Guy Edmonds and Matt Zeremes spent four years acting as gay lovers in the hit play Holding the Man. Now the two are tackling the concept of same-sex marriage in their new venture, comedy feature film Super Awesome!
Matt and I met when he was in third year in drama school at QUT and I was in first year. But it wasn’t until Holding the Man in 2006 that we really got to know each other. And then you know, that play just never stopped. We were constantly being put back together and forged a really, really strong working relationship.
Later, we were in the US doing pilot season, and in between auditions and learning scripts and packing we thought, “We’ve got such a unique relationship and kind of our own ‘schtick’ – why not turn this thing into something? Why not make something?” And that’s how the idea of Super Awesome! was born. We started writing the treatment in LA and pretty much by the time we came home in March of last year we had a full treatment.
It took us a couple of days to get used to co-directing. We only had maybe one or two heated moments when it was, you know, “I feel like punching you in the face” – that kind of frustration – but that was only ever really due to external circumstances and the pressure of time. And that was only very early on, because we hadn’t really found out how you both be leaders without stepping on each other’s toes or without taking too much of the power.
It was more just the on-set dynamic we had to figure out. Matt is a lot better at art directing. He has a really good eye and adding flavour to the picture. Which, I think I have to work on a bit.
All in all it was a fairly painless experience. A lot of the crew said that. There were a couple of them who had worked with dual directors before, and they said, “I don’t know how you’ve done it, particularly with the constraints and the pressure.”
I think that comes from all those years on Holding the Man. I think it has a lot to do with it because…I mean, we’ve made out! 300 times!
You can’t say that about most of your best mates. Yeah I’ve macked out with my best mate. We’ve pashed. Not once, not twice, but 325 times. On stage. Not counting rehearsals and dress runs! [Laughs]. But no, like, as you say, it’s a really emotional show and I think we shared a lot of ourselves in that show but also out of that show. Matt had two kids through the course of that. I still remember when Matt brought his first son in when we were doing Holding the Man at Belvoir, that tiny little… and this kid is now like, five. We’ve spent a lot of time and had a lot of life together.
If anything, I like him even more now. We’ve been through probably the most intense experience we’ve ever been through yet. And I think we know even more about each other and I respect him even more now than we did when we started out. I learnt from him. It was cool.
I think Guy recalls the first time we met I was naked. I had this habit at Uni where I would get naked at parties. He was in first year and I was this zany third year… it was acting school!
The point we really began to work together was Holding the Man, and I think at the time… I think I might have been a tiny bit sketchy of Guy when I first met him, so I was probably a little bit guarded when we first started working on Holding the Man together. Then there was one day when I was like, “Bam! I get that guy!” I remember saying to my wife, “This guy is really cool!” I didn’t really get him until that point.
Now everyone teases us that we’re married. We worked together on Holding the Man for four years and we both treated the play with a lot of respect and felt like it was an important thing to be doing for both of our careers. We were both kind of going on the same journey with it, and it was a very exciting time for both of us.
Later on when we were doing pilot season together in LA, one night we were in our studio and I was making dinner, and this idea sort of came about marriage equality. We had met this dude over there who had done this earnest kind of documentary about marriage equality, and though it sounded good it also sounded pretty heavy.
Then the rough idea of Super Awesome! came up, and from the initial conception of our idea we were both really clear about it and excited about it and both really believed in its commercial viability and really believed people were going to engage in this story from very early on.
The actual directing of the piece together was great and enjoyable and seamless but the most challenging thing for me on this shoot was, because it’s a low budget film, we had to wear a lot of hats. Stuff like, “Hey can we have some parking money, we need a black pen and we’ve only got a blue one,”…I guess it’s an advantage that there were two of us to shoulder that.
Guy’s awareness of how the edit is going to turn out is a huge advantage. I also think Guy has a really good producer streak in him. I hate making phone calls, especially if you’re trying to get something or if you’re trying to get a deal, I hate that kind of stuff, whereas Guy is like, “Bam! I’ll do it.”
He brings so much in terms of personality to a set. We had so much fun, and everyone who worked on the film had so much fun. One of the things Guy and I try to bring to a set is to make sure it’s really good fun for everyone. You know those nights where you go out with a bunch of people to the pub and it’s really fun and the conversation is flowing and everyone just has that energy? We try to recreate that.
This article first appeared in IF Magazine issue #152