Written by Jason Sciarrone | Posted by: Anonymous
A feature provided by the Boston Film/Video Foundation
We all love the cafeteria lady or auto mechanic who finally produces his or her first film or novel. There is something about the meteoric climb that is almost mystifying — the average Joe who is able to navigate and circumvent the gray areas where art, business, and lunch-dates collide with a brutish awkwardness.
Americans have always romanticized any David who was ever brave enough to face off against any Goliath. This is where we find Michael Connolly and the film he co-wrote and directed with John Stimpson, "The Gentleman from Boston." Connollys own background, six years as a state representative and nearly 15 as the Massachusetts Secretary of State, gave him a unique window to the inner workings of government and politics. So he did what any and every writer is told from conception. "Write what you know," and that is exactly what he did.
"The Gentleman from Boston" is an insiders look at youthful enthusiasm vs. deeply embedded corruption. It is the story of an eager young man from Roxbury who enters the state legislature with noble intentions and absolutely no idea as to what it is he is getting into. Connolly describes the film as a political, romance/drama interjected with humor.
Michael Connolly began to explore film as a mode of expression in the mid-80s. He took courses at BU, and did some work in documentaries. In 1992 he took a course at the BF/VF with Rhonda Richards. All of these he said were very positive experiences.
In 1994 when he left office he was able to devote more time to film. It was in the 90s that Connolly and his wife Lynda wrote the first draft of "The Gentleman from Boston." However the ball did not really start to roll until 1999 in Park City, Utah in a car rental office where Stimpson and Connolly met. Over the next year, they re-wrote the script and began to shoot, getting top actors from New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.
Connolly said that he never knew exhaustion until this project. They would work long days and then on the rare day off they would work some more. Despite this, there is nothing but praise from Connolly in regards to the project and the people he was able to work with. After shoots and the subsequent re-shoots, the film is now in post-production and it is already getting some attention. When will they have the first showing of the film? Its hard to say. Connolly learned that you must be ready to re-shoot anything at any stage of the production. Right now, however, their biggest concern is which festival, they will enter the film this fall.