Jim Mahoney wrote and starred in the film GATLOPP, which will be released Digital via XYZ Films and on-Demand on June 23rd.
The movie follows a group of old friends that reunite to support Mahoney’s character Paul while he is going through a divorce and several other life changes. The group decides to play a drinking game that includes supernatural stakes. The game forces each character to be honest with themselves and speak about pivotal moments from the past which affected their friendship. They must all work together to complete the game by sunrise, or they will have to play for eternity in hell.
The dynamic between the characters provides an authentic perspective when describing friends coming together and having a good time. GATLOPP includes lessons about second chances, forgiveness, and friendship and the importance of those aspects when going through low moments in life. The Knockturnal spoke with Mahoney about GATLOPP and what he hopes viewers will take away from the film. He provided insight into where the concept for the film developed from and how the lessons portrayed are experiences from his own life.
The Knockturnal: How did you come up with the concept for this film? Where did the idea come from?
Jim Mahoney: I got the idea for GATLOPP (surprise, surprise…) drinking with friends one fateful night. We started playing this weird party game to warm up before going out on the town (this was well over ten years ago…) and we were having so much fun torturing each other we ended up staying in and playing all night. My friend’s wife came in at one point and was like “Why are you still here? You guys were supposed to go out tonight!” Someone joked about how this game tricked us into staying in and it hit me – What if it did…?
The Knockturnal: While fans and viewers watch ‘GATLOPP,’ what do you hope they will take away from this film?
Jim Mahoney: This movie is a love letter to a lot of late nights, bad ideas, and questionable friends. So I’d love for it to inspire people to gather for a night of games, mischief, and their own good stories. Or maybe it simply motivates people to reach out to old friends and reconnect. We all have people who know us from past chapters in our lives, when we were at our dumbest, and they still answer our call. I hope this movie can remind people of those friendships, because those are the people you want with you when you’re thrust into a supernatural gauntlet.
The Knockturnal: You wrote the film and acted as one of the main characters, what was it like for you to wear “multiple hats” for this project? Can you describe your experience starring in a movie you wrote?
Jim Mahoney: I wrote Paul for myself to play so I crafted the character and a lot of the comedy to revolve around my strengths as an actor. I also designed him from a very personal place, shining a light on some of my own issues. Then when you add geniuses like Emmy, Sarunas, and Jon… I mean, they were all so skilled, so smart, so insanely talented, that they really elevated me as a performer. It also didn’t hurt that we all go along so well. Like, scary well. There was A LOT of laughter between takes. As far as writing, yes, there were many times a day when I would have to snap out of the actor’s side of my brain to manage questions regarding story, character, motivations, etc. I would also have to tap into the producorial side with Alberto, the producers, studio, and/or different production teams whenever we ran into logistical issues. Fortunately, everyone was so damn good at their jobs and seemed to genuinely care about this film. I was kind of shocked. I mean, this production was very difficult, feeling downright impossible at times, especially with life being really hard all around us in 2020. And we only had 15 days! But I think there was this feeling that during this difficult time we got to make something that was just fun, escapist, and a little ridiculous. Everyone showed up determined to make this film work, it was inspiring. So that really helped me in juggling those multiple hats, not only because I had such a stead-fast team to help me balance it all, but because I myself was determined not to let them down.
The Knockturnal: The film ‘GATLOPP’ has a strong lesson of second chances, forgiveness, and friendship. Are these lessons taken from your own personal life?
Jim Mahoney: Absolutely. I would be in a cave eating dirt somewhere if not for my friends. Trying to make your way as a creative is an arduous, painstaking gamble. But I’m lucky to say I have an eclectic melting pot of intelligent, hard working, and hilarious friends from all over. I’ve had some tough trials and countless failures, but these glorious miscreants always accepted me for my mistakes and reminded me of why I should press on. I’ve been there for them as well, it’s just what we do for each other. And while forgiveness has been an essential ingredient to my growth (as with everyone), I believe it’s when I fessed up to my own shit that I really learned my lesson. And that’s a big theme in this film: own up to your shit.
The Knockturnal: Without giving away too much, what’s your favorite line or scene from the film? Why?
Jim Mahoney: All I’m going to say is… “Jazzersize.