Minnesota-born, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Jerry Brunskill is frantically putting the finishing touches on his movie “It’s Gawd” to get it ready for the south of France.
“The long hours are both from shooting pickup shots on ‘Gawd’ and editing the movie so that it is ready to take to the Cannes market in May,” Brunskill told me via e-mail, which was the medium for this Q&A. “It’s Gawd,” a Brunskill-written and directed comedy, follows the exploits of Earth’s creator as he tries to save the world through a nightly TV show.
“I’m [also] currently producing a weekly show on Pivot TV’s Take Part Live called ‘Disrupt,’ which tackles socioeconomic issues aimed at the millennial generation. I’ve been directing a story for HBO’s ‘Vice’ on life extension. Busy times indeed, (and I love every minute of it!!)” wrote Brunskill, a Bloomington Lincoln High grad who left the University of Minnesota needing “eight credits to graduate. I had to take leave to be on Star Search!”
Q: Comedy icon Tommy Chong was your first choice to play the talk show-hosting deity in “It’s Gawd!” because …?
A: He wasn’t. I mean, he would have been, had I thought of him early on, but I just didn’t. I wrote the first draft of the movie with Bill Murray in mind, with a little Jack Nicholson thrown in. I hassled Jack’s daughter, who I knew socially but found out quick that he had forbidden his children to bring scripts, most likely to prevent them from being exploited. I actually managed to get the script to Bill and heard he liked it, but came to find he was very hard to pin down and commit. Then one day I read Tommy’s book, “The iChong, Meditations from the Joint.” From that day on, I knew he was the guy. He’s so cool, wise, spiritual and funny as all hell. He also has this childlike wonderment about the world, and that was exactly the spirit I wanted this character to embody.
Q: I hear you really let Melinda Jacobs show her acting chops?
A: Sure did. She came out for our “Boardroom scene” where Gawd tries to convince Luke Perry, president of a TV network, that Gawd should be allowed on television. Melinda plays one of the TV network mucky-mucks. She was fantastic!
Q: How many years have you avoided being married?
A: I was married once back when I lived in Minnesota and we divorced in 1998. It actually was one of the reasons I moved to California. I was ready for a change. I almost got married again but we called it off two days before the wedding. Making movies is really hard. Calling 200 guests and telling them the wedding’s off two days before the ceremony is much harder!
Q: What scares you more — snakes or most single women?
A: Since I’m making a movie about God I’m assuming there’s a connection between your question and the Garden of Eden? You know, snakes and single women? Was it really Eve who tempted Adam or was it all that snake’s fault? I’ll tell you this, as I get older, it’s becoming easier to tell who’s doing the tempting. And it scares the hell out of me.
Q: What is your most successful pickup line?
A: I’m terrible with pickup lines. Never worked for me. My late uncle had a wonderful one. He’d approach a woman wearing a dress and say, “You’ve got some real cloudy legs,” to which she would almost always inquire as to what he meant. “I’d like to see them clear up.” That reminds me … I’m going to have to try that one.
Q: What is a characteristic you and George Clooney share?
A: Ha! Age? Love of Italy? Actually, I would say that we both share the idea that movies and entertainment can be a very powerful device for creating change and doing good things in the world. SO much of modern entertainment is squandered with remakes of the same old tired material. Don’t get me wrong … I love a good zombie movie, but c’mon. Do we really need to remake “Spider-Man” again???
Q: Have you and Clooney ever hung out together?
A: No, although I know his business partner. Does that count? I tried to cast him in a cameo as Gawd’s foe, “Tawd.”
Q: From where does your sick sense of humor come?
A: Traveling with a rock band in a tour bus for a decade. You have to keep yourselves entertained when it’s 30 below zero in Bismarck, N.D., on a Tuesday night and there are eight people in the club.
Q: How have boy bands changed since your Limited Warranty run?
A: Hey now! Limited Warranty wasn’t a boy band. Sure, we had the teenage following but it wasn’t something we cultivated. It just happened. Boy bands are almost always created by someone other than the band members, and are brought together for the sole purpose of making money. They don’t write their own songs and rarely play instruments. We were buddies who dreamed of rockin’ and rollin’ on the road and singing songs about things that mattered to us.
Q: If you could put a slogan that reveals a lot about you on a T-shirt, what would it state?
A: Dreams > Reality
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her watch Fox 9’s “Buzz.”