I had the opportunity recently to speak to Dumb Luck director Jonathan Popalis about the film, as well as WWE Hall of Famer Edge's involvement in the project. You can also support the film by contributing to Dumb Luck's IndieGogo campaign.
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Tell us about the film Dumb Luck
"Oh gosh, where do I start? Dumb Luck was a book by an author named Leslie Choice that I found a few years ago. It's about a kid in a small town, who on his 18th birthday decides to buy a lottery ticket and wins $3 million, and turns his life upside down. I loved the book, and I've made it kind of my personal mission to make it a movie. Slowly but surely, it's all coming together. This past summer we shot a short film version of it, and hopefully next summer we'll be making a feature film of it. I co-wrote the screenplay with my friend Aaron Yeger who co-wrote Sleeping Giant, which has done very well.
What's that process like to take a short and make it bigger?
"Lord, it's different every time. The theory right now is we make a short film that stands on its own that tells a short version of this story. We try to make this short as good as possible. Top tier talent in front and behind the camera. I've been a commercial director in Toronto for years, and done shorts on my side and developed contacts on the side. The goal now is that we're trying to get it to film festivals. We're trying to get it into Sundance. Not that it'll get in, but once it's there, you start looking for investors and packaging companies, and getting people that like a 12 minute short to help us turn it into 90 minutes. "
That has to be a constant hustle.
"Oh yeah. It's being produced through a company called Nine Light. We have Pasha Patricki who has his own company and then Aaron. They're doing that kind of hustle. Meeting people, talking to people at the Toronto Film Festival and Austin. That's all it is. Meeting people and contacts. Hopefully the short film will end up speaking for itself."
I like the creative casting, getting familiar faces on a smaller project. You have Dylan Everett from Supernatural on the project.
"Pasha is also a director of photography, an amazing cinematographer who has done a lot of work on feature films. When he puts his name on something, he starts attracting a lot of talent. One of the amazing talents we got was a great casting director, who we can't really name. She sort of did a side thing for us and got us in contact with agents and casting directors. That can only get you talking to agents, you have to send out the scripts, too. When I talked to all the actors they said they wanted to do this. From Dylan to Adam (Edge) to Anna. For Adam (Edge) it was a role that he never gets to play. I think they were really jacked and on board."
You mentioned Edge. How did the idea of bringing him on come along?
"I'm a gigantic wrestling fan. I'm still up on it, and I'm a huge Edge fan. I was there when he won his first Intercontinental Championship from Jeff Jarrett. I was there going crazy because they never changed championships at house shows. I've watched his whole career. He's a great character and a great actor. There was an action movie I was kind of working on and his name was floated around. I'm a fan of his on Haven as well, he's fantastic on that. Somehow I was able to have a conversation with his agent. I'd always pictured someone like Adam for this character. A super tough guy, because the character is someone who used to be a super-alpha male, where life has kept them down into a blue-collar schmo, but remembers his days of being an alpha guy. Adam sprung to mind, and I told his agent. Before I got to producers, I talked to his agent, and they said it was exactly what they were looking for. It wasn't Adam blowing people up or going into space or being a cop, it's a real person. The ball kept rolling from there and he came on board. He was amazing. It was very cool to see him in person."
He's much bigger in person than people realize.
"Yeah, I'm like 6'5, and he was just an inch shorter than me, but way bigger. He doesn't look like a big guy standing next to The Rock or Batista, but it makes you realize how big those guys are because Adam's huge."
Is this project something he had to get permission from WWE for?
"No. He's done there. He's not affiliated with WWE in any capacity. He's kind of his own guy doing his own thing. He's an actor first or foremost."
Did you know going in that you could get a pro wrestling demographic with him?
"Yes and no. You want to cast who's the best person for the part. If we really wanted wrestling fans on, we'd have had him blowing something up. This is nothing like any wrestling fan has seen Adam do before, which I think is great. I knew he was capable of doing it and he was great. You'll see it in the short, and he's more than likely going to be in the feature as well, so that's really exciting."
He's been one of the better success stories in acting after wrestling.
"When you hear him talking about how he walked away from wrestling, how many guys ever really do that? How many guys have an injury and say 'well, I'm done now?' A lot of guys go like Ric Flair and grind themselves into the ground. I love Ric Flair, but Adam was at a place where he could shift gears and he went and did it. He loves acting. My first conversation talking to him about craft an acting, it wasn't like talking to someone doing it for the first time. He knew what he was doing, it was very impressive."
I think that stigma of pro wrestlers and acting is going away. We see more wrestlers involved in it than ever.
"I agree. I found that an odd stigma. These are guys who are creating characters and acting in live shows 2-4 hours a week for years. That's more acting experience than anyone else. Why wouldn't these guys know how to act? It's their job. Whether it's stunt acting, or creating compelling storylines, they're amazing, top-tier actors who go live in front of millions of people all the time."
Can you confirm or deny that Edge plays the kazoo while on set?
"(laughs) No kazoo. He was a professional on set, just the nicest guy. The whole set was buzzing, Dylan Everett in particular, who is a huge wrestling fan. Dylan was even telling me he had to make sure he held it together in these scenes. So often you want to break out and say 'I'm a huge fan.' He's a super fun guy, but no kazoos, I wish."
What's the timeline like for the movie
"Hopefully we start shooting the feature next summer. The short is done. The next step is an IndieGogo campaign to raise money and awareness. I'm not expecting to make the budget of the movie on the Indie Gogo, but it's to get people involved and excited about the project."
Where can the fans learn more about you and the movie?
Don't forget, if you'd like to support Dumb Luck, you can visit their IndieGogo page.