Who is Shuroo? A healer. A grifter. A mystic. A false prophet.
The enigmatic character at the center of the indie film, The Shuroo Process, embodies a bit of all of the above. He guides, or misguides, a diverse group of disillusioned people in a spiritual self-improvement retreat in the Catskills. We follow a journalist, played by Fiona Dourif, as she attempts to put her disarrayed life back together on the retreat.
“This is about the duality of how a lot of people live life,” said director Emrhy Cooper at the film’s premiere on closing night of the Big Apple Film Festival in Times Square. “People want to help you, but they also want to take advantage of you.”
The film marks Cooper’s feature debut. But he’s no film set novice. Cooper has been acting for over a decade, most notably starring in the StyleHaul series Vanity alongside Denise Richards.
However, he credits his wherewithal to step behind the camera for his first feature to an entirely different art form — ballet.
“I grew up as a ballet dancer, so I have a lot of discipline. I know you have to work very hard for what you do. I was never under any illusion it was going to be easy,” he said.
Cooper directed many first time and young actors in the film. Complicating matters was the remote Catskills location, which lacked reliable wifi and experienced some “bipolar” weather. Cooper said, “Everyone did a great job under the circumstances.”
He sang praise for one of the film’s more seasoned actors, Brad Dourif, best known for voicing the Chucky doll in Child’s Play and his Oscar nominated role in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He also happens to be the father of the lead actress in The Shuroo Process.
“He’s one of the best character actors of our generation. Brad is in the league with Jack Nicholson,” said Cooper. “Every single take was good; it was almost hard to choose which one to use in the final film.”
The cast, crew and guests gathered in a private after party room at Chez Josephine, a nearby restaurant. The party was intimate and full of friends celebrating.
The Shuroo Process stars Fiona Dourif, Donal Brophy, Tommy Dorfman, Cooper, Rainey Qualley, Olivia Sui, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Jeff Hephner and Cornelia Guest. It comes to theaters and on demand on November 24.