On May 4, Brooks Brothers and Sharper Image hosted the New York premiere of director John Slattery's latest film "God's Pocket" at IFC Center. Slattery was wearing Brooks Brothers, of course. From the film: Peter Gerety, Bridget Barkan, Molly Price, Domenick Lombardozzi, Carmine Famiglietti and Joyce Van Patten all walked the red carpet.
They were joined by additional celebrity guests Cara Buono and Peter Thum, Talia Balsam, Jennifer Westfeldt, Justin Long, Debra Messing and Will Chase, Andrew Rannells, Julia Stiles, Margo Martindale, Sam Trammell, Megan Boone and Ryan Eggold, Mario Batali, Nanette Lepore, designer Rachel Antonoff, Annie Parisse, Michael Stuhlbarg, Paul Sparks and Anatof Yusef, David Chase, Thomas Matthews, Scott Cohen, Wesley Taylor, Ashley Austin Morris, Heather Matarazzo, Mike Doyle, and Todd and Megan DiCiurcio.
"God’s Pocket" concerns a tight-knit blue-collar community of the same name, and the colorful characters who reside there. Philip Seymour Hoffman (in one of his final performances) plays Mickey Scarpato, a man who lives a simple, but content existence there. One day, at his construction job, his stepson Leon dies under suspicious circumstances. The official story is that it was an accident, and that something fell on him. Mickey’s wife, Joan (Christina Hendricks), suspects foul play, which prompts him to investigate.
The tone is of the film is combines breezy comedy with heavy drama and sudden, shocking violence. It’s slightly reminiscent of a Coen Brothers film, tonally. Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a fine, restrained performance here, full of subtle notes of sadness and resignation, which is bittersweet to watch. He undeniably had more great performances left in him. This is also the directorial debut of actor John Slattery ("Mad Men"). He wrote the script with Alex Metcalf. It is based on Pete Dexter’s novel of the same name.
Read our exclusive interview with John below:
Q: What attracted you to the source material?
John Slattery: The world was so vividly captured. Each character was specific to him, or herself, distinctly expressive, funny. A little bit of violence. The sense of humor though was what [I liked]. The tone of the humor was what I was attracted to. It was the tone, which then became the most difficult thing to maintain.
Q: Did you have these actors in mind as you were writing the script?
John Slattery: I had certain people in mind but really I’d learned earlier … I’d been on the other side of a lot of small movies. Things fall apart. Things change direction. I didn’t want to get embedded in any one image. I was gonna shoot in Philadelphia. I couldn’t afford it. We shot in New York. Peter [Gerety] played a part that initially was someone else, and something happened, that person didn’t do it that it worked out like this because Philip and Peter had known each other forever and Richard Jenkins knew Peter so it’s one of those accidents that you have to be open to, which is difficult on a short schedule.
Q: How did your experience as an actor impact your directing?
John Slattery: I just know from the other side, what you want is something evocative. You want a note that’s going to spark your imagination. You don’t want necessarily to be told exactly where to turn, smile, look, you know, and how to read each line because then you’ll just be playing someone else’s interpretation. You want something that’s gonna help you figure it out yourself.
Following the New York screening, guests headed over to Bar Nana for Dark Horse wine, Qui Tequila cocktails and canapés. This week there was also an LA premiere for the film also hosted by Brooks Brothers and Sharper Image. That event was held at LACMA. Slattery was joined by co-writer Alex Metcalf, Christina Hendricks, and Eddie Marsan.
Additional celebrity guests included Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, Kiernan Shipka, Vincent Kartheiser, Jay Ferguson, Robert Morse and creator Matthew Weiner, The National’s Matt Berninger, Chris Messina, Alexis Bledel, Sam Trammell and Missy Yager, Emily Mortimer and John Gallagher Jr.
We also spotted Jon Tenney, Dana Delany and Geoffrey Arend, David Krumholtz, Spencer Grammer, Michael Patrick King, Brian Geraghty, Leven Rambin, Michaela Watkins and Natalie Morales, Kate Flannery, Clark Gregg, Jennifer Grey, Clark Duke, Jess Weixler, Mitch Glazer and Kelly Lynch, Zoe Lister-Jones and Majandra Delfino, Daryl Wein. Following the LA screening, guests made their way over to The Church Key where they sipped on Purity Vodka cocktails and snacked on canapés.
"God’s Pocket" opens in limited release on May 9.
Anthony Calamunci contributed reporting.