By John Burton
RUMSON – Rob Margolies has been behind the movie camera again.
The 29-year-old Rumson native, who is a 2001 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, is in the process of showing and negotiating distribution for his new feature film.
Margolies has written and directed She Wants Me, which he describes as “a comedy with a romantic element to it.”
She Wants Me will be shown at Monmouth University on May 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the Pollak Theatre (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). A question-and-answer period with Margolies will follow the film.
This is Margolies’ second feature film project. In 2008 he wrote and directed his first feature which was initally called Wherever You Are and was subsequently retitled Lifelines.
Margolies said She Wants Me is about a young neurotic writer who offers the lead role to his girlfriend and then faces a quandary as an A-list actress (Hilary Duff) shows an interest in the part.
Margolies wouldn’t say how autobiographical the film might be, but, he said, “It’s kind of like my life, if you had put my life in a snow globe and shook it all up.
“Nothing that actually happens in the movie actually happened in real life,” he said. “And at the same time it is very much based on what has been going on in my life over a couple of years.”
The movie is “much funnier and more engaging for the audience, I guess,” Margolies said in a recent phone interview from his Los Angeles home.
Unlike his first project, he sees this one being more commercial and aimed at a broader audience.
She Wants Me stars Duff (formerly Lizzie McGuire on TV); Josh Gad, currently starring on Broadway in The Book of Mormon; and Wayne Knight, who is now in TV Land’s The Exes, but will go down in TV history as Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis and Kramer’s buddy Newman on Seinfeld.
Charlie Sheen is one of the project’s executive producers and has what Margolies called a “hysterically funny” cameo in the film.
His first film, Lifelines, was a modestly budgeted independent production. He shot it in 11 days in the Fair Haven home of a family friend, and in locations in Red Bank, Rumson and Little Silver.
Lifelines, his first offering, was more of a drama with some humorous moments about a dysfunctional family’s attempt to overcome emotional obstacles as they meet with a therapist.
That movie featured familiar faces including Jane Adams from HBO’s Hung and veteran character actor Joe Morton.
While the budget for Lifelines was small, the budget for his new film wasn’t much larger. (Margolies declined to say how much the movie cost.) The film was shot on a larger canvas of sorts, as it was filmed around the Los Angeles area, with some location work in New York City. It also had a larger cast.
As he sees it, his job as producer is being “someone who has a vision for seeing the story, being able to sell it to an audience and make it in the most economical way.
“I have three passions,” he said of writing, directing and producing.
“I’m still young and trying to figure out which one I like the most.” But if pushed to choose, “I think clearly, I like directing the most. Directing requires the most time and skill.”
Margolies said the film’s other producers are in the process of negotiating with foreign and domestic distributors and expect the film to be available on video-on-demand and on DVD by September.
His future projects include another turn at directing as he prepares to shoot a psychological thriller, scheduled to go before the cameras later this summer. He also expects to pursue a couple of producing assignment she has in the works.