“The Giant Mechanical Man” has been winning hearts at the Tribeca Film Festival, where the Jenna Fischer-Chris Messina romantic comedy (available on Video On Demand) has been hailed as a small gem. It also features Topher Grace, playing an obnoxiously self-centered author to the entertaining hilt, Malin Akerman and Bob Odenkirk, among others.
“Jenna was attached first, she developed the property with Lee, who she wound up marrying,” recalls Michael Nardelli, who is among the film’s producers, speaking of writer-director Lee Kirk. “That’s the coolest story of the whole thing. She sparked the idea, and they wound up falling in love. They got married and they had a baby seven months ago. Their big joke is that it’s easier to fall in love, get married and have a baby than it is to get a movie made.”
Their movie, about a silver-outfitted street performer and a girl who works at the zoo, has its whimsical qualities, but as Nardelli points out, it’s actually more down-to-earth than many rom-coms in which the characters all seem to lead rich and/or famous lifestyles: “The appeal is, to me, that it’s just real,” he says.
Nardelli tells us that that the production took place over “Eighteen grueling days in the cold in Detroit in December. We were all in the same hotel in the suburbs of Detroit, and everybody got along really well. It was totally a family atmosphere. Everybody was really hustling to get the movie made on time and under budget,” he adds.