Neil (Cillian Murphy) is a quirky cinephile who owns Gumshoe Video, an independent video store specializing in the strange, the offbeat, and the hard to find. A self-proclaimed film geek, Neil lives vicariously through his favorite classic films, even going so far as to tell his girlfriend that she's "not enough like Katharine Ross in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" when she tells him he needs to grow up. But when Neil meets Violet (Lucy Liu), everything is turned upside down. Violet is a real- life femme fatale, spontaneous and outrageous, who doesn't just wait for life to be like the movies-she goes out of her way to make it so. The trouble is, Neil is used to-and content with-watching movies, not actually acting them out, and is completely caught off-guard by her "do-don't watch" attitude. Murphy deftly takes on Neil's straight-and-narrow personality, while Liu tackles Violet's mystery and vibrancy with gusto. Director Paul Soter, best known for his writing and acting work with the comedy group Broken Lizard makes his directorial debut with a charming and witty take on what it might be like if day-to-day existence really was larger than life. Sometimes love is stranger than fiction, and Neil is about to discover just how strange it can be.
Director's Statement Collapse
A few years ago, my relationship with Elvis Costello could be categorized as "Like Him Enough That I Won't Change The Station But Not Enough To Go Out And Buy Any Of His Albums." (I've since graduated to "Album Buyer.") When "Watching The Detectives" came on the radio one night while I was idling my car in line at a McDonalds drive-thru, I had already heard it dozens of times and thought it was pretty okay. But something was different on this night. Maybe it was the car exhaust I was inhaling. Maybe it was that chickeny-greasy smell wafting out into the night. Maybe it was the drugs I had been smoking. I don't know, but I was completely entranced. "Watching The Detectives." Great title for a movie. My formal screenwriting education consists of having flipped a Syd Field manual to the middle, and read exactly one rule. NEVER START YOUR SCREENPLAY WITH THE TITLE. So there you go. I knew of only one Syd Field rule. And I broke it right off the bat. Sorry, Mr. Field. (Or is it Ms. Field? What the hell kind of name is Syd, anyway?) The other problem was that I can't stand any film title that starts with a gerund. Killing Zoe. Wrestling Ernest Hemingway. Teaching Mrs. Tingle (formerly Killing Mrs. Tingle). But this sounded different somehow. Frankly, it just sounded like a cool movie. And as I listened to this great, hip tribute to film noir, the story started coming together. As a guy who grew up watching too many movies, I developed many unhealthy nerdly leanings. One of them was this idea that someday a gorgeous and mysterious woman would show up and lead me on some dangerous and sexy adventure. And as Elvis Costello sang about an ice-cold dame filing her nails while the cops are dragging the lake, I thought what if a character like that came into my life? If a proper femme fatale showed up at my doorstep, it'd be a dream come true, for sure. But being a femme fatale, wouldn't she inevitably make life miserable for me and end up screwing me over in some devastating way? From there, it was just a matter of filling in a few blanks. I had a rough first draft scribbled on McDonalds napkins by the time I pulled into my driveway. (I bet Syd Field probably has a rule about writing screenplays while driving and stoned. But if I ran anybody over that night, I probably would've heard about it by now.)
About the Director(s)Collapse
PAUL SOTER is one of the five members of the comedy group Broken Lizard. This dynamic group is responsible for writing and starring in the films Puddle Cruiser, Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest. Soters also cowrote the films Nutcracker and Take My Wife, which he is developing at Warner Bros. Currently, he is working on two upcoming Broken Lizard's projects, The Slammin' Salmon and Super Troopers 2. Soter is also looking to direct the screenplay Beware. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, infant son and a pitbull named The Captain. Watching The Detectives is Soter's first directorial effort.