CHICAGO (CBS) — Writer-director-actor Matthew Aaron said he tries to make a film a year and is constantly writing.
“This idea was one I felt very passionate about getting done now,” Aaron said. “My films tend to dovetail into my personal life and what I am experiencing.”
In his new independent film “Landline,” he plays a public relations executive who gives up his cellphone after he loses a promotion to a more social media savvy college graduate. Aaron said “Landline” takes a closer look at disconnecting from technology. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram they were taking over my life, Twitter,” he said. “I’m also a huge film buff and we were talking about Albert Brooks’ “Lost in America,” one day and the concept of the guy that goes mad. Then I thought about how mad would you go if you didn’t have your phone? How mad would you go if people were getting promotions over you because they knew more about social media than you did? That’s a real thing,” he said.
“Landline” also stars Jim O’Heir.
“Coming from the acting standpoint. If it’s down to two actors and they are both equally capable, the producers will look at their social media and if one has half a million followers and one has 10,000 followers, it’s a no brainer where they’re going to go,” said O’Heir. “I’ve had to become Twitter and Facebook savvy because of my career.”
The film takes place in Chicago and features some of the city’s iconic spots.
“I buy the phone at Yesterday. I do all the locations for my films. I pride myself on my locations. Places like Yesterday, The Loft, Ann Sather’s. It’s places I go to. Whenever I go anywhere, if I feel it’s a location for a movie, it’s gonna be. If you’re going to buy a Landline film, where else are you going to buy it? At Yesterday on Addison,” Aaron said.
The end of the film features a scene at Wrigley Field for a day with Ryne Sandberg playing himself.
“I stalked Ryne Sandberg. It was crazy how I found him. I stalked him down at a men’s hair convention. I said have you heard about our movie we’re doing? It’s me, Tom Arnold, Jim O”Heir, it’s me, will you do it? He said “sounds great.” It was awesome,” recalls Aaron. “MLB gave us the go ahead. It was a thrill.”
“It’s surreal because I spent many afternoons in the bleachers growing up,” said O’Heir who grew up in Lansing. “We got to go in the locker room talking to Ryne Sandberg. It was surreal.”
The film also features an LGBT theme, which Aaron said is especially important to him.
“This is the first LGBT themed movie that has ever been done with a major sports corporation. It was really cool to write something that was clean. I’ve never seen a movie like this before,” Aaron said.
“It’s not a gay movie. It’s about technology, it’s about friends. The main characters are gay but it’s inclusive and it doesn’t matter,” said O’Heir.
“I was very proud of how this film turned out. It turned out to be a very Chicago film. If that’s the stamp I make as a director, is making these kind of Chicago films, my life is great.” Aaron said. “I love the North Side, the West side, two of my favorite areas. Every film I make is a love letter to my hometown. Every film, Chicago is a huge character.”
Matthew Aaron honed his comedic skills at the famed Second City Theatre and has performed stand-up at multiple legendary venues such as The Comedy Store, The Improv and The Laugh Factory.
Since 2011 he has been the host of the wildly popular, Award nominated Entertainment & Comedy Internet Radio show “The Matthew Aaron Show.”
“Landline” is playing at the Music Box Theater this week and is on video on demand starting April 4th.