On this edition of THE INTERVUE, today we are going to be talking about an upcoming impactful film that coming to theatres on this Friday, October 6th but Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse has your sneak peek tonight, October 4th!
“Shelter in Solitude” tells the tale of death row prisoner with 10 days left to live forms an unlikely bond with a washed-up country singer. It’s a story of hope and redemption.
Our guest today not only plays Val Fagan in the movie but is also one of the film’s writer/producer and for her efforts she was recognized as Best Actress in this year’s Boston International Film Festival. Prior to this, you have seen her on the big & small screen. You have seen her in movies like “Forrest Gump”, “Holes” and “Men in Black”. While on television, she was part of ensemble of SNL during its 17-18th seasons in the 90s and played Elaine Benes’ annoying roommate Tina Robbins in “Seinfeld”.
Friends of the Revue let’s welcome writer/producer/star Siobhan Fallon Hogan!
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Anytime. As I mentioned, “Shelter” is a wonderful film. It’s got an outstanding cast and had many themes including family, faith, and friendship. My first question is where did the idea of the story came from?
So, the story came, because I’ve done the film “Rushed”, and I was going to take a break. I was like, “Okay, I’m exhausted”. And in the middle of the night, I was laying there and my father who had been an attorney for years. We used to sit around the table, and he would tell us all about his clients who were prisoners, and I was afraid as a kid. I’m flying down the middle of night and the story comes to me, “what if there’s a guy facing death row with 10 days left to live, and a washed-up country singer who guards him. And then of course, I had to get Robert Patrick in there because Robert played my husband in “Rushed”. He’s a fabulous actor. I thought that we should have him as the warded. And so, it can be the middle of the night and I quickly scribbled it down the next day. Then, I started writing and wrote it in three weeks. We filmed it in 16 days, three weeks after “Rushed” opened in the theaters, not streamers.
Thanks for telling us that. You play Val Fagan in the film, which we learned that she’s a washed-up country singer but due to the virus, she works at the local prison. Talk to us about the role of Val.
Val is kind of like the Miss Haversham of country singing. She sang in Nashville once in 1996. And she was clearly flopped because she only sang one night. But she has a bar in this tiny little hicktown in the outskirts of Nashville. And she’s the only show in town. She’s not a very exemplary character. She drinks too much. She’s kind of a cougar wannabe, but no one will have her, but she loves people. She loves entertaining.
When her bar gets shut down, she can’t be sitting home with her own thoughts. And she can’t be sitting home drinking. So, there’s a position open at the prison and she applies. But she’s deep down, she’s a very broken character just as Robert who plays the warden is. And just as Peter Macon who plays Jackson, who’s facing death row is their broken people, but deep down, they’re very good people. At the heart of it all, she’s charitable. She’ll do anything to make the last 10 days of this guy’s life perfect, which has been her own rough around the edge’s way.
And it’s crazy and you said that Peter Macon was the key to the movie, which I could not agree more because not only I interviewed him for The Orville, but he has that command presence and that deep voice that fills the room.
You know, a lot of people don’t know this, but he played Othello. The way I found him was that I lived in LA for two years. I could never fit into L.A. and this was ’89 – ’90. My neighbor was David Goodman, and we became great friends. David wrote on “The Golden Girls” at my very first TV job. A great writer over the years who became the president of the Writers Guild. He just negotiated very strongly and successfully for the Writers Guild of the strike.
I could not find the right actor for this role. I called David and it was literally three and a half weeks for start shooting and my director Vibeke Muasya. She’s from Denmark, she’s like “Siobhan Fallon Hogan, we do not have the lead. We need to push the film”. And I thought, “No, we’re gonna find him”. And David said to me, “Siobhan, what about Peter Macon?” She said, “if he’s not working right now, he’s perfect!” We got Peter and I was like, “home run!”
Home run indeed. Just by talking to and meeting him the last few years. He’s such an amazing actor! I’m so glad that you have him in this film.
Yes, for his performance, he does not speak in the movie for the first three scenes because if you were on death row, would you feel like talking to a washed-up country cougar, country singer whose guarding you?
Oh, absolutely not.
Yeah. What he can exude and express, with no words, with his eyes is unbelievable. He’s a consummate film actor. I liken him to like a young James Earl Jones. I think he’s spectacular.
I definitely love that analogy, especially seeing James in one of his earliest roles, “The Great White Hope”. And to see James shine in that performance and seeing Peter’s in this film, there’s definitely no comparison.
Yeah, yeah, it’s crazy. I mean, if there’s justice, he should deserve an Academy Award. I feel like for this role.
I hope so too. Now, what brings me joy, when I found out I was interviewing you and doing some research is the DMV connection. And it’s crazy, because just a couple of days ago, I was interviewing a comedian who had DC ties, you have then as well. For you went to college at Catholic University and got a Master of Fine Arts. What was it like to attend that university and earn your degree in DC?
It was crazy because my family is really practical. I went to a little college Le Moyne, the second of five, and my parents were like, “Look, you should be a teacher or a lawyer”. And it was my last semester senior in college. And I was like, “look, I want to be an actress”. And my dad’s like, “alright, we’ll move on to graduate school”. It was all on my own. At the time, Catholic had this amazing MFA program. Susan Sarandon went there. John Slattery, Jon Voight, you know, amazing actors went through there. So, I went down there, and I loved it. It was a two-year program. Some people did it in three. And then my son, his girlfriend is a nurse, and lives in Chevy Chase. I have this all these crazy connections to DC. As a matter of fact, the movie’s playing at the Arlington Drafthouse and it will be all over AMC and Regal all over the DC area.
Is there anything if you miss about being in Washington, DC?
Oh, what do I miss? Well, I bet great friends there. It’s so beautiful, but to DC. And of course, there’s so much to do, and it’s to me, it’s much easier. I’m in New York City right now, I do live in New Jersey. I hate the traffic there, but the system is awesome. And I don’t miss the swampy weather in the summer. I’ll say that. I was in L.A. and the traffic sometimes were there. It’s all relative. People are great. People are smart. It’s very inspiring.
And one of the things that I’d enjoyed reading about the film is that you got to film in around your hometown of Cazenovia and Syracuse. Give us the details about given us a glimpse of your hometown and making it a part of story.
First of all, my first film “Rushed” was filmed in Rumson, New Jersey, where we’re raised my kids. So, my second film, we did the same thing but only in upstate NY. So, what I do is get all these locations because we’re an independent through friends. It’s like “the word is to be careful. Don’t say you’ll have Siobhan because next thing you know, she’ll be filming in your house”. So, it’s so cinematic up there, too, as long as it doesn’t rain. I will tell you; we were so lucky. We filmed in 16 days, the only days of rain were the days we were in the interior of the bar, which was this restaurant, which I loved called The Blue Canoe. I sent out an email and said to my High School class of ’79 saying, “who would like to be in the film?” and give the date of those shoots. The extras in the entire bar is full of my high school class. They came far and wide.
That’s as close to a year reunion that you can get.
And it was like four days of all my best friends. And even then, if they’ve followed you like, The Boston Film Festival, they come and say “Hi, we’re here.” My people have been so supportive, it’s amazing.
I have followed your career for a very long time. In fact, I didn’t even know that your first role was on “The Golden Girls. I knew you from your SNL days. You’ve had such an amazing career playing character roles from” Forrest Gump” and “Men in Black” and “Greedy”, which when I saw your name I thought “oh my gosh, I cannot believe it!”
And you say “Greedy”?
Yes, I did.
Yes. So “Greedy”, that’s crazy. SI get on the set of “Greedy” and we’re sitting at table read and Phil Hartman, may he rest in peace” was from SNL, was my husband. It was Kirk Douglas. And that was that was my very first movie.
I love Michael J. Fox so much. And Mary Ellen Zemeckis who was Bob Zemeckis’s wife before she passed away. She became my best friend. I mean, she called me “shadow” because I didn’t know what I was doing. As far as film goes, I’ve been theater and TV only. And films completely different. The long and short of it was I followed around so much that she just called me “shadow”. What are you doing shadow? You know, 25 years I was Shadow.
Wow, that thank you for telling me that story. And that’s actually a good transition to my next question. Since you’ve been an amazing film and TV actress, what do you look for in the role in order for you say, “I’m going to take it, I’m going to play it, I’m going to claim it?”
I basically look at the role and say, “Is this something that I look back on and say, I’m proud I played this character?” They didn’t have to be beautiful human beings, but it’s something that’s rich, and something that I think will be proud of. That’s what I look for.
Excellent, great answer. This is your second time stepping behind the writers’ chair. Do you prefer writing over producing over acting? Or is it the combination of the three that you enjoy?
I love acting, and I love writing. Producing is rough, because it’s way more much more business. But it’s a catch-22 because you have control of your division of your story of who you hire, and how people are treated on set. I believe in treating the cast and the crew the way I want to be treated on a set. And I don’t believe in the Hollywood way of hierarchy. I believe in the way you treat a play; we’re all have the intention of the story at hand. Not like who’s the most famous or who gets to go first of the line to eat lunch? I feel everyone is equally important, important in the cog of the wheel that creates the final product.
You’re absolutely right. What do you hope audiences will take away from this film that’s coming this week?
I hope these are three broken characters who at face value wouldn’t be the type of people they might even be judged like they were losers, but they’re actually deep down have great hearts. They’re charitable. They believe in forgiveness and redemption. I think if our world and each person was more charitable, put aside our differences, whether it’s your politics, race, religion, whatever and are kind to one another as human beings, and forgive, be kind and charitable. If we could all take that away, we’d be great people like the three of these people who, when it comes to the end of your life, may have 10 days left to live that you treat people the way you want to be treated and treat people like beautiful human beings that were created to be treated that way.
I just came up with a new question with what you just said just moments ago. If you have 10 days left to live, what would you do?
Oh boy. Listen, I’d make my mother’s Hot Fudge, and get some ice cream and melt some marshmallows on the top to begin. And then I would just call up everybody. I know that I love them. And I give away all my money to whoever I had, by the way. It’s not that much.
You see Siobhan in “Shelter in Solitude” playing today at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse with Peter Hogan who plays Chris in the film in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased HERE – Opens in select theatres Friday October 6th!
For more information about the film, go to