A devoted nephew discovers his "Uncle Sam" Armstrong's dark side. Sam & Me is a feature length dark comedy written & directed by Brian Kirk. It personifies the dysfunctional relationship between taxpayers and government.
A: Craig Henne is a friend of mine with great acting chops who actually looks like Uncle Sam from the old posters. We've collaborated a lot in the past. I was thinking, wouldn't it be fun if there was a sitcom about some good-intentioned larger than life merry Uncle Sam-like thug who kind of takes over his nephew's life? The more we brainstormed scenarios, the more serious the issues got with the NSA, ObamaCare, etc., the longer it got, and it certainly has more of a dark comedy tone than a sitcom feel.
Q: This is your first feature film. What convinced you that you could make it?
A: The sketch comedy I've produced, the TV pilot, the corporate videos I've directed, the documentaries and political ads I've produced all gave me the blind confidence I needed to believe I could execute a feature film. Technically, I'm not ready. But technically I wasn't ready to get married or be a dad, either. If you wait until you're ready to do something, you'll never do it.
Q: Why this project?
A: The expression unction of the spirit comes to mind. Sometime, I get ideas that I just HAVE to do, as if I have no choice. It's like something outside myself. I get this with comedy sketches. The last time it happened in comedy was a fake infomercial for Ray Romano narrating an audio bible. Sam & Me is like that, but on a much larger scale with more discipline and more focus. But largely it's the same creative expectation. I'm going to do this because it has to be done. Whether it's a commercial success or not isn't up to me. In fact, my mom hated my Ray Romano bible sketch. But I didn't make it for her. I made it because of an unction.
Q: So if it fails, blame God?
Q: Who are some directors you like?
A: Everything we're doing on this project is based on the Ed Burns model of bare bones, calling in favors, etc. Every time I get caught up in the technicalities, I watch Nice Guy Johnny to remind myself that a good script and the right actors are 95% of the battle. Does anyone really notice or care that there's some camera shake when Johnny and his uncle leave the Hamptons?
Q: I noticed, and it drives me crazy.
A: Ooops, sorry. My 10 month old just pooped. Gotta run.