Chicago native Haroula Rose burst onto the independent film world with her debut feature and festival darling Once Upon a River, and she has now wrapped production in Chicago on her sophomore film, the comedic drama All Happy Families. Rose has enlisted several notable fellow Chicagoans to join her on this journey. Oscar nominee and Chicago theatre cornerstone Michael Shannon is on board as Executive Producer, and screenwriter Coburn Goss teamed up with Rose to pen the screenplay. SCREEN sat down with Goss for an exclusive chat about the upcoming feature film.
A Chicago Collaboration Through and Through
It’s no small feat to bring a two-time Academy Award Nominee onto your independent feature as Executive Producer. “Michael and I have known each other through Chicago theatre. I sent him the script and he responded to it,” co-writer and producer Goss shared with SCREEN. “It was an early ‘shot in the arm’ for us I guess you could say, knowing how many scripts he probably reads.”
All Happy Families marks one of several recent hometown partnerships for Michael Shannon, who just wrapped his directorial debut, helming Chicago screenwriter Brett Neveu’s script Eric LaRue. Click here for SCREEN’s chat with Neveu about the project.
As for how the collaboration of fellow Chicagoans Goss and director/co-writer Rose transpired, Goss explained, “Haroula and I met when she cast me on Once Upon a River and we hit it off immediately. There’s a level of playful collaboration with Haroula that you don’t always find in film – it feels more like doing theatre. One day, she suggested we write a script and we were on our way!”
If you have yet to experience Haroula Rose’s debut drama Once Upon A River, here is the trailer and you can click here to watch the film in its entirety…
Co-Writer Goss Gives You a Glimpse of All Happy Families
What can viewers expect from All Happy Families? “Audiences will definitely recognize the family dynamics,” Goss shared with SCREEN. “Anyone who knows that feeling of going back to their childhood home and slipping into the same old patterns will relate with this movie. Also, we guarantee laughter.“
Speaking of laughter, Rose and Goss have brought some tremendous comedic talents to the project, led by Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Rob Huebel (The Descendants), and Becky Ann Baker (Girls). Chicago comedy great David Pasquesi, Second City veteran Antoine McKay, Chandra Russell (Southside), John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop), Colleen Camp, Ivy O’Brien, Natalija Nogulich, Lena Drake, Cassie Kramer, Eliza Shin, and Grammy-winning artist Rodney Crowell also star.
As for the premise of the indie feature, “Graham Landry (played by Radnor) is a sometimes-actor and sometimes-writer. He manages his family’s Chicago two-flat, badly,” Goss shared with SCREEN. “Meanwhile, his older brother, Will, is on a successful TV show. Essentially, Graham is stuck. And the one-two punch of Will showing up and Dana (an old college crush) wanting to rent his first floor apartment, is enough to jostle him from his stasis, if only he can get out of his own way.”
A Look at Production, Crew, and What’s Next
All Happy Families filmed in Chicago through July and August, centering mostly around the Irving Park and Andersonville neighborhoods.
Producing the project alongside Rose and Goss are Liz Cardenas, Ian Keiser, and Mary Munez. Production Design was led by Ania Bista, and the feature was lensed by Director of Photography Johanna Coelho.
What’s next for the film? Rose, Goss, and the team forge ahead into post-production, with a release date in 2023 to be announced. Post-production will be led by the fine folks at Chicago creative content powerhouse Optimus.
Check back here at SCREEN for updates on this feature film in the new year. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.