Tag Archives: The Giant Mechanical Man

Michael Nardelli: Coolest ‘Giant Mechanical Man’ Love Story Behind the Scenes

“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.

Kate Bosworth Performance a Revelation Says ‘Another Happy Day’s’ Michael Nardelli

Michael Nardelli

Sam Levinson’s “Another Happy Day” boasts a cast including Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Burstyn and George Kennedy — but it’s Kate Bosworth’s performance that stunned her costar and producer on the film, Michael Nardelli

“It’s a much more raw role for her than has been seen in the past.  Her emotions, her vulnerability, the places she went for this character who’s been emotionally victimized in the past, she is really great.  She’s really serious,” declares the hunky blond Nardelli, a USC grad, Groundlings member — and increasingly hot property. 

Nardelli started off being cast as Bosworth’s and Miller’s older brother in the film, opening today (11/18).  He credits his “obsession” with the project and Levinson’s script when asked how he wound up among the producers on the Sundance Film Festival favorite.  

“It was odd.  I was in Michigan doing prep work for another film,  ‘The Giant Mechanical Man,’ and I heard ‘Another Happy Day’ was fluctuating — the way they do in independent films,” he explains.  He contacted producer Celine Rattray (“The Kids Are All Right”) and said, “‘I know you’re inMichigan.  I’m already there, forming a production company, and I’d be happy to help with locations, financing, whatever I can do.'”  Two months later, he was brought in officially as one of the producers on the feature.   

“Sam’s script was just this great ensemble family dark comedy.  What was so attractive to the actors is, there’s nothing black or white about it, there’s no villain, no hero.  These are real people with real flaws and real attributes, there’s dimension to every facet to them,” he goes on.  “They’re each very relatable.  I think for an actor it’s much more interesting to play different shades of a character.”

Nardelli found himself multi-tasking in an enormous way, with two jobs on “Another Happy Day” — while he was overseeing filming of the upcoming “Giant Mechanical Man” cinema love story starring Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina and Topher Grace.  There were days he worked on both sets at different times.  Then he rushed immediately into another acting job in the big-screen chiller, “The Collection.”

“It was weird to go from being a full-time producer guy back to full-time actor guy.  I kept wanting to help out at video village or help the grips or check the cost report,” admits Nardelli with a laugh.  He has several other films on the way, too, as producer and/or actor.  He’ll be seen as “a stoner” who gets caught up in a political movement in Stephen (father of Jake and Maggie) Gyllenhaal’s “Grassroots” — and he has the big-screen adaptation of the Rolling Stone article, “The Girl Who Conned the Ivy League” in development for Amanda Seyfried. 

That’s pretty impressive for someone who looks like he could be a freshman himself.