Inspiration and Chemistry

By Hans Pedersen, Jan. 15, 2015.

You can tell that the adorable comedy The 10 Year Plan is a labor of love. The movie’s director, writer and producer, J.C. Calciano, said the project was inspired by two of his friends who ere caught up in a unique dilemma.

“About 15 years ago my two best friends were out together,” recalled the director during a recent phone interview with Echo Magazine. “And they made this deal that if they were alone by the time they were 35 years old, they would be a couple.”

Then, he added, the agreement-turned-creative-inspiration resurfaced about five years ago.

“They both came to me individually and said, ‘He’s really great, I love him as a friend, but I don’t know if I could ever be romantically involved,’” Calciano explained, “And I thought, ‘what a hilarious idea for a romantic comedy!’”

Basing his script on that setup, Calciano crafted a fictional story that his two friends say still rings true.

Calciano’s screenplay attracted the attention of actor Jack Turner, who earned the part of Myles. Turner was one of 100 people who auditioned for the movie.

“I just really loved the script from top to bottom when I read it,” said Turner, who spoke to Echo over the phone with a thick British accent that’s completely undetectable in the film.

“It was clear that it was making a really powerful message in terms of being a family-friendly gay romantic comedy,” the actor said, “where the relationship is like any other except that it’s happens to be between two men.”

Turner said he appreciated the script’s humor and well-developed characters.

“I was thrilled when I got the role,” he admitted. “I really liked it from top to toe.”

As the film’s producer, Calciano was able to set his own timetable for casting. He meticulously matched up the final contenders in combinations to find the best possible on-screen couple – a process he likened to finding the needle in the haystack.

“You really want to find the perfect two guys you want to watch fall in love,” he said.

The fact that this love connection really does sizzle onscreen is a testament  to not only the casting, but to the actors’ skills as well.

Turner recalled that he and Michael Adam Hamilton, the actor playing Brody, spent extra time rehearsing to make sure the relationship of the characters clicked. And, as a result, they’re now receiving a lot of positive feedback about that on-screen chemistry they worked so hard to achieve.

“Every time we ran it was different and honest, so I was really excited to work with him,” Turner said. “Michael’s a really, really great guy to work with and I think that came across in the movie.”

Lead characters Myles and Brody, are a bit like Oscar and Felix in The Odd Couple: one is a bit uptight and emotional, while the other is carefree and kind of a slob.

Calciano said he was fleshing out the idea that “a good couple really does complement each other, in the way that one person excels at something the other person is weak in.”

The fact that Myles and Brody are total opposites may be the reason they can’t see how perfect they are for each other. Or is their real problem that they’re so close to the situation that they can’t see the proverbial forest thru the trees?

“I think it’s a combination of both,” Calciano said. “It’s very much a yin and yang. A lot of couples with two people who are really similar are not as strong as two people who really do fit together because of their complementing strengths and weaknesses.”

The actor playing Myles views the two characters struggle to connect differently.

“For me, it’s more that they can’t get past their own issues that they have with love and with themselves,” Turner said. “It’s almost as if those issues are clouding the truth of their love for each other.”

While he had a few television appearances under his belt, Turner makes his feature film debut in the 10 Year Plan, so landing the lead role was a proud achievement. He praised Calciano’s organization and whip-smart production schedule for making it all run smoothly.

Calciano – whose favorite filmmakers include camp king John Waters and the legendary Roger Corman – directed two previous films, including eCupid, and said he felt burgeoning pressure to make this movie his best ever.

“I try to explore different elements of love,” he said about his filmmaking career. “I try to speak to a different part of the community, I try to speak to a different aspect of love.”

A central theme to this romance, the director said, is that “love will find you when you’re ready to receive it”. 

But the more precise message that Calciano is hoping folks take away from the movie is, “The perfect person is right in front of you and you may not notice that

person, and you should give that person the opportunity.”

Noting that stereotypes are representations the LGBT community ought to avoid, the director added, “We want to dispel those myths, and for young people to know there is a place for themselves.”

While Calciano identifies as gay, Turner said he has never been attracted to a man. But he’s grateful this film is resonating with the LGBT community.

The sharply written, raucous comedy has earned awards at LGBT film festivals across the country – from San Diego to Atlanta.

“We’ve had a number of people come up to us and say they really identified with Myles’ characters and his issues,” Turner said about their appearances at festivals that have been screening the film. “I was just so thrilled to be a part of it.”

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