Screenwriter Shane Weisfeld is proof positive that in the filmmaking business, talent can ultimately win out. It may take a little time, and the path may not be the traditional one (although non-traditional is becoming more and more common these days), but with a good idea and perseverance, you can get your script sold and made into a movie.
Weisfeld is a first-generation product of the blockbuster generation. The Toronto native was born in 1974 and came of age as the VCR became a ubiquitous appliance in North American households; he was able to watch and absorb 1970s classics like “The Godfather,” “Three Days of the Condor,” and “Chinatown” on home video while also seeing movies like the original “The Karate Kid” (a movie about which he did a high school project) and admiring their aesthetics and impact.
It took about three years for Weisfeld’s script for “Freezer,” which he co-wrote with Tom Doganoglu, to make it in front of cameras. Weisfeld’s own movie pedigree was clearly influenced by the taut crime thrillers of the 1970s. The film, directed by Mikael Salomon, tells the story of Robert (Dylan McDermott), a seemingly average guy who finds himself with a pretty non-average problem: he is locked in a restaurant’s walk-in freezer by Russian mafia types who believe that he owes them eight million dollars in an extreme case of mistaken identity. McDermott, who is in every scene of the movie, gives a great performance as an everyman who is confronted by extraordinary circumstances.
Robert finds himself in the freezer with Sam (Peter Facinelli), a mysterious stranger. As the temperature drops and becomes an increasing threat to their survival, the two have to figure out what went wrong and how they can get out.
With McDermott and Facinelli, “Freezer” boasts a solid cast alongside an interesting visual presentation. In this week’s episode of the podcast I talk with Weisfeld about how he gained representation and sold his first screenplay while living miles from Hollywood.
You can also read a transcript of this episode.
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