Jeremy attracted a powerhouse of talent despite being a low-budget production. He says, lightheartedly, it was a combination of blackmail and guilt as to how they came on board. Jeremy shot the film on weekends over the course of three months as most of the cast (and crew) has gigs on other series, such as Lost Girl or L.A. Complex, or full time jobs, which made for a crazy and unconventional schedule. As Kate Hewlett noted, “Shooting random weekends throughout the summer was a lot of fun, but not so good my easily confused brain. I could never remember which costume to wear. And I kept getting haircuts then remembering I wasn’t supposed to…”
Although actors have a different reason for joining a film, it was the story and often his relationship with them that drew them to the project. Jeremy wrote a brief story synopsis of each character’s story that he wanted to tell along with a little manifesto of rules on how he was going to approach making the film, and sent that with a list of the other actors he wanted in the film to each actor offering them a part in a yet to be written script.
Jeremy knew he was offering the actors something good, “The truth is is that actors like to act and they like to do roles that give them something interesting to play and we were offering that in spades with Sex After Kids.”
Peter Keleghan, who plays Sean, loved what he saw when Jeremy first contacted him with the idea. He says, “I was drawn to it because I have usually been cast in funny roles, almost never a cad, certainly never a romantic lead. This was along those lines of a romantic lead, yes, he’s still a cad, but still!”
Jay Brazeau who plays Horton, simply had to take this role. He says, “I had met Jeremy at the Edmonton Film Festival where we both had films showing and appreciated each other’s strange sense of humour. In the end, it’s great to be in a film that has both sex in the title and Gordon Pinsent in it.”
Kate Hewlett had auditioned for Jeremy’s first film. Although she didn’t get a role, Jeremy didn’t forget her. A few years later, he contacted her on Twitter and asked her if she’d like to be involved with Sex After Kids. She jokes, “You could say that Sex After Kids was my callback for Paul Shephard.”
Katie Boland had seen the trailer for Paul Shepard and loved it so she sent Jeremy a message on facebook to tell him how cool she thought it was. Adding “We’ve since become friends and I was so flattered that he asked me to be a part of Sex After Kids.”
By creating characters they hadn’t portrayed before, Jeremy was able to offer his talented cast roles actors found interesting and relatable. He explains, “for me, it’s exciting to give an actor something to do that they haven’t been given a chance to do before, but that either I know they can do or they’ve been wanting to try.” He adds, “there isn’t a single weak link in our cast, and the challenge I set for myself was to give them all moments to shine, which is no small feat with a main cast as large as ours.”
“It was my honour to work with such a diverse and talented group and I’m really excited for audiences to see the work they did,” adds Jeremy.
A big honour for Jeremy was working with Canadian acting legend Gordon Pinsent. Due to the unconventional shooting schedule it was bound to happen that there would be a scheduling conflict with another actor who had to be recast. And it was that very opportunity that opened the door for Jeremy to approach Gordon about the role of Dr. Keaton.
After Peter Keleghan’s first days on set, he was quite impressed with Jeremy’s directing skills, which he mentioned to Gordon Pinsent, who happens to be his father-in-law. Out of the blue, Jeremy got a phone call from Gordon asking if he’d like to have a coffee and chat. Jeremy says, “that was a pretty damn great experience for a young filmmaker to get to hang out with Gordon for an afternoon. So when we needed to recast, I would have kicked myself if I didn’t ask Gordon if he’d do it.”
It was several days into filming, which was really weeks later as per the unconventional schedule, when Jeremy got the call from Gordon himself. Jeremy explains, “I was on set, in the middle of shooting, when I got the call. He said the part sounded like a lot of fun and that he’d be delighted to take it.”
Ennis Esmer, who plays Ben, had the pleasure to work with Gordon as his therapy patient. About working with Gordon, Ennis says, “I loved shooting the therapy sessions Shannon and I shot with Gordon. That was such a blast!”
Shannon, who shares all the scenes with Ennis and Gordon, said, “I’ve never met a kinder actor, generous and pleasant and engaged with everyone on set. He regaled us with tales from his career over lunch and enthralled the dickens out of us. He’s magic.”
People always advise against working with babies and animals. That didn’t stop Jeremy. His strategy was just to let the babies be babies as they are. He explains, “Having two small children of my own the one thing I know about kids is that they’re going to do whatever the hell that want to do so I designed the scenes around that being okay. We didn’t need them to hit marks or cues – although when you watch the film, you’ll swear that was the case. I’d love to take credit for the gold we got out of the kids but most of that was just happy accidents.”