Bob Brown (Director- 'Super Sucker')
”Super Sucker: Behind The Scenes“
Bob Brown (Executive Producer & Managing Partner of Purple Rose Films – with actor Jeff Daniels) entered the feature film business in 1998 as Executive Producer for Purple Rose Films first feature, ’Escanaba in Da Moonlight’. He also produced the Purple Rose Films documentary on the making of ’A Picture From Home: The Journey Through Escanaba in Da Moonlight - The Movie’. With twenty-three years of business experience, Brown has acted as Managing General Partner, General Partner, and Associate Partner in creating, developing and selling start up ventures using private investor funding. Brown has been active in franchise development for Blockbuster Video and Boston Market. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation, operation and sale of several other business opportunities, including performing arts instruction, a golf course resort and workplace child care centers. Brown is a graduate of Albion College, where he received his BA degree in Economics and Management. He received his Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations from the American College.
Now he brings all that knowledge and experience to the fore once again for a new Jeff Daniels movie. ’Super Sucker’ is the story of rival door-to-door vacuum cleaner distributors Fred Barlow (Jeff Daniels) and Winslow Schnaebelt (Harve Presnell) as they battle for territory and survival in a "winner takes all" contest. When perennial underdog, Fred Barlow re-discovers a long lost cleaning attachment, the contest turns as he and his team of misfits determine "non-traditional" uses for this attachment. The result not only changes their lives, it changes the home cleaning industry forever.
Chatting with Bob I first wondered what his final reasoning was behind the decision to add another feather to his company’s hat? ”Reality,” he replies stone-faced. ”Reality was the primary motivator. It goes back to the first one (‘Escanaba in Da Moonlight’) and what happened is we put it out into the marketplace and we got a few reasonable offers, but I was damned if I was gonna give this thing away. I’d rather stick it on our shelves and let nobody see it then give it to somebody else to make money on it and we make nothing! So, based on that attitude and decision we rolled out ‘Escanaba,’ it made waves and that proved to us that it could be done. So, when we wrote and produced ‘Super Sucker’ we again put it into the market place, and again we had distribution offers that were reasonable, but because we had done it so well with ‘Escanaba’ once, we thought we could do it again with this one. Fundamentally, that changed the direction of the company right then. So, now we’re not only a Production Company, but we’re a Distribution Company as well.”
Why was this film, starring a ‘hometown’ favorite, not filmed in his hometown of Chelsea ? ”Well, Chelsea’s too close to home for Jeff,” he smiles. ”We looked at Ann Arbor but it didn’t really have what we wanted, nor did Dearborn because there, depending which way the wind blows you’re in the flight path of Metro every twenty minutes! So it really was just an artistic decision at the time to film in both Jackson and Canada.”
Were there any ‘speed-bumps’ with regard filming ‘Super Sucker’ that you encountered ? ”Yeah, there were a couple of ‘speed-bumps’,” he gently laughs. ”We shot ‘Escanaba’ utilizing the Screen Actor’s Guild and so after that, and continuing our commitment to the Director’s Guild we then did ‘Super Sucker’ with the Screen Actor’s Guild, but we had some real issues with them on the set of ‘Super Sucker.’ But, the only other thing besides that was that ‘Super Sucker’ was a far bigger film than ‘Escanaba’ considering everything which ultimately means if you can give people more money you can also accomplish a lot more. But, it’s funny because I go into Canada by myself, then in two days I’ve got five people working with me, another two days I’ve got fifteen, and then thirty days I’ve got 120! The 120 work together for 35 days and then 110 of those finally go away time and so juggling all those elements/people was quite tough at times.”
How much are you spending on distributing your film ? ”We’re spending $1,000,000 on the commercial release, which is 125 theatres in six States!”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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