Photo by DAVID
Take a boozing, misanthropic, skirt-chasing lead
singer of a popular rock band, and you have grist for a dark comedy.
As such, the wacky, self-sabotaging lead character in “Christopher
Darling,” a film written and produced by Milwaukeeans Scott Cary and
Martin Kaszubowski, met audiences for the first time at the 2016
Milwaukee Film Festival. Following its October debut, “Darling” then
received acclaim at the Boise (Idaho) and Great Lakes film
festivals. More such bookings are pending, much to the excitement of
the movie’s two producers.
The genesis of “Christopher Darling” was always an
extended work-in-progress. “Throughout college, I knew that I wanted
to make a feature right out of school — something with a lower
budget that had a genre hook to it,” explains Kaszubowski. He read
Charles Bukowski’s 1978 semiautobiographical “Women” and knew he
wanted to make something similar. Bukowski’s hedonistic hero has
little attachment to things or people, as does Darling. Also
impacting Kaszubowski’s filmic vision were such movies as “Bonnie
and Clyde” and “Black Moon,” a bizarre work directed by Louis Malle.
The summer before graduating from UW-Milwaukee, Cary
and Kaszubowski worked for The Rave/Eagles Club, distributing fliers
for the iconic Wisconsin Avenue music venue, and their jaunts around
town spurred a plethora of brainstorming sessions. Dreams
subsequently evolved into reality, and a film featuring a touring
entertainer was born. From their first exploration of themes onward,
the duo started hammering away at the computer keyboard, Kaszubowski
Photo by DAVID
Anti-hero Darling is not modeled after anyone
Kaszubowski knows personally, but the writer asserts there is
definitely influence from famous musicians with volatile
personalities, such as The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas and English
guerrilla guitarist/poet Pete Doherty. As far as his own
instrumental background goes, Kaszubowski playfully admits that he
played the saxophone — albeit terribly — in middle school. Cary
currently fronts the post-punk band Brat Sounds and wrote Darling’s
Scripting took about eight months, Kas-zubowski says.
The first five were spent developing the basic plot outline,
followed by a month of writing together almost every evening to
produce the full script. Additional months of refinement followed —
a long process because both Kaszubowski and Cary were finishing
college coursework and senior thesis films.
For the writing, the two lobbed scenes, characters
and dialogue to each other. “Basically, Scott focused on the details
while I focused on the big picture, though every line of action and
dialogue, as well as the ending, was argued over many, many times,”
says Kaszubowski. “We just trusted each other to be making the best
artistic choices for the film, and not to take anything personally.”
They counted on friends and colleagues from UWM’s
film program to fill out the crew, as well as tapping actors they
worked with previously. “This town has so many people who are
creative and passionate about independent film, and everyone is
willing to pitch in to make it happen here,” Kaszubowski adds. The
biggest challenges were maintaining a low budget and short schedule,
UWM theater grad John Glowacki stars in the title
role. The film was primarily shot at noted Milwaukee area musical
hot spots, including funky Shank Hall, Acme Records, Mad Planet,
Frank’s Power Plant and the always-popular Bremen Café.
“Darling” gains traction, Cary is working on a new album, and
Kaszubowski is writing a feature film and is in preproduction on
several shorts. For the latter of the two, creating is everything.
“We use art and stories to help give our lives meaning, fulfillment
and entertainment. And I genuinely believe that film is the ultimate
art form,” Kaszubowski says.