Your new movie A
Bennett Song Holiday - in a few words, what is it about?
Itís about so much, Michael, itís about family, inclusion,
perspective, love... I guess itís about a lot of things - itís about
life. We essentially follow the Bennettís Song-family, and in the
sequel we primarily follow Pearl and her musical aspirations as well as
her attempts to save the local community center.
how did the project actually come about, was your Bennett's Song
from two years ago always supposed to have a sequel, or did A
Bennett Song Holiday come pretty much out of the blue?
Itís pretty funny but with us making so many movies that has a high
body count itís a very refreshing and uplifting set to be a part of, so
weíve always talked about it and after the success of Bennettís
Song selling not only to several countries but also getting network
deals we decided it would be a good idea to explore a sequel.
can you tell us about A
Bennett Song Holiday's writer/producer Nancy Oeswein, and what was
your collaboration like?
It was pretty scary especially knowing how much it meant to Nancy, her
very first script! Also hearing how in the industry they say ďdonít
work with kids and donít work with animalsĒ makes you wonder if
itís a challenge worth taking on, but it obviously is! Nancy was
on set every day and by now we have a really strong working relationship
as well as personal and that makes it easier.
What can you tell us about your
overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I honestly just love telling a good story! I try to meet with my
cinematographer a few times and discuss look and feel of each scene, who
are we attempting to feel for and what points are we trying to get
across etc. I meet with the cast as a whole and do a couple of
table reads as well as individually, especially bigger roles, and if I see
someone not quite clear on the character theyíre playing so I have
less tweaking on set. Then on set I always have the actors run
lines before placed then again in more of a rehearsal setting with marks,
and lastly we shoot and I generally need 3-5 takes per shot but will do
more if and when needed.
character or characters from A
Bennett Song Holiday could you identify with the most, actually?
I really identify closely with my character Cole and we are at times so
close itís hard to know where Harley ends and Cole begins. But if I had to play a different role then grandma would be quite the
also play a central role in A
Bennett Song Holiday - so what can you tell us about your
character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and how much
Harley Wallen can we find in Cole Bennett?
Haha, itís funny youíd ask this as the original role of Cole Bennett
was written for me and I guess because of me often playing villains,
detectives, mobsters etc. it was a chance to show another side I rarely
get to share. Itís the hardest character to separate from for me
for sure and the perfectly imperfect lives of the Bennett-Song family is
something I find myself missing afterwards.
Do talk about
the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
We have such a big cast Iíll focus in on a few but Aphrodite
Nicolovski as Susan
Song was actually a really difficult decision until the callback for
that role in the very first film, but it came down to screen chemistry
between her and I since our romance was such a big part of the first
I really loved having Corbin Bernsen as our villain, he
brings the thunder without a doubt, such a powerful performance!
Haskins was totally handpicked for the first film and we had already
worked together on two prior projects (Enigma & Abstruse), but itís
such a perfect fit Iím not sure we could do better with a 20 million
Calhoun Koenig from the very first one had the
acting chops, the voice (all the songs are the actual actors singing as
well as playing instruments) and it made the adoption angle clearer
since she doesnít look like her on-screen mother.
We conferred for about 3 seconds on Morgan Nimmo with no drum experience
and very little acting experience, but she was so right for the role, it
had to be her!
Harley with wife Kaiti and daughters Hanna and
Amilia at the premiere
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Itís incredible and I hope it can be felt when you watch it. We
are legitimately a close-nit family, and the kids all have group texts
and all kinds of fun not just while filming but after. I think we
have about 10-15 sequels they joke about making. Itís a
beautiful place and it really feels special to be a part of.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of A
Bennett Song Holiday yet?
So far the feedback has been amazing, between awards and nominations, and
although the film has only been out a very short time the feedback has
been terrific. I think especially now as divided as we seem itís
a film that can make us feel more together and alike by focusing on what
we agree on and whatís important to the majority. Family, love
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
Absolutely, Iím at the very latest stages of post production on Ash
and Bone a horror film in the breath of House of
Wax, Texas Chainsaw
Massacre and The Hills Have
Eyes. Be on the look-out for a trailer
I also am in late stages of post production on a TV Series (8 episodes)
called Tale of Tails and that is an amazing concoction of true
stories from strip clubs over many years along with crime plots, bikers,
and of course the cops and the judicial system.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, social
media, whatever else?
Iím Harley Wallen on Facebook, Iím OfficialHarleyWallen on Instagram
and HarleyTheSwede on Twitter, and of course follow
paintedcreekproductions on Facebook and Instagram. Each film also
has its own Facebook page and IMDb page.
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think you covered a lot but would love to talk more as these other
projects release. I appreciate the time and the positive review in A
Bennett Song Holiday! Be good and stay safe Michael!