“Lance was like, ‘Have you ever written a movie?’ And I was all like no," Hicks said. 

(Illustration by Christopher Street)

(Illustration by Christopher Street)

deadCenter Film Festival

Wednesday-Sunday

deadcenterfilm.org

See related stories and the festival program in this issue.


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All Spencer Hicks wants to do is make people laugh.

The beloved local comedian has been successful at it, hosting events, opening for nationally known comics like Dave Chappelle and occasionally writing for The Lost Ogle. It’s why Lance McDaniel approached Hicks in 2015 about writing a movie.

The result is the feature O, Brother!, which debuts Saturday and Sunday at deadCenter. (McDaniel also is deadCenter Film Festival’s artistic director.)

“Lance was like, ‘Have you ever written a movie?’ And I was all like no. I’ve written sketches and shorts but have never tried to write something with an actual plot,” Hicks said. “So we’d meet every now and again and pitch ideas back and forth.”

At one point, they wanted to make a horror/comedy in the vein of Tucker and Dale vs Evil about a homicidal head counselor at a homosexual conversion therapy camp.

There was hope adult film star Jesse Jane, who lives in Moore, might be in it.

“Think Wet Hot American Summer meets Friday the 13th,” Hicks said.

Changing direction

When that idea fizzled, they started over and instead created a topical feature that seems right at home in Oklahoma.

“Well, Jesse fell through, so we scrapped that idea and came up with the idea of me playing the role of a right-wing asshole who gets caught up in the Ashley Madison hack,” Hicks said. “My character is very much family-values, anti-gay — basically an Oklahoma politician.”

McDaniel, who directed the film and shares writing credits with Hicks and Melissa Scaramucci, portrays the politician’s brother who owns a gay bar and hides his estranged sibling after he loses his wife and his job.

“And then wacky hijinks ensue,” Hicks said.

Some of the action happens at local club The Boom and includes appearances by Kitty Bob Aimes and Norma Jean Goldenstein, the pair behind the risqué Sunday Gospel Brunch live drag comedy show.

Musical theater whiz Matthew Alvin Brown portrays Terry, the politician’s ex-con best friend.

As raucous as the on-screen adventure gets, Hicks said the project wouldn’t have made it near a theater without indefatigable work from McDaniel and Scaramucci.

“I’ve never written a screenplay,” he said. “Lance and I got the plot points, and I was there to try to write jokes or funny scenes. Melissa did a ton of work to make it shootable.”

All in all, filming took less than a week. Hicks used his vacation days and worked long hours, but he said the process was fun.

After watching a rough cut a few months ago, he and McDaniel made notes and McDaniel tirelessly edited the project to ready it for the festival.

“We had a cast and crew watch party [May 31], and I was really impressed,” Hicks said. “I’m eager to see what other people think about it.”

Festivalgoers can make Hicks’ wish a reality 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday at Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16, 150 E. Reno Ave.


O, Brother!

7:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 p.m. Sunday

Harkins Theatres Bricktown 16

150 E. Reno Ave.

deadcenterfilm.org


Print Headline: Dead funny, O, Brother! delivers local comedy to deadCenter Film Festival.

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