The heavily anticipated & controversial film directed by Nick Searcy, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, is set to hit theaters next month on Oct. 12 and looks to be hitting all of the marks for some serious success.
It is the film that Hollywood didn’t want to touch – but producers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer (FrackNation, Not Evil Just Wrong,) Searcy and Dean Cain did.
We recently caught up with director and Justified’s actor Nick Searcy on his dual roles in the film and how it came to be. We also chat a bit about his lengthy career and guess what folks – he’s hilarious!
However, the subject of the film is not. Most of us remember the shocking and horrific case of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell who found himself in a world of trouble after his unspeakable “practices” were discovered. From extremely unsanitary conditions to actually killing living babies after they’ve been birthed (just to name a few atrocities Gosnell carried out.) For those who are unfamiliar, you can do your own research for further details – just prepare your stomach.
However, for the movie you won’t need to.
In a wise decision by the filmmakers – they don’t go after the low-hanging fruit of gore, the film itself will actually be a courtroom drama. In fact, let’s take a look at the official trailer.
After being kidnapped by the Acting Police in the fifth grade for his abilities, he got the acting bug and hasn’t looked back since. Let’s take a look.
Before we jump into your new movie, tell us what originally gave a guy from Cullowhee, North Carolina the desire to get into acting?
I was an early reader, so in my kindergarten and early grades, whenever there was a pageant or a church play, the teacher would always give me the biggest part because I could read. Cullowhee is a university town, Western Carolina University, so when the theatre department there needed a 12 – year old boy in a production of William Saroyan’s short play Coming Through the Rye, they came and got me. That was fifth grade. In the 6th grade, I did another role in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. By then, I was hooked.It’s all I ever wanted to do after that.
Now let’s talk about one of your latest projects, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer. It is set to be released just next month and is heavily anticipated by many. You not only direct, but also have a role in the film. Tell us about your dual roles and how you came to be involved in the film.
I was involved in making a video ad for the Indiegogo campaign. After the $2.3M had been raised, I was asked by the producers if I knew of any directors that might be interested. I referred a couple of very successful directors to them, people I had enjoyed working with in the past, and for whatever reason, they didn’t work out. The producers asked me again if I knew anybody else, and I said, “I directed a feature film a few years ago, would you like to see it?” They watched Paradise Falls, and asked me if I wanted to direct Gosnell.
While we were working on the shooting script, I would jokingly refer to the Cohan role as “my part,” because I love playing the bad guy, and I was the right age, etc. I would always read his lines when we were working on the scenes. Then when it came time to shoot it, I think it was just already in everybody’s head that I was going to play that part, including mine, so I did. Plus, it was a good business decision. It saved the production money, since they didn’t have to fly in another actor, and I was going to be on set anyway. And it saved time, since I didn’t have to tell myself what to do, because I already knew what I wanted me to do, and I didn’t argue with myself.
The Kermit Gosnell case is without a doubt one of the most grim, gruesome, and fascinating cases that America has seen in recent years. However, instead of focusing on the gore and bloody details it’s been said that the film will rather be a courtroom drama. Can you elaborate?
We wanted to make this movie about the people who caught and convicted Gosnell rather than to glorify him in any way. I always felt there were three key aspects to the story: 1) What Gosnell did, 2) Why he was allowed to do it for decades, and 3) Why nobody wanted to talk about it after he was caught. We also wanted to make a movie that was not too gruesome to watch. I didn’t want this to be a horror movie, because I felt the subject matter was too important. We wanted it to be an instructive, informative thriller. When we got a PG-13 rating, I was very proud.
While researching a case as disturbing as this one, was there anything in particular that shocked you the most?
I found the most compelling and “shocking” part of the script is when Gosnell’s defense attorney interrogates an abortion doctor who runs a clean clinic where abortions were done legally, unlike Gosnell’s hellhole, and Cohan takes her through the steps of a legal abortion. I did not know the details of what happens in the procedure, and I doubt most people do. It wasn’t “shocking” in a horror movie sense, just the sense of discovery. I just didn’t know. And I hope the movie has that effect on others.
You’ve appeared in many roles over the years from CSI, Runaway Jury, and Justified to name just a few. While you have a sea of work behind you to choose from, what have been some of your favorite roles?
Justified of course. My role in the sitcom Rodney was the best job, just in terms of sheer fun, that I’ve ever had. Loved working with del Toro in The Shape of Water. But every role is a gift. I’ve loved almost every one of them, with a few exceptions. 😉 And of course, playing Frank in Fried Green Tomatoes was the best and will never be equalled in my little world, because it was the first time I had an important principal role, and that movie will be around forever. It was the role that allowed me to have a career.
Anything in particular that you like on TV lately? Any favorites?
I never miss WWE Monday Night Raw. And I love Netflix’s Last Chance U, as well as I Am A Killer. It’s hard for me to watch shows with actors in them, because 1) I know everybody and 2) all I ever think about it is “why am I not in this?”
Now on to something important! What’s one of the funniest moments or shenanigans that you’ve had on set behind-the-scenes that fans never got to see?
Once on Justified, there was a scene where I was supposed to walk into a scene with a file and say to Olyphant and Jacob Pitts: “We’ve got a guy on the run, he can’t have gotten far. Who wants it?” or something like that.
Any way, I had a visitor on the set that day, military veteran Brian Meyer, who is a Purple Heart recipient and has a prosthetic leg. Brian had a great sense of humor, so he took off his leg and let me carry it into the scene.
So in one take I walk into the scene with a full prosthetic leg, and I say “We’ve got a one-legged fugitive on the run. He can’t have gotten far. Who wants it?”
And of course, hilarity ensued.
We bet it did! To find out more about the film you can visit http://www.gosnellmovie.com/ and find Nick on Twitter here.Follow us on Facebook here and on Twitter here.
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