Will Sheff’s Fresh Prints: Talking with director Scott Coffey

May 30, 2013
Kelp is on the way.
Kelp is on the way.

I decided it would be fun to use this website as an excuse to get together with other artists – friends of mine I’ve worked with a lot or people whose work I like – to talk about creativity, the creative process, and pretty much any other thing that comes up without a lot of topic-steering. We’d get together and I’d set up some mics and we’d have not so much an interview as a conversation – hopefully the kind of conversation I’d have with that person anyway, ideally at 1 AM after a number of drinks were consumed. I’d focus on people I liked or was interested in, not necessarily the standard folks and not necessarily people who have a new record or movie or painting or architecture thing or shoe or plate of linguini in stores now or whatever.

So I’m going to do that, and I’m starting it….now! And actually I lied because this person does have something coming out relatively soon sort of. This first conversation is with Scott Coffey, who I count as one of my greatest friends. You might recognize his face without knowing who he is because he’s been in a ton of 80s movies (Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Space Camp and a bunch more) and a ton of David Lynch movies, but these days he works more often as a director. His newest film Adult World is headed for a theatrical release this fall; it’s a warm and really funny movie with an excellent cast, at the center of which is John Cusack, giving the best “John Cusack” performance I’ve seen in over a decade, quite different from Lane Meyer and Lloyd Dobler but with that same essential charm.

A little over a month ago, Scott and I collaborated on the music video for the Lovestreams song “There’s Video,” which we made for 300 dollars I was giving the song away for free and there was no real budget.  It’s one of my favorite videos I’ve done, miles above videos that have cost 20 times as much. We’re talking about working together on something again soon, mostly as an opportunity to spend more time together – recently Scott and his boyfriend, the author Blair Mastbaum, moved to L.A. after years spent off and on in Brooklyn. Beth and I spent about 20% of our waking hours hanging out with them and still feel mildly devastated.

Scott was back in town during the TriBeCa Film Festival so on a early afternoon’s break in the festivities I groggily set some mics up on the kitchen table and he came over and we talked about his isolated childhood in a provincial and marijuana-clouded Hawaii, his early acting in shows like “Highway to Heaven” and “MacGyver,” his experiences as a young actor in the 80s, his observations of working with David Lynch, and his first time as a feature director, working with Naomi Watts on his film Ellie Parker.

So here’s that conversation, and the name of the podcast series is: Will Sheff’s Fresh Prints.

2 Responses to “Will Sheff’s Fresh Prints: Talking with director Scott Coffey”

  1. Ashley

    Interesting story about the Guinnes heir. The father must be Tara Browne, the young man who died in the car crash, and (legend has it) inspired ‘A Day in the Life’. Keith Richards named his first born after Tara Browne (and the man is not easily won-over). Sounds like Tara endeared himself to others much like Scott’s friend in Rome.

  2. RR

    Thanks for this. I love the movie Ellie Parker and I enjoy when Scott talks about it and his anecdotes about Naomi Watts. I find it fascinating that Coffey had a front row seat to not one but two[Roberts/Watts] skyrocketing careers.

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