Actor Tommy Beardmore, a 2008 Purdue graduate, who grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, will realize a dream when “The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man,” a film which he produced and stars in, premieres in his hometown, Sunday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at Wabash Landing 9. The event is sponsored by Nine Irish Brothers, Interior Objects, and Purdue University Film and Video Studies.
Written and directed by Josh Hope, and distributed by L.A. based Olive Entertainment, the indie dark comedy, which was shot in Chicago, has won numerous awards and has become a favorite on the international film festival circuit. Based on a true story, the film follows a disillusioned man (Beardmore) who, after both his marriage and career abruptly end, hits the road to find out where his life went wrong.
“The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man” also stars Rusty Schwimmer (“The Perfect Storm” and “North Country”) and D’Arcy Fellona (“Gossip Girl”). The mostly Chicago native supporting cast includes Sean Patrick Leonard, Elizabeth Stenholt, Jeff Garretson, Patrick Zielinski, and many others. The film was predominantly shot in the neighborhoods of Boystown, Lakeview, and in rural Sycamore Ill.
After graduating from Purdue, Beardmore went on to graduate from the famed Second City Conservatory, The iO Theatre and Artistic Home. He has been featured in over 500 live performances around the country as well as over 100 films, television shows, and commercials. He has been featured on NBC, Showtime, ESPN, Buzzfeed, The Onion, The Second City Network, as well as various media outlets including The Examiner and Indiewire.com.
For Beardmore’s work on “The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man” eFilmCritic.com reviewer Jason Whyte praised the actor for “a truly great lead performance.” He was also acclaimed as “Actor of the Year” at Twister Alley Film Festival, “Best Actor” at Austin Revolution Film Festival, and nominated twice for “Best Actor” at Eyecatcher Film Festival and North Hollywood CineFest.
In 2014, Beardmore was named the first recipient of Purdue University’s “Outstanding Alumni” in Film & Video Studies.
Besides acting and producing, Beardmore also writes his own work. He recently created, produced, and starred in the award-winning dark comedy series, “Greetings! From Prison” with the company he co-founded, Backyard Adventure Club Productions.
A member of SAG/AFTRA, Beardmore is represented by Whole Artist Management (Rich Martino) and The Mine Talent Agency (Amanda Kouri) in New York City.
Recently byteclay.com spoke by phone with Beardmore who was on set for “Disposal,” a psychological thriller film he is currently shooting in Boston, Massachusetts. The conversation focused on the film premiere and his career activities.
I imagine you are pretty excited, right?
As a boy years ago, I distinctly remember sitting in Wabash Landing watching whatever blockbuster was out at the time dreaming that one day one of my movies would play there. It’s a special occasion for any filmmaker to bring their work home, back to where we all started. It is really going to a very special night. It takes a long time for a film to get made. This is the part where you get to sit back and enjoy it with friends and family. I’ll see tons of old colleagues and people I studied with, and my teachers. It’s going to be chock-full. It’s like that dream that you have that everybody from your past is in it.
What’s it like seeing yourself on film?
I admit it was a bit surreal the first time I saw myself in a movie theater. Now, I just get a pleasant feeling of accomplishment as anyone would.
What was the film’s budget?
It wasn’t very big. Josh is a very resourceful director. It was under $50,000 but I came on as producer as well and I got a lot of people involved from my rolodex who contributed a lot. We did a Indiegogo campaign. We also had a lot of support from the film community, friends, and family— all of which helped get it done basically. It was basically a two week shoot with a small, minimal crew and we shot with about 25 actors, mostly Chicago natives, but we also brought in a few from the West Coast. We held a casting call in Chicago and saw hundreds and hundreds of people but we narrowed it down to a really solid supporting cast.
Where has it been seen since its release?
Since its world premiere last spring we have been invited to tons of film festivals and the reception has been great. We have 8 best film awards. Josh has probably won about 5 best directors probably another dozen for best editing and best score. It’s just a great, all around, Indie film. It’s a great story, terrific cast and people seem to really enjoy it.
What are you proudest about as it pertains to “Life & Death?”
I’m thrilled at just how far it has traveled across the globe. We’ve been to Switzerland, Rome, Sydney, Canada, and around 40 U.S. cities. We’ll be heading to Alaska this June, and will finish up the festival run with Toronto Film Week and New York Film Week in the fall.
Why are you now based in New York?
You know what? I don’t know what happened but I was brought to New York. I was going to move to L.A. but something told me I wasn’t supposed to go yet and had to check out New York first. And I am glad I did because a lot of things are happening there.
Why didn’t you feel like you were ready for L.A.?
I think L.A. is my stopping point. I don’t consider my career or this journey going from 0 to 120. There is a very strategic way to go about pursuing your dream and for me there are certain chapters that I need to write. One of those was moving to Chicago. I said I would give myself five years and I gave myself six. Another chapter is New York. I have to be able to be in that environment to shape me into the person I want to become. L.A. is where I am going to put my stakes down. You can’t just say, “I am going to be an actor and move to L.A.” You need to be seasoned. You need to be flavored a little bit.
So is it primarily film you are pursuing in New York?
Film and television. I am open to theater but most of my work is film and TV and it is something I have always been interested in. It’s just more natural that I gravitate towards that medium.
How has your New York experience been thus far?
At some point you have to be able to say that you lived in New York and experienced it. It is a very special thing. For me it is a life changing experience and I think everybody should have a chance to live it, you know? I don’t know how long I am going to be there but the fact that I get to be there, live each moment to the fullest and enjoy the city for everything that it’s worth makes me feel incredibly lucky/
Though you are now based in New York, do you still work in Chicago?
Yes. For so many years I was doing so much over there. There is a lot of loyalty and community in Chicago. People that I want to work with are still there so I often go back and jump on projects and collaborate with them, which is great. We are bringing “Life & Death” back to Chicago for the premiere which is just a few days before the Lafayette premiere and it is a very special screening because the story in the film happened there in Chicago. Not only that but the cast and crew are Chicago natives so it is a very special screening. It is going to be at iO Theatre. That was where I did my first show in Chicago when I didn’t know anybody. I had no idea what I was going to do six or seven years ago and iO took me in. I studied and performed there for years so it’s a perfect way to bring this movie back.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am in Boston shooting Daniel Cayarga’s “Disposable” It’s a psychological thriller. I play the lead. It’s kind of “Memento” meets the “The Life of Walter Mitty.” It’s a tremendous story. It’s been shopped around for about ten years and David’s finally making it so our first day is today. We were supposed to do it yesterday but we had a snow storm.
Tell me about your character.
Well, we can’t talk about it too much because we haven’t begun to shoot it yet but it is a psychological thriller and deals with a man named Billy Thompson who is a widower. His wife dies in a freak car accident. He was the driver so he is ridden with guilt so he has found a way to project an alternate universe and reality that he can come in and out of where is unattached from any from any emotional responsibility. At times there is a coincidental string of murders so he has to figure out either if he is the one doing it or if someone else is to blame.
Is the film being shot primarily in Boston?
Yes, in and around Boston. It’s an indie film. It had legs before 2008 prior to the recession. It had a pretty big budget and a lot of people interested but the recession hit and it kind of lost funding. However, its interest remained so Daniel is now taking it upon himself to get it done. It’s a great story.
What is your long term career goal?
Acting for TV and film will always be priority number one. But I would like to one day own a production company specializing in indie films and documentaries. I want to see projects from concept to creation, tell good stories, and let my voice ring out a bit.
Looking back, how effective was your education at Purdue in advancing your career?
Without a doubt, Purdue gave me the tools I needed begin my professional career. Specifically, I had access to top of the line equipment, instructors turned mentors who were industry professionals, and a tight knit group of peers who I continue to work with today. Purdue instilled resourcefulness which I believe is right up there with determination and persistence. The best way to learn a craft is to find a way to get out and do it. There’s only so much you can learn in a classroom. The rest is up to you and what opportunities you can make for yourself.
The Chicago premiere of “The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man” is Thursday, April 28, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), iO Theatre (The Mission Theatre), 1501 N. Kingsbury St. Chicago, Ill. 60642 After party at The iO Bar. Tickets: (312) 929-2401 or visit iOimprov.com.
The Lafayette premiere of “The Life & Death of an Unhappily Married Man” is Sunday, May 1, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), Wabash Landing 9, 300 E. State St. West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906. After party at Nine Irish Brothers. Tickets: (765) 449-7469