From Chaplin to Marx, the top names in short comedic film boasted precise comedic timing, succinct deliveries and, most famously, substantial and iconic mustaches. If it is indeed lip fur that leads to legend, Rich Sommer is very self-consciously working to enter the pantheon of short film stache stars.
The "Mad Men" regular stars in the new short film "Mr. Stache," the story of a timid man fighting against societal rejection of the inner mustache he's finally dared to grow. The quirky conceit is the unlikely spawn of "My Movie Pitch," the partnership project between American Express, Tribeca Film Festival and YouTube. In an effort to engage the online community, the financial services company solicited thousands of movie pitch ideas via the video sharing site, with a team of veteran Tribeca Film Fest directors deciding on their favorite. The hot button issue of facial grooming, sent in by aspiring filmmaker John Nash, was the inspiration that won out.
From there, panel member Jac Schaeffer set to work to flesh out the script, bringing life to Sommer's brave fur lipped protagonist. It was an exciting opportunity for her, she told The Huffington Post Saturday night at the after party following the film's big screen premiere, because not only does she love the short film format, but the story of a man and his mustache was her favorite pitch all along.
When he was offered the role, Sommer read over Schaeffer's script and quickly accepted -- despite his own personal fear of the mustache.
"I'm not a big fan of mustaches. I grew it with facial hair [and then shaved everything but the mustache]. I dreaded it for the week when I had to have just the mustache," Sommer -- wearing a lazy, scruffy beard -- told The Huffington Post. "I tried to stay inside, mostly. I just feel very uncomfortable about it. I don't have the confidence to pull off a mustache."
But if Sommer was embarrassed to show his mustache to the general public, his first meeting with co-star Amy Smart -- who also ends up with a stache -- was downright terrifying.
"Our first scene, on the day we met, was when we were in the pickup truck, kissing," he laughed. "So it was like, 'Hi, nice to meet you, let's kiss and you have a mustache and that's weird.' It's a very weird way to get to know someone."
Luckily, the two developed a quick chemistry, resulting finely trimmed seven minute love story.
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