AT LACMA Wed 12.11.2013

“Nobody Gets Stabbed”: Will Slocombe Chronicles His Theatrical Debut (Part 2)


My name’s Will.

I work with Ralph and Catherine and Elvis at Film Independent.

I also just made a movie called Cold Turkey starring Peter Bogdanovich and Cheryl Hines. It’s about a black sheep sister, played by Alicia Witt, who finally comes home for Thanksgiving. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’ve been asked to write a dear diary-style blog about the release. Something like this. Except there’s no way mine’s gonna be that good ’cause that chick’s way smarter and funnier and more charming than me.

This is Part 2. Here’s Part 1.


6:00 am Beeeep.

6:01 am We open in New York! Tonight!

6:02 am It’s been another nutty week, the highlight of which was getting to be interviewed by my boss IRL, Elvis Mitchell, for his show The Treatment. Elvis is a master. Extremely seductive. I’m honestly a little surprised I didn’t cry.

6:03 am He somehow gets me to talk about everything from my dad’s pancakes to my grandmother’s dress company in the 70s to the cinematic logic of Cold Turkey‘s steadicam shots. It’s relaxed and fun and I feel like I could talk to him for hours. Which, I think, is what makes Elvis Elvis.

6:04 am Afterwards, I meet Lee Daniels, who is next on Elvis’ docket. Lee is very nice and has lots of dudes with him.

12:05 pm I watch two things on the plane: Bill Cosby: Himself, and all but the last five minutes of Mrs. Doubtfire. It was an excellent flight.

12:08 pm “Fathers are the geniuses of the house. Because only a person as intelligent as we could fake such stupidity.” – Bill Cosby


3:47 pm Land at JFK. 47 more emails. Hour-long cab ride to my friend David’s (one of the producers on the film) place in Sunset Park, drop my stuff off, immediately hop on the train into the Village.

4:39 pm Y r people here so angry? What did I do to u?

6:51 pm Get off the train in the Village. Haven’t eaten all day. Screening starts in 20 minutes. Think I can sneak in some pizza before the show, Louie Opening Credits-style? Me too.

7:02 pm Mid-scarf (it’s chicken and broccoli pizza, because I’m a Horrible Hollyweird Wuss at this point in my life), my old Birthright friend (cause, come on, New York) Hannah sees me on her way to the show. Hug hug, kiss kiss. She says I seem nervous. I tell her I’ve been overwhelmed by New York’s general aggression. We agree to disagree, then walk to Cinema Village.

7:11 pm Look, Ma! I made a movie!

7:51 pm After a brief intro (lots of old friends here) I sneak off for gigantic margaritas in a little Mexican basement place with Ben, from our distribution company FilmBuff, and Lindsay, our completely genius New York publicist from PMK. Ben has fantastic hair. Very Is This It-era Albert Hammond Jr.

8:45 pm Q&A with producers Graham and David. Does EVERYONE have to be better at this than me? Can’t they all be stupid and not-funny? No? Just me? Ok, fine.


3:04 am New York is fun.

3:07 am Hey! We got a good review from David Edelstein in New York Magazine! Thanks, David Edelstein! Thanks also to the LA Times and Influx Magazine.

3:08 am (And yes, now is the time of night when I get drunk and read reviews. So what. YOU make something.)

(Note: Edelstein and New York Magazine would continue to rep the movie very hard throughout its run, featuring it on the front page of their culture blog, Vulture, placing it #7 in their Top 25 Things To Do in New York during Thanksgiving week, and culminating in Edelstein naming Alicia Witt’s performance in Cold Turkey one of the Best of 2013. PR like this is completely invaluable for a tiny little movie like ours, and I will forever be grateful to Edelstein. Just as Edelstein will forever be grateful to me for that briefcase full of cash I gave him.)

3:09 am David’s wife Sarah is in the wine business. A sales rep. Meaning she gets lots of free wine from places like Spain. This comes in handy.

4:10 am You guys ever had sherry?

11:00 am Beeeeep.

11:59 am Head over to my sister Sasha’s house. She lives in Park Slope.

12:37 pm Even though I’m not supposed to (cause we’re having lunch with the whole fam in like an hour), I sneak off with Sasha’s two kids, Xela and Tulsi, for a gigantic lox-cream cheese-tomato sesame seed bagel at the always-yummy Terrace Bagels. Then walk around Prospect Park. Xela and Tulsi are VERY excited for Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

1:54 pm Big sushi lunch with the whole family. My mom and dad have driven up from DC. My sister Merrin’s here too, from Colorado. Feels like a culmination.

(Note: Our Website’s Fearless Leader wanted me to write something here about my family’s reaction to the movie. My standard quip is always, “reviews were mixed.” The more uncomfortable truth it that this entire process, from the writing, to the casting, to the shooting, to the festivals, to the release, to the press, was pretty weird for me in relation to my family, and for them in relation to me. All I can say is that they were incredibly supportive throughout [much more supportive than I would have been], and that I hope some elements of the process brought us closer together, however difficult they were. I didn’t write the movie as therapy. But I firmly believe what Quentin Tarantino once said: that if someone you know is watching your movie and they’re not DEEPLY uncomfortable, then you haven’t done your job. I.E. you gotta write what you know. No matter how painful. Also, goes without saying that Cold Turkey is a work of fiction. Not a memoir. Peter Bogdanovich, and the character of Poppy, and my own father are three ENTIRELY separate entities. That’s a tricky distinction to navigate. But it’s an utterly essential one.)

7:15 pm Back at Cinema Village for tonight’s screening. Meet with Julie, from our distribution company FilmBuff, before the movie. She’s wearing extremely cool shoes.

8:46 pm Q&A with the one and only Peter Bogdanovich. He’s in New York editing his new movie, a sex comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson called Squirrels To The Nuts.

8:47 pm Peter’s incredibly charming. People LOVE him.

8:48 pm Question: “Why’d you do Cold Turkey?” Peter: “The money was good.”

8:51 pm Question: “Is that an ascot?” Peter: “No, it’s a goddamn bandana.”

8:54 pm Question: “What are you up to now?” Peter: “Well I just did a movie with girl named Imogen Poots. Horrible name. Great actress.”

8:58 pm Question: “What was it like to work with Peter Bogdanovich?” Me: “Oh, it was awful.”

9:08 pm My dad, Peter, me, just after the New York screening.


8:59 am I’ve agreed to do a Redditt Ask Me Anything. I think mostly to check my ego.

9:01 am And it worked! First question, from chunkmeat1: “Can I pee on you?”


9:21 pm Look Ma, I’m part of the east coast liberal media elite.


8:27 pm Beverly Hills. Private Cold Turkey screening at Soho House. They have candy and beer here.

9:17 pm Soho House wont let me drink at their bar, because I’m not a member, so I go to BOA and eat fried calamari and drink gin and tonics and refresh Twitter.


3:37 pm Land at Dulles.

3:57 pm My parents are nice enough to come pick me up (it’s like 45 minutes outside of DC). We go back to their house and drink wine and make pie and watch football.

7:08 pm Thanksgiving dinner IRL. At Tim’s, the father of the woman to whom I’m related by marriage. My parents are with me.

8:39 pm Nobody gets stabbed.

9:19 pm But I do get a Hanukkah present from Tim. It’s a vintage art criticism book called Kitsch. Which in and of itself would be pretty cool.

9:20 pm “Read the inscription,” Tim says.

9:21 pm I open the front cover: “Dearest Peter, You have nothing to learn from me. – Orson”

9:21 pm With a stamp under the dust jacket that reads: “FROM THE LIBRARY OF PETER BOGDANOVICH”

9:23 pm Holy crap.

9:24 pm No, seriously.

9:25 pm Holy crap.

9:26 pm A book from Orson Welles to Peter Bogdanovich about how he has nothing left to learn, given to me at Thanksgiving with my own parents.

9:27 pm Which just about wraps her all up, as Sam Elliott once said.

9:28 pm So – Happy Thanksgiving, Peter and Orson, Mommy and Daddy, Tim and the woman to whom I’m related by marriage.

9:29 pm I love you all, and I’m extremely thankful.

By Will Slocombe / Events Coordinator, Film Independent at LACMA / Writer/Director, Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey, which opened theatrically in LA, New York, and other cities around the country, is now available on platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Google Play, and — Will’s personal favorite — Xbox 360.