As the presidential election season approaches and campaign rhetoric intensifies, a local filmmaker is busy working on a political comedy that will leave audiences wondering if it’s art imitating life, or vice versa?
“Swing State” is written and directed by Larchmont Village resident Jonathan Sheldon. The story follows a down-on-his-luck radio host whose fortunes improve after he takes over a conservative talk show and adopts a fictional Republican persona.
Sheldon says he had the idea nearly a decade ago, while watching a music disk jockey impersonate a right-wing talk show host.
“My thought was wouldn’t it be interesting to watch a character change from being liberal-minded to a right-wing pundit,” says Sheldon.
It was an idea he played with until last year, when the country’s political environment provided the perfect backdrop for just such a plot.
“There are lines that I wrote in the script that have since been used, practically verbatim, by Trump,” laughs Sheldon. “There’s also a scene where a Republican plays music by a liberal musician, and that too has already played out on the campaign trail.”
Filming in neighborhood
Sheldon says he recently wrapped an 18-day film shoot with locations in Hancock Park and Windsor Square.
In the movie, actor Billy Zane plays a corrupt state of Washington Governor. Sheldon needed to find a filming location with the right look, inside and out.
“We scouted a lot of places, but in the end went with a house on Norton Ave. in Windsor Square,” says Sheldon, adding, “it’s a very believable governors’ mansion.”
Asked for details on the house, Diana Knox, an agent at Partners Trust, explains that famed architect, Paul Revere Williams, originally designed the residence in the 1920s.
“Williams was an amazing architect responsible for many iconic Los Angeles buildings,” according to Knox, that include collaborating on the spider-like LAX Theme Building and both the Beverly Hills Hotel and Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
Even with such a pedigree, Knox says she didn’t think the house would be grand enough for the movie. “But Jonathan loved it. And in the end, it worked out perfectly.”
Sheldon is keeping busy with post-production final touches on “Swing State,” but he has his eyes set on screenings at both the Los Angeles and Tribeca Film festivals. “We should know in about a month,” he says, “watch this space.”
By Billy Taylor
Category: Real Estate