Live & laugh: Get to know ‘Dale Archdale’ star Matthew Warzel
Are you looking for a movie that will knock your socks off and is the perfect combination of Joe Dirt & Eastbound and Down? You’re in luck! Thanks to the indie film Dale Archdale country comedies will never be the same.
The film is a hilarious twist on classism in the United States of America where Dale Archdale is both the hero & villain in the very best way! The film is produced & written by iCarly & One Tree Hill’s very own Matthew Warzel, who also founded Cleveland Clowns Films LLC; where you can watch more of his hysterical content.
Today, we were fortunate enough to sit down with the brilliant producer, writer, and actor Matthew Warzel; we’ve got the inside scoop on Dale Archdale and the other great comedies he’s worked on. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say!
You’re originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where did your filmmaking journey begin?
It began while I was doing standup & improvisation in Cleveland, and a producer came to one of my standup shows and asked me to be in a local commercial. After I did that first acting gig, I caught the bug and began taking courses on acting. I always wanted to be a copywriter in advertising as my day job, and so I thought, I’ll shoot for the moon and try to be in the movies.
Well, YouTube was just starting out, so I took my writing and began making short films to act in and show my creative writing side. From there, the dream began to make a feature film one day, and that day came 6 years later when we started principal photography on Dale Archdale. He was a character I created for YoutTube during those early years.
You’re a triple thread (writing/acting/producing). Do you prefer to act on set or be the creative behind the scenes?
I prefer writing first, directing second and acting third. I love the BTS creativity involved in filmmaking.
What’s your goal as an actor in the film industry?
To be in more SAG films or shows and eventually be more than a day player.
What great actors are you inspired by?
Tom Hanks is my favorite actor. Growing up, my biggest influences were John Candy, Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray.
Do you find it difficult to transition from actor to producer?
Not at all. I produced over 50 short films prior to the feature so I actually enjoy the process. I’m super organized and love chatting with people, so producing was very easy for me as it incorporated both of those skills.
What was it like to work on films like A Bad Mom’s Christmas & Parental Guidance?
Bad Mom’s Christmas was a blast because I actually went to high school with Kathryn Hahn’s brother so we hit it off immediately and chatted it up the whole time.
Parental Guidance was cool because I was there day-1 and they already had some kinks to iron out, so seeing the troubleshooting was amazing. Plus Billy Crystal & Better Midler were so professional & genuinely nice! I think my favorite set though was in The Nice Guys. I got to improvise lines with Ryan Gosling and cracked him up during one of the takes . . . super memorable.
How does working on a series like One Tree Hill differ from big Hollywood films?
It’s essentially the same. They have protocols in place that aligned with Hollywood films. So depending on the set (more bodies for bigger scenes), all in all, I still was treated the same and had to perform the same way.
Tell us about your role in creating Cleveland Clowns Films, LLC?
It started out as a mini-episodic series in the vein of the absurd local commercials you see occasionally. I wanted to essentially spoof those.
Tell us about your film Dale Archdale
When a hillbilly has to fight off richies to save his trailer park, he never thought the mob would get involved. After Dale Archdale’s trailer park shuts down, he is forced to move in with his ex wife at her free rental house in an upscale community. Dale manages to catch wind of a Chili Cook-off with enough prize money to save his beloved trailer park.
However, he must face his snooty neighbors, an angry mob boss, and shenanigans from his inbred pack of hillbilly friends & family members along the way. For a guy who lives beyond his means and thinks he has his shit together, Dale’s reality is that he has a lot of issues going on underneath. It’s Joe Dirt meets Eastbound & Down.
What was the biggest inspiration behind the film?
Having relocated from Los Angeles to the South in Wilmington, North Carolina, I noticed my “quasi-southern accent” was appearing more and more during my improvisation classes I taught. So that coupled with the local commercial spoof idea, I created Dale Archdale.
After producing about ten episodes, I started having all my friends (from nephews in their 20s to parent’s friends in their 70s) mention ideas and telling me they loved this character. So I took that and went off to write the actual feature film’s script, while producing a short film to use for crowdfunding some budget dollars.
Who’s the target audience for Dale Archdale?
Beer-drinking males aged 18-45.
Have you ever thought of making Dale Archdale into an animated series?
I would love to adapt it into an animation series. The possibilities would be endless since in the animation field, characters can do superhuman things. Probably a larger budget required than what I have at the moment though LOL.
How is this comedy different from other American sitcoms?
It’s my personal creativity involved. No two films are the same, even ones with similarities. I wanted to write this as raunchy and in your face as possible but with minimal swearing and absurdities. I wanted the humor to come from the characters more than the lines themselves.
As a writer, what’s your creative process like?
I love building out the story first before tackling the characters. I enjoy mapping out beats and scenes, then work on the main character’s arc, along with the supporting cast.
What’s your biggest challenge as a writer in film today?
Finding time to write. I currently own/operate a resume writing & career coaching firm that’s taken over the bulk of my day. Plus, my son’s about to turn three-years-old, so creative writing hasn’t been a part of my life in almost three years now. Not to say I won’t go back to screenwriting, just not at the moment.
What’s your biggest success?
Personally, my son, Augustus. Professionally (in the entertainment space), getting my SAG gigs to date. I know how hard it is to book, and when I do, there’s no better feeling. It’s exhilarating receiving the “call” from my agent when we’ve booked a gig.
What’s your biggest failure?
What did you learn? Wasting time trying to do everything. I’ve been through the ringer and tried it all, and I wish I would’ve just focused on one specific skill at a time, I think I would’ve progressed further, much earlier.
What advice can you give to upcoming screenwriters?
Write every day. Stick to a schedule and hold yourself accountable. Hollywood is not waiting for you to arrive, you need to bring something to the table to disrupt their day-to-day so they stop, look, and say: “hmm, this might be interesting or unique”, and are willing to take time from their day to consider your talent.
If you could watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be?
Forrest Gump (drama) or Major League (comedy).