On the latest episode of TheWrap‘s popular series “Drinking with the Stars,” Chris Lowell, the co-writer and director of “Beside Still Waters,” sat down with film reporter Jeff Sneider to discuss his directorial debut, which is currently in theaters and available on iTunes/VOD.
Lowell and Sneider enjoyed drinks at Aventine Trattoria in Hollywood, where the “Private Practice” and “Veronica Mars” alum revealed his strategy in casting the ensemble, which includes his one-time USC roommate Beck Bennett of “Saturday Night Live” fame, and why he decided not to take a role in the film.
Lowell also discusses his passion for photography, the meaning of the film’s title and his inspiration for one scene involving his college drinking game, Whiskey Slaps.
“Beside Still Waters,” tells the story of a young man whose parents recently died in a car accident but no one comes to the funeral, so he invites everyone who didn’t show up to celebrate his family in their former house. “Over the course of the few days, they slip back into their adolescent selves,” he explains.
When asked why now is the right time to make the jump behind the camera, Lowell said, “It just happened and I stayed on the train with it.”
The challenge with making a film about reuniting old friends was not to fall into the trap of making the “‘Big Chill’ for the Millennial Generation,” and instead write an authentic and universal story. Part of that process was also not casting well-known faces, “I really wanted to put together a really strong ensemble of lesser known actors,” said Lowell.
After saying they “partied pretty hard” during filming, the director revealed the rules for Whisky Slaps, warning: “This is a terribly bad idea we’re about to partake in, by the way,” before getting slap-happy with Sneider.
Watch the video to see Lowell and Sneider taking shots and slapping each other in the face.