Martin Donovan has long been a staple of the independent cinema scene. He first emerged on-screen in the films of esteemed director Hal Hartley, starring in Trust, Simple Men, Amateur, and others projects from the auteur. Since then, he’s appeared in films such as The Opposite of Sex, Insomnia, and The Portrait of a Lady, in addition to recurring roles on television shows like “Boss” and “Weeds.”
Clearly not one to limit himself, Donovan recently fulfilled his lifelong ambition to write and direct a feature: the result is Collaborator. The indie film veteran flawlessly transitions between writer, director, and actor to create this enthralling tragi-comedy.
Collaborator follows famous playwright Robert Longfellow (Donovan), whose most recent works have been widely panned by critics and fans alike. Discouraged and unhappy with his marriage, Robert retreats to his childhood home in California to look in on his elderly mother. As Robert tries to avoid his longtime neighbor Gus (a terrific David Morse), an ex-con whose right-wing politics and manic demeanor are unnerving, he decides to take a few meetings while on the west coast. He visits his past muse and current movie star Emma Stiles (Olivia Williams), who wants him to adapt a novel that contains a potentially great role for her. While the two flirt with reigniting their former flame, Robert returns home to find Gus waiting for him. After a series of strange events, Gus takes Robert hostage at gunpoint, inciting riveting conversation and debate between the two as they both try to make it out alive.
Praised by audiences and critics alike, Collaborator was given two awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, including Best Actor for Morse and the FIPRESCI Prize for Donovan. In addition to the masterful performances by the three leads, the film also features musician Melissa Auf der Maur (in her feature film debut) and veteran actors Eileen Ryan and Katherine Helmond.
Collaborator opens this Friday, July 6, at the IFC Center. If you’re not in New York City (or if you just can’t wait another minute!), the film is currently available on VOD, iTunes, Amazon, and VUDU. In the meantime, check out what stars Martin Donovan, David Morse, and others have to say about the film!
Film critic Marshall Fine's review hailed Collaborator as “smart, funny and tense,” with a tremendous performance by David Morse who is “a force to be reckoned with.”
Tribeca's own Kristin McCracken spoke to Martin Donovan about directing his first feature and his optimism about how distribution has changed since his Hal Hartley days.
David Morse gushed about filming Collaborator and working with the “politically minded” Martin Donovan in an interview with Screen Invasion's Jason Tabrys.
Martin Donovan revealed to Entertainment Weekly the real-life origins of David Morse's character, and talked about being comfortable watching himself on screen.
Penned by Martin Donovan himself, The Huffington Post published his blog on the collaborative process of movie making.
Finally, check out this great Q&A from a special screening of the Collaborator at the IFC Center on June 18 with Martin Donovan, David Morse, Melissa Auf der Maur, and Producer Ted Hope. The conversation was moderated by Hal Hartley.