, I did all my stuff in one day. It was in the middle of Southern California, in vineyard country. And it was just, you know, safe. And it was just a small group of artists together and the crew, and it was a lovely time.

MW: Do you have any real-life DJing experience?

Harvey Guillén: Only in the car. [laughs] Like, when I’m sitting shotgun, which I hate to because I hate that responsibility because it can’t please everyone. My hat goes off to like people who are DJs. I have friends who are professional DJs and Trixie Mattel is a DJ. And I always like think, wow. It’s like, you try to please everyone. And you can’t please everyone at once. There’s always gonna be someone’s favorite DJ, and someone else like “Boo, kill the DJ,” you know? So it’s always just pleasing people. And it’s just like, I rather not. [laughs]

MW: You share scenes with Jillian Bell in the film. What was your favorite moment to shoot?

Harvey Guillén: I think the first time we lit up that jacket, I think that was just hilarious, just because at the door, there’s this DJ that you never met. You booked him ahead of time, and he shows up to your door. And he’s like, “Hey, I’m here to do you party!” And like, there’s no one there. And he’s like, “I can get my friends here like in 20 minutes.” [laughs]… [The character] DJ Twisted is cool, he’s known for doing the rounds, but I don’t know if he’s, like, booked all the time. And so I feel like this was a booking that he was really looking forward to. And then when he gets the opportunity… it’s literally just for him and for [Jillian Bell’s character]. And he’s watching her dance and gives her Molly, and everyone’s rolling off Molly. And it’s just funny to think that there are just these two people blasting music by the pool dancing to this.

MW: What’s it like working with Kyle Newacheck on this film and What We Do in the Shadows?

Harvey Guillén: He’s great. We had different directors the first season and we kind of welcomed Kyle. I think it’s interesting too, with Yana Gorskaya, who’s also our other director. They were lovely. And I think they won, you know, “overall favorites.” So we used to have like several directors in the season. And then we’re like, “They’re fantastic.” So we kind of split the season between two with an occasional episode being directed by like one of our DPs or our amazing stunt director, Tig [Fong], who’s directed a couple of episodes. But [with] Kyle, it’s so funny because I can sense the way they each direct, and I’ll mimic them because I know what direction they’ll make you go with something. But Kyle’s very laid back, like, “Yeah, man! Yeah, I like that. I like that.” And then each one of them is different. When you look at the script, you’re like, “Who’s directing this one?” So you know what approach they’re gonna take. And Kyle calls every take a “funsies.” Because usually on set, at the end of doing a scripted version, we’ll have a “funsies,” which is like, “Go fun!” Do whatever you want, ad-lib, whatever. And with Kyle, he’s like, “No, every take is a funsies.” [laughs]

MW: I love your character Guillermo on What We Do in the Shadows. What can you tell us about the new season?

Harvey Guillén: Guillermo finds himself at a crossroads of the last season’s finale, where he takes initiative and asks Derek to make him a vampire, and we end there And what comes after that, there’s all these elements of like, does he become a vampire? Is he willing to live his life behind? He has a family, has a mother that he’s been taking care of… So it’s all these questions that [the next] season will answer for everyone. And so it took us all the seasons, where we finally got here, we root for Guillermo. We know the world’s split. People love a**-kicking scenes and whatnot. And I love doing those scenes as well. So the question is, what can be a hybrid of that? And what can be possible?

I’m Totally Fine comes to us from DECAL Releasing.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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