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Balls to the Wall

Brookfield Native Penelope Spheeris' Latest Film

Oct. 20, 2011
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Balls to the Wall is the new comedy directed by critically acclaimed Penelope Spheeris. Spheeris' eclectic career includes directing the blockbuster Wayne's World, and writing the memoir of Janis Joplin The Gospel According to Janis. In Balls to the Wall, Ben (Joe Hursley) is forced by his fiancé's father (Christopher McDonald) to take up exotic dancing to pay for his wedding to Rachel (Jenna Dewan), a previously privileged young woman. This timely film explores societal norms, while identifying with the financial chaos currently shaking America.

What drew you to Jason Nutt's screenplay?

When I got the script, I just laughed out loud. I had to do it. The subject matter of the male exotic dancer had not been dealt with in film before, not in anything. I liked the fact that it was fresh territory. I like it when people are different; mixing it up is the right thing to do. I love challenging the norm. People think the film is dirty based on the title, but it's not, it's funny.

How was it directing a comedy?

Directing music videos and documentaries was similar to directing Balls to the Wall;
it was an onstage performance with a cast and a sound.

How was the cast?

I have worked with Christopher McDonald four times now; I've known him since 1984. He said Mimi Rogers would play a great wife, so we went after her. I also needed someone who could rock- out on stage. Joe Hursley had all the elements; I was like ok, he is it.

You have had a long career, what keeps you excited about entertainment?

I love to make people laugh. It is just what I do. It is kind of hard times these days, and people need a good laugh.

This film has to do with financial troubles? Do you think audiences will identify?

Yes. It was not written in the script that the family was totally broke. I asked for it to be put in there, I wanted people to identify with the characters. This film is a total escape from reality.


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