Meet 40-year old Isaac Lachmann, a struggling actor who is struggling with life. His career is tanking amid directing a small theater production of The Seagull. His family is tired of him and to make matters worse, his blind girlfriend of 10 years can’t even stand to be in the same room as him.
Deadline’s sister publication Variety calls Lemon “the year’s breakout buzz film from the Next section of Sundance,” paralleling Janicza Bravo’s feature directorial debut to David Lynch’s talents with a style that is “Theater of the Absurd meets Comedy Central sitcom”.
Bravo cowrote Lemon with her husband Brett Gelman who stars as Isaac, while Judy Greer plays his blind g.f. Ramona in what is the most audacious role of her career.
Janicza was at Sundance back in 2013 with Gregory Go Boom, a short starring Michael Cera as a paraplegic who lives near the Salton Sea. Cera also stars in Lemon as an actor in the Seagull production who gets more than his fair share of intimacy with Isaac. In sum, Bravo has directed seven shorts, and most recently helmed the episode “Juneteenth” for Donald Glover’s Atlanta series.
Describing her seed for Lemon, Janicza says that Gelman and her were grappling with “this fear and anxiety that we were going to fail and we weren’t going to arrive at the light that we hoped for; that was the genesis of Isaac.” They hammered out the first draft five years ago a process that Gelman says was “meticulous.” Gelman is a TV writer/creator and as an actor stars in Comedy Central’s Another Period as Hamish Crassus and Starz’s Blunt Talk. He can be seen in the upcoming reboot of Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Craig Johnson’s feature Wilson which also played at this year’s Sundance.
Says Gelman, “What I really loved about Isaac is this anxiety and this lack of self worth that; I just feel like there’s a lot of confidence right now. We live in an overconfident world, and I like that she was putting out this story where she was basically pointing at everybody, and saying, ‘You’re not confident. You’re scared shitless.’ And my hope is that my character and all the characters in the movie will make people feel less lonely.”
Lemon also stars Nia Long, Gillian Jacobs, Shiri Appleby, Rhea Pearlman, David Paymer, Megan Mullally, Jeff Garlin, and Jon Daly.
Actors, directors, filmmakers and special guests visiting the Deadline Studio at Sundance 2017 enjoyed sweet and savory treats, custom cocktails and more at Applegate’s REEL FOOD CAFE. Find out more about Applegate and their mission to change the meat we eat at www.applegate.com.