Interview: Jocelyn Towne and Simon Helberg Collaborate On and Off-Screen in Town’s Directorial Debut, ‘I Am I’

The new film I Am I, starring Jocelyn Towne and Kevin Tighe, is an intimate look at a father and daughter trying to reconnect after years of estrangement. The reunion is colored by the fact that Tighe’s character suffers from mental illness that allows him to only remember his life up until his 34th year. He has no memory of his daughter.

Towne, who not only wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, also cast her husband, The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg. DailyActor had the opportunity to interview the couple about the experience of working together.

“I got the idea from…I love the music from Man of La Mancha which is based off of Don Quixote. I wanted to create a Quixotic character who was in modern times and just transferred it to a war veteran who does not recognize his daughter instead of the prostitute, Aldonza,” shared the mom-of-two.

Simon Helberg joked, “Daughter…prostitute, tomato, to-mah-to.”

The indie film raised over $100,000 through Kickstarter to finance the film. An angel investor matched that amount to create a budget of $200,000 to get the feature made.

The actors both admit it was easier to have a successful campaign because they raised funds back in 2011 when the landscape wasn’t so cluttered with artists seeking money on the site.

Towne explained, “We did it about three years ago which was when Kickstarter was a bit newer. Most people, when I put it out there on Facebook, had never heard of Kickstarter.”

Helberg gave a lot of credit to his wife on the successful funding, “Jocelyn made a great video that they still use to teach classes on crowdfunding. It was a perfectly executed, funny, interesting video…Now they have Kickstarter campaigns to have a Kickstarter campaign.”

Since the actress was wearing so many hats on the film both on and off-camera, she knew it was going to be a great learning curve. When asked what her biggest triumph and her biggest mistake were during the process, Towne offered up some great advice to all artists.

She said, “I think the biggest triumph was the decision to put it out there before I had made the film. Up until that point, I had been such a shy creator of things and very uncertain about putting myself out there in a such a big way. When I finally did this, it was the most rewarding experience to have the feedback and support from strangers before it was even created. In some ways, my biggest mistake was not putting myself out there sooner and waiting such a long time to be brave and just try.”

I Am I opens on Friday, June 13.

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