Long before Marvel snatched him up and made a star of Agent Phil Coulson, Clark Gregg was primarily a screenwriter who only occasionally acted. He wrote the script for the supernatural horror film What Lies Beneath – starring Michelle Pfeiffer – and also wrote and directed the Sam Rockwell-starring Choke, based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel.
Choke released in 2008 (the same year as Iron Man), and since then Gregg has been working almost exclusively as Agent Coulson. While he’s had breaks from all the Marvel madness – appearing in Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, for instance – it’s been years since Gregg’s had the opportunity to work on a film of his own. With Trust Me, however, Gregg writes, directs, and stars, trading in playing a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for a child star talent agent.
The first trailer for the film has released and you can check it out above. In it, Gregg plays Howard Holloway, a former child star turned Hollywood agent desperately trying to break into the big leagues. When he meets Lydia (Saxon Sharbino), a young unsigned actress on the verge of landing the lead in a new teen franchise (think Twilight), Holloway sees his opportunity.
Trust Me first premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and while there we had the opportunity to talk with Gregg about the film. “It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to write next,” Gregg said, but once he landed on the right subject – child stars and their agents – he knew the film he wanted to make.
From there, Gregg struggled with the decision of whether or not to star as well, eventually deciding the frantic nature of directing and starring in a film shot in only 20 days “would lend itself to the chaotic desperation of Howard Holloway.” He was also fortunate enough to enlist the help of several A-list actor friends: Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, and Molly Shannon.
Indeed, Trust Me is packed with recognizable stars, but it’s Sharbino’s Lydia, the struggling young actress Holloway works to make a star, that is at heart of the picture. Finding the right actress for the role was tricky as Gregg said he, “wasn’t finding anyone who really could kind of make it feel real and still get the terms that this character goes through.” Sharbino, a young, up and coming actress herself, was perfect and Gregg said he was truly impressed with her confidence.
If the premise of a child star and their agent didn’t initially sound all that intriguing, has the film’s trailer changed your mind? Is there any interest in seeing Gregg outside of the Marvel universe and in a film he wrote, directs, and stars in?
Trust Me releases digitally on May 6th, 2014 and in theatres on June 6th, 2014.