Reminiscent of the thriller THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, UP ON THE GLASS (released September 8 on BD, DVD and Digital)is about a wanderer named Jack DiMercurio who secretly desires the life and wife of his more affluent friend, Andy Shelton. Past tensions surface between the two men during an informal reunion at Andy’s cottage on Lake Michigan. One heinous act allows Jack to draw close to Andy’s wife Liz, but Jack finds living Andy’s life is a dangerous lie. We had the opportunity to speak to co-writer, producer and actress Nikki Brown about the stylish, suspenseful new film.
I firstly want to ask you about the name of your production company. Where does it come from?
It’s actually quite simple. My husband and creative partner Kevin Del Principe and I love dogs (we have two of them) and we care about all that is “wild”—creatures, places, and ideas.
Congrats on the film! Is the North American release the first time its been seen?
Thank you! It’s been a long journey of 6+ years in the making, so we are very excited to finally be able to share Up on the Glass with people across North America. The VOD release in September will be the first official time anyone will be able to see the film. To-date, we’ve only shared the film privately with colleagues, friends, family, and community members who helped us bring the film to life. When Kevin and I tied the knot last August we were able to privately screen the film at a lumberyard at one of the film’s locations. It was a great way to celebrate the collaborative effort of making the film with the local community who were such a big support to us.
What makes Jack DiMercurio tick?
Jack, like many of us, had a picture in his mind of the type of life he wanted for himself when he was young that, despite education and well-connected friends, he was never able to realize. When Jack sees his friend Andy living the life he always dreamed of, seemingly without having done anything to have earned it, he internalizes this bitterness. The arrogance of believing he deserves more at the expense of his friend leads him to make terrible and ultimately self-destructive choices.
Was the character inspired by anyone you know?
I think there is a piece of Jack that all of us can relate to. At the most basic level, all of us have seen others rise who perhaps don’t deserve it or have been passed over despite having done everything in our power to have earned that promotion, recognition, or reward. The way we respond ultimately determines our character, which is revealing for Jack in the film.
I guess Jack is a lot of us in some ways – – someone a bit lost. This year, I think many of us feel lost, out of touch and left behind.
Yes. If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that corporate, political, and financial systems have not been favorable to the everyday person. More than 30 million people in the United States are currently seeking unemployment and yet our government cannot find a way of helping them. Education is often talked about as a way to climb in this country, but the academic system has become another manifestation of capitalism wherein the students and their families are the consumers of a product that has become more and more expensive. Too many graduates are weighed down by debt and feel compelled to take jobs that will better enable them to pay it off rather than seeking career paths that are spiritually, intellectually, and artistically fulfilling. This is how we’ve ended up with a nation of lost people.
The story is a potboiler. I sense a bit of Patricia Highsmith in there? How much of an influence was Highsmith, and maybe, on your writing?
We were definitely inspired by Patricia Highsmith’s take on thrillers while writing Up on the Glass. It was our goal to build suspense primarily through character motivations and dramatic irony. Hitchcock was another big influence.
Another star of the film is the Midwest. How different a movie do you think this would be if it was produced in Hollywood?
I’m glad our treatment of place as character comes through. Sense of place is very important to both Kevin and me and informs the tone and emotion of the story. Many of the films that I appreciate elevate the setting as another star of the film. The Clouds of Sils Maria achieves this very well and is one of my favorite films. Up on the Glass would probably be an entirely different story if it had been made by a Hollywood studio.
You’re an actor too, I believe? Can you see yourself starring in a future project that Kevin directs and you produce together?
Yes, I play the supporting role of Kate in Up on the Glass! I could definitely see acting in another film that Kevin directs in the future.