On Tuesday, the New York Film Academy screened the newest film from Gabe and Alan Polsky, The Motel Life. This was The Bad Lieutenant producing brothers’ directorial debut, starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, and Dakota Fanning. After the screening, students and alumni were treated to a panel consisting of Emile, Stephen, Gabe and Alan. Instructor Ben Cohen moderated the event, which turned out to be a full house of entertained students.
The film, which opens in theaters and On Demand this Friday, focuses on a pair of down and out brothers who must flee their hometown of Reno after a fatal hit-and-run accident. Shot on 35mm, The Motel Life brings us back to a time in cinema when filmmakers didn’t have to rely on explosions, comic book characters or exotic locations. The characters dealt with a lot of internal conflicts, though Stephen’s character was also dealing with an obvious physical dilemma. “We wanted the film to have a timeless classic feel,” said director, Gabe Polsky.
Emile and Stephen were quite taken with the material and signed on immediately after reading. Working with the first time directors was a very pleasant experience for both actors. “They were very smart about putting all of the elements together,” said Emile Hirsch. Emile admitted to the fact that he had actually lived in motels at the age of 12, so this was something very personal to him.
In order for Stephen to prepare for the role (his character loses his right leg), he spent time with amputees to see what it was like to live with such a disability. He told the students how moving and inspiring their stories were, and how much it helped him prepare for the part of Jerry Lee.
The acting duo were flowing with personality and humor throughout the evening, and had the entire room engaged. Each guest even spent time shaking hands and speaking privately with several students after the Q&A.