By SUSAN DUNNE, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hartford Courant
December 31, 2013
Matthew Brady graduated from Daniel Hand High School in Madison in 1995 and went to James Madison University in Virginia for one year. Then he transferred to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and majored in Spanish. The motivation for the transfer wasn't the major. It was the school's location.
"I moved out here with the intention to just learn the film business," Brady said. "I did a couple of internships, and then I worked on a couple of different films as a low-level production assistant, and then I started producing 'Monday Night Football' openings."
Years later, Brady is an independent film producer with his own production company, named after himself, MRB Productions. The latest film from MRB, "The Truth About Emanuel," starring Jessica Biel, is on iTunes and On Demand now and will get a limited theatrical release starting on Jan. 10.
The psychological thriller is about a teenager, Emanuel (Kaya Scodelario, "Wuthering Heights"), who has emotional problems related to her mother's death. Biel, a single woman with a baby, moves next door. Emanuel offers to babysit, and then the women's relationship becomes strange.
Another MRB film, the fact-based election drama "Grassroots," can be seen on Netflix instant watch. It is directed by Trinity College grad Stephen Gyllenhaal and stars New Haven native Lauren Ambrose.
Brady is the son of Michael and Eloise Brady, who now live in Old Lyme. He has an older brother, Scott, who also went to Daniel Hand. Brady is single and has a 1-year-old daughter, Riley.
MRB Productions does a wide variety of projects: feature films, commercials, TV shows. "I try to do a movie every one or two years. It's really hard to make a movie. You never have enough money and they don't make money," he said. "Movies are a great art resource, but they're not a great financial resource. I do commercials to build up the bank account and do films when I am a little more flush.
"It's very hard in Hollywood to be known as doing one thing. A TV producer will have a hard time jumping into film, a commercial producer will have a hard time jumping into TV," he said. "As a businessperson you just don't know what's going to be high and what's going to be low. If you do one thing and that thing dries up, you go out of business."
Brady's first feature film was the 2001 biopic "Dahmer," with a then-unknown Jeremy Renner as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Then he did a documentary "I Trust You To Kill Me," which followed Keifer Sutherland and Rocco DeLuca and the Burden on the band's European tour. His next project was the documentary "X-Games 3D: The Movie."
"Emanuel" was written and directed by Francesa Gregorini, who created the role of Emanuel for actress Rooney Mara. It took so long to get production off the ground that Mara became too old to play the role and she was replaced by Scodelario. Mara retains a producer credit.
The movie was filmed in L.A. but is set in anywhere, U.S.A. Biel is American but the cast is international. Scodelario and Alfred Molina are British, Frances O'Connor is Australian and Aneurin Barnard is Welsh. "It's so funny. You hear them speaking perfect American accents, and then we say 'cut' and they start talking in their real voices. You feel like you're on an international plane somewhere," Brady said.
"The Truth About Emanuel" was seen at the Sundance Film Festival early this year.
When asked about his favorite accomplishment, Brady mentions the Hallmark Channel's Hero Dog Awards in collaboration with the American Humane Association. "They give awards to the most amazing dogs. One dog walked 78 flights of stairs during Sept. 11 to get his owner out of the building. He got him into the subway tunnel just before the buildings collapsed," he said. "They give awards to search and rescue dogs, arson dogs, seeing eye and hearing dogs. I'm really proud of that show."
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