TORONTO—When the Georgia Straight asks Daydream Nation writer-director Michael Goldbach about his big break in Canadian film, he laughs and asks, “Do you know who Marshall Brickman is?” Unless you’re a film geek or a Woody Allen buff, Goldbach realizes you probably won’t recognize the name of “the other writer” on movies like Annie Hall and Manhattan.
A few years ago Goldbach got to be Don McKellar’s answer to Brickman. The two cowrote Childstar. But since McKellar also directed and starred in the film, Goldbach says no one was sure what contribution he actually made. "It was an incredibly positive experience, but it was Don's idea, Don's concept. Don was my mentor throughout that whole process.”
So right after Childstar finished, Goldbach set out to come up with a script that would sound nothing at all like something McKellar would do. “I thought I'd better write something of my own that really shows my own voice, so that people know that I do have something different to bring to the table. And that's where this movie came from.” Goldbach, who grew up just outside of London, Ontario, says the quirky town in the film—Hargrove County—isn’t based on anywhere in particular. “I didn't want it to be limited by an exact geographic location.”
A dark comedy about a big city girl who arrives in a small town about the same time as a serial killer, Daydream Nation (which opens in Vancouver on Friday [April 15]) stars Kat Dennings—a Philadelphia-born, L.A.–raised actress who recently starred in the Cancon hit, Defendor, and is appearing in the upcoming comic book blockbuster, Thor.
Dennings wasn’t just the star of the movie, she was the key to scoring the financing and the other major cast members.
“Once she attached herself, other actors came running,” says Goldbach. “She's wonderful and people love her, and once Kat was on the movie, they understood what kind of movie we were trying to make.”