Different Flowers : An Interview

Different Flowers is about sisters and new beginnings and finding oneself at a crossroads. This dramedy stars Emmy Award-winning Shelley Long, Emma Bell, and Hope Lauren who all find themselves in different places in life, but each of them help the other discover what it means to love completely.  It opens in select cities September 29th, 2017. 

Who are you and what do you do? 

 Morgan Dameron - Director and Writer of Different Flowers

Morgan Dameron - Director and Writer of Different Flowers

My name is Morgan Dameron and I’m a filmmaker. Most recently I wrote and directed my first feature film, Different Flowers.

What inspired the story of Different Flowers? 

I wanted to make a movie that I wanted to see when I was growing up. It’s fun, heartfelt, and explores a relationship that’s very central in my life – that of sisters.

Why was it important to tell this story about two sisters? 

I have two younger sisters, and though we are all extraordinarily close, we have vastly dissimilar personalities. For example, as you know I’m a filmmaker, mostly spending time in the creative realm, one of my sisters is currently in med school and the other is attending Dartmouth. We couldn’t be more different, but even when we disagree, there’s a specific and strong bond between us. I hadn’t seen enough of that specific relationship on screen. It’s such a fascinating push and pull relationship, and I wanted to explore that dynamic.

 

Do you think female stories that have to do with just sisters is uncommon in this era? The film has to do with romance, but it's not exactly the common "boy meets girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after" 

There have been some great sister stories on film before, but not nearly enough. I wanted to play with expectations of what you think would typically happen in a female-driven movie, and turn some of those character tropes upside down. Because sister-driven stories are unique, it felt appropriate to have the other characters be unique as well.

 (Left) Shelley Long as  Grandma   Mildred,  Hope Lauren as  Emma Haven,  and Emma Bell as  Millie Haven

(Left) Shelley Long as Grandma Mildred, Hope Lauren as Emma Haven, and Emma Bell as Millie Haven

What inspired the music/fx choices? In times there was just silence, which seemed more powerful than the music.

Music is always on my mind when I’m writing, and especially in this story, the sound was critical. Millie’s journey takes her from this emotionally fraught, hectic moment in the city out to the expansive, quiet country. Music also unites the sisters in the story. Without giving anything away, one of the moments they reconnect with each other is while singing Patsy Cline. One of my favorite scenes is when they dance an apology to a great Darlingside song. Chris Westlake’s score also has a lot of space in it, because we wanted to really underline Millie’s headspace.

 Hope Lauren as  Emma Haven,  and Emma Bell as  Millie Haven

Hope Lauren as Emma Haven, and Emma Bell as Millie Haven

What was the production schedule like? Were you able to shoot in a year and finish it? 

It was a tight production schedule. We shot for eighteen days in August last year (2016) and had our film festival premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February 2017. So, less than a year!

Any fun moment you'd like to share about being on set? 

Set was so much fun. For many of us in the crew (including myself it was our first feature film, so there was a real sense of camaraderie and friendship. One of the funniest moments on set was filming Steve Agee’s grocery store scene. He would improv such outrageous lines that it was almost impossible for Emma and Hope not to break character. I ruined so many takes by laughing. It ended up being one of the hardest scenes to edit, because everything was so funny.

 Shelley Long as  Grandma   Mildred

Shelley Long as Grandma Mildred

 

What was one of the most challenging moments in the film? 

One of the biggest challenges during Different Flowers was finding Albert. I had a very distinctive type of car that I wanted to play the part of Emma’s broken-down getaway car, Albert, and we searched Kansas City and couldn’t find one. I enlisted everyone I knew to help on the hunt. One day while I was in Los Angeles, my dad called me and said, “I’ve got one! I’ve found an Albert!” I was thrilled! I asked him where it was, and who I had to contact to make arrangements. He said, “I’m following it right now!” He was going to get arrested. He was actually stalking a car on the highway. He followed it off an exit, and low and behold it turned into a used car lot. Jerry at Arc Auto Store let us borrow it for the film! It really goes to show the generosity of Kansas City, and the support the community showed us when making Different Flowers.

 

 Hope Lauren as  Emma Haven,  and Emma Bell as  Millie Haven

Hope Lauren as Emma Haven, and Emma Bell as Millie Haven

What would you tell the filmmaker starting out? Any advice for them? 

For filmmakers who are just starting out, I would encourage them to get out of their own way. Trust your instincts and keep creating. Don’t wait for permission and don’t let anything stop you.

What's next for you? 

I’m developing my next feature, and just wrapped production on a short film that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

 

Fun Questions

If you were stuck on an abandoned island what five items would you want with you? 

Barring smart choices like clean water, a boat, or a book about how to escape a desert island – I would want to bring: a record player, The Beatles’ Revolver, a lifetime supply of chocolate, a pug, and, somehow, City Lights Bookstore.

If you could pick a few songs which would be the soundtrack of your life what would it be? 

Little Wing – Jimi Hendrix, Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra, Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros

Have you ever done what your main character has done? As in taking a chance on something new and different and unexpected? 

Absolutely. Making Different Flowers felt a lot like Millie’s journey. It’s been a terrifying process, but, like Millie, whenever I’ve been met with the unexpected over the course of the past year, which is frequently, I keep telling myself “I’ll just figure it out.”

If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead who would it be? 

Gertrude Stein

If you could time travel where would you go? 

Aside from attempting to do something heroic and going back to stop a bullet or alter the timeline as we know it, just for fun, I’d travel to August 15th, 1965 – The Beatles’ concert at Shea Stadium.