If you thought you spotted actress Kate Walsh and actor Donal Logue on the North Fork back in the summer of 2019, chances are it was them. The captivating duo helm director Dylan McCormick’s Sometime Other Than Now, which was shot in Greenport and at various North Fork locales like Truman Beach, Lin Beach House, and Greenport’s Main Street.
We caught up with McCormick, who wrote and directed the film, about shooting on the North Fork, Sometime Other Than Now‘s star-studded cast, how he got into filmmaking, and much more.
The film is set in New England, but you filmed in Greenport. What drew you to the North Fork village?
DM: I had always vaguely imagined it being set sort of in between Cape Cod and Boston. I went up there a couple of years ago and drove around on my own, just to scout different locations and see what it felt like.
For a couple of reasons, the proximity to New York City, frankly, the tax incentives of New York State, and I had a pretty significant connection and familiarity with things out there. Way back in I think 2000 or ’99, my wife and I had started renting a small place on Shelter Island, for maybe six years or so. We would drive constantly alternating taking the North Fork route or through the Hamptons, up through Sag Harbor. So it felt very comfortable and very, very familiar out there to me. And it just very much felt like it worked. That particular way in which you get these sunsets that are on the North Fork, I think just cinematically is actually, in a weird way, better than if you’re on the coast below Boston. If you go out to the Cape, you can get that – but just because you’re facing west.
I went out there on my own to do the same scouting that I had done in Cape Cod, and I literally just spent a few days by myself driving around. And Greenport itself, it just hit me one day that it’s just the absolute perfect town for the story, in every way that I could have imagined was just like what I had pictured. It just took a while for me to mentally transpose it to there and say, Wait a minute, this absolutely works. One particular day, my first sort of aha moment was I drove past the Sunset Motel in Greenport, and I went, Oh my god, this is perfect. We ended up looking at a lot of other different hotels and motels, and then we just decided that the Sunset was perfect, and it worked out for them, and we were off and running.
What year did you film and besides the Sunset, where else did you film?
DM: We filmed in May and June of 2019. So, it’s been a while. Pre-pandemic. In addition to the Sunset, we shot at a bookstore downtown [Burton’s Book Store], a bar [Front Street Tavern] that we both spent time at as a crew and filmed a significant scene, and then just a lot of gorgeous road and ocean vista locations all throughout the North Fork.
Could you speak to the film’s casting? What made you feel that Donal and Kate were the right fit for Sam and Kate?
DM: Once we got the film up and running and financed, it started to pivot towards, okay, so who makes sense here? After looking at a bunch of lists for a while with our casting director, I am seeing the name Donal Logue. To be frank, I kind of didn’t really hone in on it initially. I had actually known Donal 20 years earlier, because he was in a wonderful little indie movie called The Tao of Steve 20 years earlier, in which he co-starred with my wife, Greer Goodman. She co-wrote it and her sister directed and co-wrote it, and their friend, Duncan North, co-wrote it. So, there was this big connection to Donal. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. But the more I thought about him, the more I just thought he actually has all of these qualities I’m looking for. He’s a guy that you could just see living this sort of peripatetic lifestyle, haunted by something. And he doesn’t get a huge chance to do this in this movie, but he’s both funny and incredibly smart – and just has a lot of depth and gravitas.
I just kept initially thinking, No, he doesn’t make a lot of sense, because from The Tao of Steve, it was a very, very, very different role, kind of romantic comedy. And then the more I thought about him, I just thought, You know what? It’s possible that this is exactly right. I got the script. I ended up going out to California and meeting with him and having lunch with him. And he just said, “Dylan, I started reading the script and I almost just fell over. This is just fantastic.” I think he feels that there’s just a lot of parallels for him, and emotional resonances. He was born in a South Texas border town and ended up going to college in New England and being all over the country.
After he and I discussed it, that was enough to just start moving the process forward and gearing up. It just was very quickly after that that Kate Walsh got sent our way. And they said she was interested. I met with her and I was just thrilled that she would want to be in the movie. She has a pretty big presence out there. I met with her, we read through the script a little bit, and I just thought, This is incredible. She’s just perfect in this. And we were shooting a short time later.
Sometime Other Than Now is about second chances, family, and love. What was the inspiration behind the film?
DM: You know, I don’t know that there was an inspiration behind it. It really just sort of came out organically. Looking back, after the fact, I sort of can attach those kinds of words to it. But to be quite honest, when I was writing, I just was writing into what made sense to me in that moment, in a very organic way. It wasn’t until later on that I started to develop those themes. The weird thing is that literally when I was writing, initially, all I had was this guy sort of showing up in this place. I didn’t know who he was or what he was all about. There was no daughter involved. And I just started writing forward one scene after the next, letting it take me wherever it was gonna take me. Over the course of literally several years, I started to just shape and clarify for myself what the story might be. Which is a really hard way to write, because you can really paint yourself into a corner and get stuck, and then spend a long time on structure, trying to make things make sense. But that’s just how it developed. It wasn’t really until after the fact that some of those themes emerged for me. I started writing it so long ago, when I was probably 40-years-old. Now I’m actually the same age as the character. When I started writing it, I didn’t have any kids. Now I have two daughters. So it wasn’t like I was writing the story of my life in any way. My life kind of filled the cellophane around it, after the fact.
And what made you want to get into filmmaking?
DM: I had been an actor, fairly briefly. My degree in college was dramatic literature and directing theater. I came out of there and started a couple theater companies in downtown New York and was an actor. Did some regional theater and Off Broadway, some indie films.
My way into it was more as a writer, initially. I don’t approach it stylistically or visually, particularly. I just felt that as a writer, I might have things to say, so I made a movie called Four Lane Highway, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and won some awards at other festivals. Once I wrote that script, I really felt like I don’t know a lot about directing movies, but I had directed a short film called Closing Time, which was, for me, in part, just really kind of my film school, trying to teach myself how to do this and surround myself with people who knew what they were doing. On my first movie, people kind of said, oh, that’s okay, you don’t need to go to school. You can just have a really good DP and you’ll be fine. Well, the learning curve was much greater than that. It really was a massive learning curve. And I just sort of threw myself into the middle of this thing. And so for me, it developed out of writing. And then I had to spend a lot of time teaching myself the other part of it. I actually ended up taking a bunch of film classes right before that, and then after that as well.
What are you working on next?
DM: A couple of different things. I’m tossing around some very old ideas, which so much of my focus has been on this movie and bringing it to where it is now. But in some of those gaps, a couple of different things that I think would work well as episodic things, either streaming or network, a couple other very small feature films that are very hard to get made. Something that I mostly have been writing and focusing on is a story about an actress who is in her 50s, who hits a breaking point and goes into inpatient recovery treatment for substance abuse, and follows a kind of reckoning for her, about how she is operating in her life and with herself and with other people. She’s thrown into a circumstance where she’s no longer the famous actress who is getting taken care of by everybody, but rather just one of these people whom, like every other person that struggles with recovery and substance abuse, is really having to come down from that high perch and think about what kind of person she is and how she interacts with other people. And then she transitions from that facility into this small rural town in New England and has to really struggle to get her bearings in that new world.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
DM: I also wrote the score for this movie, which was really fun. I didn’t know if I could do it or if it was something that was going to work. But I listened to a bunch of other composers’ stuff, nothing was quite working for me in the way that I was hearing it. So, I ended up writing and recording it on my own, and then bringing in a wonderful musician named Rob Sanzone, who helped me then with some of the arranging and also played a bunch more instruments on it. That was a really, really gratifying part of this for me.
Sometime Other Than Now is currently in select theaters and on demand.