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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 3, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 23
Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum discusses her new film Careful What You Wish For and working with Nick Jonas
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Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum discusses her new film Careful What You Wish For and working with Nick Jonas

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
Opens June 10


Careful What You Wish For is a new thriller starring Nick Jonas, who plays an attractive, young guy (Doug Martin) lusting after an older, married woman named Lena Harper, played by Isabel Lucas. The film, set for theatrical and on-demand release on June 10, also stars film veterans Dermot Mulroney and Paul Sorvino, plus relative newcomer Graham Rogers. Careful What You Wish For is directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, who also directed the feature film adaptation of the beloved children's book Ramona and Beezus and episodes of 'Gossip Girl,' 'Vampire Diaries' and '90210.' I caught up with Allen Rosenbaum this week by phone and here's what she shared with me about the film.

Albert Rodriguez: Have you ever been to Seattle?

Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum: I have, yes. I went to Bumbershoot, two times. I loved it! I had a short film that played there and we were given the passes and we got to see David Lee Roth high-kicking in fluorescent yellow pants with no shirt and we went to see Cake and Jack Black performing. It was unbelievable, like every minute was so exciting.

Rodriguez: What was it like to work with Nick Jonas?

Rosenbaum: He was terrific. We made this movie a couple of years ago. One of our distributors fell through and then we couldn't find anyone to release it, so he was 19 when we worked with him. It was his first movie. He was very excited, hard working and fun. He had a sense of humor about the whole thing and yet very serious about it; he went out and got an acting coach and was very careful with his transition into film acting.

Rodriguez: There are a few steamy scenes in this film and many actors say that sex scenes are challenging because they're filmed in front of a whole crew, so they're not as intimate as what we see on screen. What is it like for a director?

Rosenbaum: It's an awkward situation, where you're trying to make something that's provocative, and yet it's technical. Generally, you have a closed set with only the bare minimum of crew in there, which means that I become the sheep wrangler and the hair fixer because those scenes need to be seen as hot, so those scenes are really important. Isabel was a bit more nervous than Nick; Nick was game for anything and he was really good about making her feel comfortable.

Rodriguez: Was there a body double used for Nick?

Rosenbaum: Oh, no. I'm sure he wouldn't have consented to that (laughs).

Rodriguez: Another actor who's in this film is Dermot Mulroney, a veteran that's been in a lot of great movies. What was it like to work with him and had you met prior to this film?

Rosenbaum: I'd met him on a little indie project that didn't actually quite come to fruition, but I really liked him when I met him. He's generally cast in these affable and likeable roles, whether it be My Best Friend's Wedding, where he's the love interest, so I thought it was a nice change of pace for him to play someone who was more volatile and dangerous. He's got a really interesting look and voice, and because he was a veteran he was very gracious with the younger cast; I know he and Nick went golfing a couple of times and got to know each other. It was a nice energy.

Rodriguez: How long was the filming process, from first day of shooting to the wrap?

Rosenbaum: It was 24 days of shooting. They were short days, we didn't get large amounts of hours per day, and there was a lot of night shooting and water and boats, all of which are extremely slow. Sex scenes are slow, boats are slow on the water because if you're electrical the platform becomes so complex. But everything about it was laborious because it's a thriller and to have a short 24-day schedule was very challenging.

Rodriguez: Were there rehearsals prior to filming, or did the cast meet before to go over the script?

Rosenbaum: Because it was very low budget and the actors were doing it as more of a passion project - they had to squeeze it in between other things - I had one day of rehearsal, and I was already prepping in North Carolina, but I flew back to L.A. and spent a day in a conference room with Nick, Graham and Isabel, and we went through the script and did some improving [improvising] of the scenes to get into the headspace of the characters.

Rodriguez: Writers generate the work for directors and producers, so do you feel there's a need for more female writers to eventually have more female directors? And do you think there will be more female filmmakers in the future?

Rosenbaum: In this particular project, the producers were very keen on finding a female director and went out of their way to do so. I think people are very conscious about it and there's not an enormous pool. When I have free time, I teach at USC to help grow that pool of talent. I don't know about the writers situation; that's certainly the case in television, where the writers are in charge and do the hiring, but in feature films it's the other way around, it's the producers that have the say in hiring. So, I would say it's really important to have more female producers, if we're going to have more female directors.

Rodriguez: For anyone interested in directing, is it a must to attend film school?

Rosenbaum: I don't think so. It's really by choice. Some people feel it's good to have the structure of film school and some people are more self-disciplined. For me, it worked out well because it was long enough ago that it was harder to get your hands on equipment. It was predominately to have a couple of years in an incubator and really find my voice, but also to get my hands on the equipment.

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