On Tuesday, Aug. 5, fashion house Tommy Hilfiger and Dark Horse wine hosted the New York premiere of Magnolia Pictures' "Frank" at Landmark Sunshine theater. The film is an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
From the film: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson, Francois Civil, Carla Azar, director Lenny Abrahamson, and author/co-screenwriter Jon Ronson all walked the red carpet. Read our exclusive interviews below:
So what attracted you to this movie and what did you love about the script?
Michael Fassbender: It was a very original piece and I found some really funny moments in there and then some really human moments and some really touching moments ... thought it was quite poignant as a whole. And it was just so unusual that I was intrigued by this group of musical sort of misfits, outcasts, and guys that live sort of on the fringes. Yeah, it just really engaged me.
What was it like to have to act with the mask on for pretty much the entire movie?
MF: Yeah, I liked it.
Did you have to change anything fundamental about your acting?
MF: Really, I didn't have to change anything. Just roll out of bed, put the head on, and get to work. (laughs)
Director Lenny Abrahamson
What was the most important aspect in making "Frank"?
Lenny Abrahamson: That they do really operate as a band. They could play together, they're playing a song tomorrow on the Colbert Report, they're playing a song live. You know, the idea of creating a believable band, isn't something you create just for the movie using smoke and mirrors. They can really play and the music's great, and a lot of that really comes down to Stephen Rennicks, the composer, and also really down to the commitments of the actors, to really learn what they were doing and really take seriously being in a band. So the band in the movie wasn't a joke. There's a lot of funny stuff about it, but it's actually a pretty good band.
Was it a really difficult balance how selfish Jon was to the audience?
LA: What we do is we sort of play it for laughs at the beginning. So, his idiotic kind of search for stardom plays quite lightly, and then I think what we do is just drain a little bit of the silliness out of that and it becomes something realer. I think by that stage the audience does care about him as a character. I think it stands to Domhnall, and his strength as an actor. He manages a despicable character in a way that you can't help feeling for him. Partially because we all recognize that level of smallness. We all have the capacities to be very small and in our careers to be very selfish. So it's something we can all identify with.
Your next film is titled "Room." Is there anyone casted besides Brie Larson?
LA: No, nobody confirmed yet that I can talk about. But some really, really interesting people that I like think will do it. So it'll be good.
Can you tell me a little about your role in the film?
Carla Azar: I play a drummer, and my name in the film is Nana, the character's name. And I am the one band member that really doesn't speak at all. Except one scene I finally speak. So I'm very quiet and shy and I just do my job.
So what made you want to be a part of this movie?
CA: Well, I never thought about acting, and I actually didn't want to do it when I heard about it because I didn't know anything about it. And then to be honest, I found out Michael was in it. And he's one of my favorite actors. So I thought, okay, I'll read the script. And then I read it, and I was laughing out loud. It was so funny. And the fact that I didn't speak in most of it was like, "Okay, I can do that and pull it off. Hopefully. Maybe."
So what's coming up next for you?
CA: I'm finishing a record with my band Autolux.
Additional celebrity guests included The White Stripes’ Jack White, Guns N’ Roses’ Frank Ferrer, Ramone’s Marky Ramone, Guster’s Ryan Miller, MGMT’s Benjamin Goldwasser, Bikini Kills’ Kathleen Hanna and Kathi Wilcox, Paul Haggis, Whit Stillman, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Shannon, Stefano Tonchi, Zoe Kravitz, Tali Lennox, Alia Shawkat, Dominic West, screenwriter Michael Weber, Jessica Williams, John Gallagher Jr, Amir Arison, Mimi Gianopulos, Amy Heckerling, Cleo Wade, DJ Becka Diamond, artist Todd DiCiurcio, Hilfiger models Julia Hafstrom, RJ King, and Arthur Kulkov, Michael Medugno, AndrewAndrew, Wesley Taylor, Maggie Betts, Andrew Bevan, Carlen Altman, Max Osterweis, Kate Foley and Arden Wohl
Following the screening, guests headed across town to The Westway where the band/cast performed “I Love You All” from the film. Guests snacked on canapés and drank Red Bull cocktails. "Frank" hits theaters on Aug. 15, 2014. It is 94 minutes.