Accomplished stage and screen actor Gerald McCullouch makes an impressive directorial debut with the new movie “Daddy,” currently making the film festival circuit.
The story at first glance seems to be one familiar to many of us as well as one that is comfortable for McCullouch as an actor to play: an older man develops a strong bond with a younger man. Think DILF or Daddy Bear. But McCullouch has played this type of role before – whether it be the “Bear City” movies or on stage in the plays “Daddy” and “Moonlight and Love Songs.”
But don’t dismiss the movie “Daddy.”
“Daddy” does sound like a story we’ve already seen and likely with McCullouch in the role. But the film contains some wonderful and beautiful performances as well as shows depth of character between McCullouch and his character’s life long friend, played to perfection by play writer/screenwriter Dan Via.
The two men’s friendship is as real as any male friendship you’d experience in real life. They are in many ways like an old married couple, knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and knowing when to lean on each other or let each other learn life’s lessons on their own. This friendship is the true core of the film and what makes the movie stand above similarly-themed productions.
But the title is “Daddy” so it does focus on a developing relationship between McCullouch and an enamored young intern that becomes fascinated by the TV personality that McCullouch plays.
The role of intern Tee is played by Jamie Cepero, so easy to hate in his mean role of Ellis in the cancelled TV series “Smash.” As one who loved “Smash,” Cepero had quite a job to do to win me over as i will never forget his sinister TV character.
Cepero is quite impressive in his role as the disturbed Tee, who keeps us biting our nails wondering if he’s going to go “Fatal Attraction” on McCullouch, while we slowly learn more about his back story. The more we learn, the more we understand him.
Additionally, while Via gives a strong and supportive performance as McCullouch’s best friend, he also opens up his successful play into a full realized movie, escaping the trappings of a lot of plays that become films in which they seem too talky. Via the writer adds more depth to the characters but also frees them from being confined to a three character drama.
With a background as a very emotionally driven actor, McCulllouch’s direction is able to capitalize on everyone’s performances to bring out that same quality from each member of his cast. His tenure as actor also helps McCullouch, to know when to linger on actor’s faces to benefit from their reactions and knowing when to set up a scene in order to know when time has passed and to move forward the story.
For a movie that you might walk into thinking is predictable, McCullouch pleasantly surprises and his “Daddy” is not one that should be passed over.
Keep up with the movie and its festivals and at www.daddythemovie.com.