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FEATURED ARTICLE to read another of our magazine articles from August 2000. Official Fan Club member Miriam writes her memories of 10 years of the fan club.)

This interview with Jordan Brady, the Director of "Waking Up in Reno" was featured in our August 2000 Official Fan Club magazine. Although the release of the film has been postponed until later this year, Mr Brady agreed we could feature our interview with him on our site and we hope everyone enjoys it!

"Waking Up in Reno" was recently screened at the Reno Film Festival in February 2002 and Mr Brady told us "Reno went great! Outta sight crowd. Big laughs!" The evening was a big success - this movie has to be seen!!!

Our Exclusive Interview with Jordan Brady, Director of "Wakin' Up in Reno"

It's not every day you get the "low-down" on a movie from its famous Hollywood Director - so here, just for you, is an exclusive interview with a fellow fan, Jordan Brady! He kindly sent over photos for you to see - taken by Elliot Marks.

Jordan Brady was a stand-up comedian for eight years and has hosted shows for MTVand NBC. In 1994 he founded the company "Brady Oil Entertainment". They created and produced original comedy programming for Viacom companies such as Nickelodeon, Paramount, and MTV. Jordan Brady has directed short films and documentaries and now feature films. One of his best known films, "Dill Scallion" is a spoof comedy which combines his 10 years experience directing real people, comedic actors and celebrities. He has worked his magic again with "Wakin' Up in Reno"!

Official Fan Club: You've had a lot of experience behind the camera, but mostly with TV and short films, so when you're working with feature film actors such as Patrick who are "new-to-you", do you do anything special to gain their trust in you as a Director?

Jordan Brady: I first earned Billy Bob Thornton's trust, because he screened my first movie "Dill Scallion" before agreeing to be in the project. He understood that even though it was a spoofy comedy, I treated the characters with respect and dignity. So having Billy Bob (already a Producer on the film) like me and my work was a headstart in earning trust from the others. When talking to Patrick, I tried to have no secrets as to my agenda for the film and his character. I think by listening to what each individual wanted for themselves, from this project, earned trust.

OFC: Tell us about getting to know Patrick and Lisa - had you met them before?

JB: I met Patrick thru my agent, everybody at William Morris wanted us to meet. He had a real twist for the character of "Roy". After that, everyone at Miramax went crazy for Swayze. I met Lisa thru Patrick while shooting. She turns heads just quietly entering a room.

OFC: Do you think experience in front of the camera makes you a better Director?

JB: Yes, I have an understanding of that energy one gets from performing. I go out of my way to created a realistic environment and an actor-friendly set, as to allow the actors to become their characters. I think they appreciate it and the work goes up a notch.

OFC: A lot of the filming of "Wakin' Up in Reno" is on location - and one of your best known works "Dill Scallion" was also much "on the road" - do you prefer working like that in the real world as opposed to on a sound stage?

JB: I prefer the road to start a project for many reasons. It gets cast and crew away from everything else. Dinner dates, power lunches, etc. We started "Wakin' Up In Reno" in Amarillo and there was nuthin' to do but work and be together. The four stars hung out together for the first time the night before filming and bonded. I also like to put the characters in the real environment that they'd live in. Sure you can design and build a set to rival the Big Texas Steak House, and fill it with Hollywood extras, but that doesn't match the feeling of really being there with the real Amarillo folks. (Who were great, by the way).

OFC: When you were filming in the "Biggest little city" of Reno - were the crowds in the casino or on the street for example a help to the atmosphere and the reality of the scenes?

JB: Only problem was Patrick's fame. I tried sneaking shots in the casino without calling action, so real people wouldn't gawk. But someone would end up pointing out Patrick. I tried to tell the studio that "Roy" was very popular in Reno!

OFC: How much of the responsibility for casting a movie is yours?

JB: I worked closely with Miramax casting the leads. They have relationships with talent that you couldn't get to, other places. Watch out for the "bellhop" - he's in every movie I've done and is hilarious.

OFC: When you are considering someone for a role, do you look at their previous work, or just go on your feelings and a reading or screentest?

JB: I go a bit off previous work, of course. But moreover, it is a gut feeling that he/she and I want to make the same movie. Tonally, etc. I also explain my shooting style, which can be chaotic. Also, do I want to spend three months with them? The Swayze, in addition to being an excellent actor, is also a huge box office draw. That does figure into it.

On location somewhere in Nevada, Jordan Brady directs
"Wakin' Up in Reno". (Photo by Elliot Marks)

(Click for larger image)

OFC: Are there any amusing incidents / pranks played, or stories from the filming that involved Patrick and that you'd like to share with us?

JB: Patrick was always - and I mean always - keeping the energy and humor up on set. But on one particularly stressful day, an hour after he was wrapped, Patrick rode up to set on his electric scooter, wearing a bathrobe, a long redneck wig and buck teeth. He circled the crew a few times and then disappeared. His timing was perfect! We all had a laugh and were recharged to finish our work.

OFC: Is your word "law" on set as Director, or would you ever take suggestions from experienced movie actors such as Patrick?

JB: Being a filmmaker means using the best ideas for your movie. I was lucky to be surrounded by experience, so why not use it and take credit for it. All four stars gave me everything I wanted, even if they had a different idea for the scene. But I always try to give them an alternate take to try something different. Billy Bob, being an acclaimed director/writer, was helpful in the shooting. I also used many of his crew, all the best in the biz. Natasha Richardson knew the script inside and out and, having grown up on sets and stages, helped me keep the show running. Charlize Theron was a true professional and trusted my sense of comedy and really would "go for it". Patrick was a tremendous ally. He understands story and structure inside and out. He always knew where "Roy" was emotionally, which helps when shooting out of order. Moviegoers will be able to pick up on the subtleties of his characters. And Patrick is also taped into what an audience needs from a story. He pointed out a need for a resolution between "Roy" and "Candy" (Charlize) the first time we met.

OFC: We know Patrick has a good sense of humour and he showed a talent for comedy in "To Wong Foo.." - does "Wakin' Up in Reno" develop this talent?

JB: To me, Patrick has always played the Big Hero. In "Reno" his character is second fiddle to "Lonnie Earl" for most of the film. If you read the script, you would rightfully assume the Swayze was going to play "Lonnie Earl" - and he could have - too easily. But instead, Patrick plays "Roy" na´ve and sweet, dim-witted not dumb, and gets some of the biggest laughs in the movie. I also encouraged ad-libbing, since Patrick, a Texan, grew up with these types of people folks. Most of Roy's asides and good ole boy phrases in the film are Patrick's ad-libs or stuff we'd come up with together on the fly.

Director Jordan Brady on set with legendary
Cinematographer William A. Fraker. (Photo by Elliot Marks)

(Click for larger image)

OFC: Apart from an excellent cast and Director, what is special about "Wakin' Up In Reno" that is going to make it the blockbuster we all hope for?

JB: "Wakin' Up In Reno" is a comedy about life-long friends and how they deal with a serious situation. The wonderful mixture of drama and humor makes it very special. It is my pride and joy. (I don't mean to sound so sappy, but it is good!)

OFC: We know Billy Bob Thornton and Patrick were already friends - do you think that friendship helped or hindered their working together or interpretation of their characters?

JB: Billy Bob Thornton and the Swayze make "Lonnie Earl" and "Roy" have a relationship that you buy from the moment they are on screen together. Two Hollywood good ole boys playing two good ole boys that grew up together. Can't ask for anything better than that.

OFC: Can you tell us what your next project will be?

JB: My next project..........hmmm? Still deciding while I finish "Reno" and then going to shoot more scenes for "The Third Wheel" starring Denise Richards, Luke Wilson with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Miramax bought it right before I shot "Reno".

Jordan Brady with Producer Dwight Yoakam.
(Photo by Elliot Marks)

(Click for larger image)

Photos by Elliot Marks supplied by Jordan Brady. It was great that Mr Brady took time out from a busy schedule to give us the scoop on "Wakin' Up in Reno". Thank you very much from the Official Fan Club, and we are all looking forward very much to seeing "Reno"!

Please note this interview with Jordan Brady is copyright of the Official Patrick Swayze International Fan Club and that the photos are copyright Elliot Marks.