I sincerely hope I have not annoyed everyone I know by constantly talking about how much I love Adam Rehmeier’s film Dinner In America. Actually, in truth, I don’t care, because the movie is awesome and everyone needs to see it. I was lucky enough to see it at Sundance 2020, and I have been championing it all year. I’m glad to report that it just won the audience award at the first-ever NIGHTSTREAM film festival, which was the occasion for this interview. I had an amazing sh*t-shooting session with Adam Rehmeier and the two leads of the film, Kyle Gallner, and Emily Skeggs. This has been one of the most fun times I’ve had on an interview, but it just might be because the people I was talking to were awesome. Read on to see how it went.
So, Adam, I’m going to start with you.
Adam Rehmeier: Oh s**t.
Yeah. Hope you’re ready for this…were you in the punk scene growing up, and is that where this project came from?
Rehmeier: I wasn’t a scenester. I was a kid that was in bands growing up and played shows. More than anything, I was a big avid home recorder. So I spent all my free time with several different circles of friends recording music. So that was like all day, every day what I enjoyed doing when I was younger. So, for me, it’s reflected in the film by what they do in the basement. I feel like when you play and when you record, you get these moments. That scene in the basement with them (Kyle Gallner and Emily Skeggs) was the best attempt I could make to try to capture what that feels like cinematically.
I think you do a great job conveying that experience to the audience…So, for Kyle and Emily, you guys can decide who answers first, how do you guys relate to your characters, and in what way—and I’m asking this because I feel like I’m sort of a combination of Simon and Patty.
Emily Skeggs: You’re the whole steak and potatoes then. We had this thing going that Simon was the steak, and Patty was the potato, and together they made the perfect little meal. Patty is deeply personal for me, in a way that when I first took the job, I don’t think I fully recognized. Until we started really talking about who she was as a person and her relationship with Simon and what they find in each other. I have definitely had a point in my life where I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know my value. I didn’t know what I had to offer. I was met with a lot of criticism, but thankfully I have amazing parents and friends, and teachers that helped guide me in the same way that Simon guides Patty to figure out who she is. When we started working on it, it didn’t hit me how much that would mean to me personally, getting to go back to that part in my life–when I felt like a piece of sh*t–and vindicating it in a way. This movie taught me more than anything that everyone has value, and everybody has something to offer. Everybody is beautiful, and everyone has their place. To love those parts of myself that I had rejected back then. Maybe a naivety or being open or being very present, but it made me fall in love with those parts of myself again. It made me think twice about how I judge other people as well. So yeah, for me, deeply personal.