SXSW Interview: Director Jason Headley for A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG

Having had it's World Premiere at SXSW, Shannon had the chance to speak with director Jason Headly about his drama/comedy A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG, starring Matt Jones, Will Rogers, and Eleanore Pienta, where his inspiration for the film came from and what it was like to go from directing shorts to a full feature.  

Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Jason, thanks so much for speaking with us today.  Congrats on all the positive buzz at SXSW for your film A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG! Can you tell us a little bit your film for those who may not be familiar with it?

Jason Headley: It's a comedy about two would-be thieves who break into a house then accidentally arm the alarm system. So now they have to break out of the house they just broke into. When they discover an unexpected housesitter, they suddenly have a mild hostage situation on their hands and more problems than solutions. 

NC: Where did the inspiration for the film come from and was any of it auto-biographical? 

JH: There were two inspirations. One was very practical. I was tired of writing scripts that weren't getting made, so I decided to engineer a story with as few moving parts as possible. But one that could still be full and satisfying. 

The other inspiration was just this feeling we all get from time to time of being stuck in our lives. It feels inescapable and maybe we get a little desperate. So I came up with this idea of telling a story about three people trapped in their own lives who end up trapped in the same house. 

NC: A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG is your first full feature film - how was the process different from directing a short and what challenges did you face? 

JH: On one level, a feature used all of the same skills I learned making shorts. There's just a lot more days of it. The biggest difference is keeping a handle on the tone of the thing from top to bottom, day after day. That's my job. Making sure the whole thing feels like the same voice, all the motivations make sense, all the pieces come together. Which sounds simple, but is a little esoteric on a day-to-day basis. 

NC: When it came to casting, did you have anyone in mind? What was the process like? 

JH: We decided on our shoot dates, then went looking for a cast. It was an interesting way to go about it, but we really lucked out. I looked at a lot of actors for the roles, but was always trying to build a specific thing. There are three main actors who carry this story, so I needed them to each have characteristics that would play off of each other well. We really lucked out when we got Matt, Eleanore, and Will. And we were even luckier that we all got along really well. It made the shoot a lot of fun even when we were all a little tired and perpetually on top of one another. 

NC: Now that your film has premiered at SXSW, what can your fans look forward to from you in the future? 

JH: I already have my next script ready to go, I'm just talking with different people about the best way to get it up off the ground. It will have familiar elements from A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG, but will branch out in some new and surprising ways. I'm really looking forward to making it. 

For more information on Jason and his film A BAD IDEA GONE WRONG, follow him on Twitter @jason_headley.