It was just after the third performance of Tammy Minoff’s very first play “Perennial” that she met the perfect guy. Relationships were already on her mind, having spent the previous two years working out the story of a painter named Rosemary and an architect named Tom who fall fast for each other, only to consider how serious to take things as they see Tom’s long-married friends hit a rough patch and a friend of Rosemary’s from high school reappears. But when she met producer Brad Zions, who was among the well-wishers to come up to her after the show that wanted to talk about the play in greater detail, she was smitten.
“We had all these really weird coincidences,” says Minoff, who soon learned that Zions hailed from just a town over from where she grew up in Larchmont, New York and had made the romantic comedies “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Ira & Abby” in the vein of her play. Naturally, it wasn’t long before he popped the question, “Would you like to adapt it?”
As you might have suspected, this wasn’t the start of a torrid romantic affair, but rather a professional one, and it was the second happy twist of fate for Minoff, who hadn’t really considered writing anything before “Perennial.” She likely wouldn’t have considered it at all if it hadn’t been for an acting exercise that required her to pen a scenario for herself and a scene partner about divorce. Yet after reading the scene for her fellow actors, the leader of the group, “The Mindy Project”’s Chris Messina encouraged her to keep going. Minoff hasn’t stopped working on it since, though in order to properly realize her vision on screen, she’s turned to Kickstarter to secure the final bit of financing for the project since rechristened “Rosemary’s Maybe,” launching a campaign that will run through February 14th.
“I would love to do for Los Angeles what Woody Allen has done for New York,” says Minoff, who plans to track Tom and Rosemary through all her favorite places in her adopted hometown, already shooting a teaser for the film to include in the Kickstarter pitch video on the top of a rooftop in Venice.
For Minoff, adapting the play into a film is an opportunity to explore both a side of the city and of relationships that she hasn’t seen herself on screen.
“A big part of this movie that is about looking back,” said Minoff. “I think we all do that, look back and [see] how memories are different from what they were [at the time of experiencing them] and how they become things we miss and love or how painful they actually were. We look back [now] and think, aw, that was a great moment.”
Buoyed by the positive response to the play, which had audience members ranging from single twentysomethings to married couples of 45 years coming up to her after the show, Minoff wanted to parlay the conversations she would have into “a discussion out in the world about what it means to be in a relationship, what it means to be in love.” Besides Zions, she has assembled an impressive production team that includes many from its theatrical staging in various production capacities including director Alexa Coblentz, producer Jonathan Sessler (“Starlet”) and actor Billy Aaron Brown reprising his role as Rosemary’s high school friend Leo. Having such trusted collaborators will help Minoff ease her way into the director’s chair, though the actress-turned-filmmaker said she was surprised with just how comfortable with the transition she already is.
“I’ve set up my own little film school the last several months, immersing myself in the world and talking to a couple of the trusted director friends who’ve done this,” said Minoff. “But I love working with actors. I’ve been coaching and teaching actors for the last six or seven years and that’s been my directing camp… I like the fluidity of being able to jump behind the cameras, then in front of the camera. It’s certainly not for everyone. There may be tears at some point. But I feel excited.”
Should the Kickstarter campaign be successful, Minoff is planning for an April shoot with a rough cut ready to submit to festivals by the fall. But she won’t be waiting for a festival premiere to throw herself a party, citing one of the scenes she’s most eager to film.
“There’s a scene that takes place in a Bar Mitzvah – there’s dancing, there’s 13-year-olds and all the characters are in it and as a girl who grew up going to a Bat Mitzvah every single weekend for an entire year of my life, I’m excited to try to capture some of that on screen,” says Minoff. “Leo’s character is the most requested Bar Mitzvah MC in Los Angeles, and it’s just such a great backdrop, but whenever I’ve seen it in a movie, I haven’t seen it done well.”
Of course, the more people Minoff can get to contribute to the film’s crowdsourcing campaign, the better the festivities will be and with everyone invited to the party, “Rosemary’s Maybe” is surely a bash you want to get to early.