After starring in An Octoroon, The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters, Pocatello & Verite, Danny Wolohan is back off-Broadway in a leading role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning off-Broadway drama The Flick. Wolohan stars as Sam, a long-time employee at the local Massachusetts movie theatre. Below he talks to BroadwayBox about the five films that seriously rocked his world.
Thinking about the films that have rocked my world was a lot of fun but narrowing the list down to just 5 was incredibly difficult. I had to leave out hundreds of movies that changed, thrilled and helped me. My character in The Flick, Sam, has a line that goes "The Coen brothers! All of the Coen brother's movies." and I could have done a list of just 5 of their movies. I also left off Terry Gilliam, Scorsese, Coppola, Hitchcock, the Dardenne brothers and so many more of my favorite filmmakers. But here are 5 that I truly love.
Fanny and Alexander
Why I Chose It: It's one of my favorite works of art, and when I was watching it for the first time, I really no kidding at that moment decided that I wanted to be an artist.
Year I Discovered It: I think 1994? I had just been kicked out of college and was very lost and kind of looking into falling apart, and I slipped and fell into a Bergman masterpiece that showed me how exciting, powerful, and useful creativity and story telling could be.
Ultimate Scene: Oh my god, too many. But among them, when Alexander is locked in Ismael's room. It's a scene that is so mysterious and yet full of clear beautiful true insights. It is thrilling and scary and like most of the movie, feels magical, dreamlike, and very real all at the same time.
Do The Right Thing
Why I Chose It: It's so much of what I want from a movie: political, hilarious, moving, and as current and hard-hitting now as when it first came out.
Year I Discovered It: 1989. I loved Spike Lee movies so much, still do, but the love was so new and intense then that I bought a Brooklyn Dodgers hat from his website, and I hate the Dodgers.
Ultimate Scene:An unarmed Radio Raheem gets choked to death by a cop, and Mookie throws a trash can through Sal's window.
Funeral Parade of Roses
Why I Chose It: It was made in 1969 and still feels ahead of its time. As Wikipedia says: " It is a loose adaptation of Oedipus Rex set in the underground gay counterculture of 1960s Tokyo." It breaks all the rules, tells an ancient story in crazy new ways, and is so sad and so fun at the same time. Takes its subject matter but not itself seriously.
Year I Discovered It: 2013 maybe, at Moma. I'm a film plus member there and highly recommend joining. I've seen so many amazing movies at Moma and I love the crowds at those screenings.
Ultimate Scene: There's a wild moment during a sex scene when it's being played so seriously and there's an extreme close up of the main characters face in total ecstasy, and suddenly we cut to a shot of the director and crew filming that close up and standing inches away from the bed, and everyone giggles a little, and then it cuts back into the reality of the sex scene. It was so bold and somehow drew me deeper into the story. Amazing.
Why I Chose It: It's a Pro-Union, pro-human movie that played a part in nurturing my early leftist leanings and it's funny, sexy and very moving, with an incredible lead performance from Sally Field. I got to do a workshop of a play with Sally and Beau Bridges recently and it was one of those Purple Rose of Cairo moments in my career where my dreams and reality got mixed up.
Year I Discovered It: 1979. I remember seeing it for the first time in the theatre with my mom and dad.
Ultimate Scene:There's a lot of big stirring moments, but I always think of the scene when her husband asks her if she's slept with the union organizer and she says "no, but he's in my head." Sally is so tough and badass in so much of the movie, but there's something even bigger and braver in her quiet vulnerable honesty in that moment.
Rules of the Game
Why I Chose It: It is amazing and perfect and it gives me the feeling I get when I'm watching my favorite plays or movies, that I have no idea what's coming next, and yet everything seems like it couldn't have happened any other way.
It's a feast, to summarize it is to summarize eating a great meal. Just eat it.
Year I Discovered It: 2008 on the big screen at The Castro theatre in San Francisco, one of my favorite places to see movies. It's a classic old movie palace. A guy plays the organ until it's time for the movie and then the organ lowers below stage level and the picture begins.
Ultimate Scene: Too too many. But one thing that always sticks with me, is when the men in Christine's life pledge their love for her, and she tells them she loves them too, it never feels silly to me, nor is she judged or made out to be evil or a liar, somehow the scenes are written and acted in a way that by the time the guy says he loves her, it makes sense that she should love him back. So brilliant.
See Danny Wolohan in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama The Flick at the Barrow Street Theatre through January 10, 2016.