Interview with Rescuing Rufus director Richard Poche
The romantic comedy has been done to death. What is unique about
Rescuing Rufus that separates it from the rest of the pack?
What is different in the approach to Rufus is that the main character is in fact an
introvert and a loner. Most romantic comedies are written specifically for
extroverts. People getting together for the sake of getting together. Rufus isn’t like
that. He really has no desire to socialize with anyone else other than his partner. So,
it is difficult for him to maintain a relationship with someone who is a social
butterfly like Lisa. Honestly, I’m not sure how effectively this is portrayed in Rufus
as this theme may be lost with all the other satirizations going on in the film. But
someone who is an introvert or loner will immediately recognize themselves in
some of the things Rufus says and does. That is who this movie is for.
They will see scenes that mirror their own reality?
If they are on the introverted side of the personality spectrum, yes, they certainly
will relate. There is a scene where Rufus and his girlfriend Lisa arrive home from a
party. It is apparent Rufus did not enjoy himself and is relieved that the social ordeal
is over. Lisa, being the keep up the appearances type, is dismayed at his perceived
lack of social skills. She does not realize that he has a unique personality
characteristic that prevents him from being the “life of the party”. This does not
suggest that he does not like people or cannot cut loose. He is simply very selective
in who he chooses to socialize with while Lisa and her lot are a lot less
It makes for a good conflict. Rufus is attracted to Lisa for obvious reasons. She’s
beautiful and outgoing. Lisa would be going out with someone like Rufus for the
very reason that he does not say that much. He is her audience and as the saying
goes, opposites attract. If two like minded people get together than one person is
Gina DeVettori as LISA
If Rufus is a loner than why does he need a relationship?
There is a great book by Anneli Rufus called "Party of One" that details the
different spectrum of *loner-ness*. Rufus is not at the extreme spectrum of a loner
where he is a total hermit without the need for social contact. He is as needy of
female companionship as any red blooded man, introvert or extrovert. But his loner
qualities are a personality characteristic he really can’t do anything about and
becomes a barrier to him achieving intimacy.
As the saying goes, “no man is an island.” Rufus recognizes the need to have love in
his life to give it significance. The trick is to find someone who will accept him.
What was the idea of having Rufus’ best friend be female?
He starts to fall for Beth and it is a huge obstacle for him to overcome...To go from
being "just friends" to having the animal lust necessary in a romance.It is no secret
that men secretly fantasize about their more attractive gal pals and once you are in
that flytrap of friendship there is almost no way it can morph into a romance. It
puts Rufus in an interesting conundrum. If Rufus and Beth start dating and it doesn’
t work out, they have each lost a friend. If not, than there will certainly be some
awkwardness in the relationship afterward.
Some of the secrets of women are revealed through Beth. If she were a man some of
the things she says may not have the same credibility. She knows what they say
about men behind our backs. Beth is the guide for the blind Rufus.
In real life, however, a man should NEVER seek dating advice from a woman.
Stuart Brazell as BETH
So she provides the insights that a male best friend cannot?
It’s a little more than that. Rufus being a loner would not have a male best friend. If
he did not have Beth he would give up on relationships entirely for a long while or
resort to trying to build a bridge back to Lisa. This would have cost Rufus a lot of
self-esteem and wasted time because she clearly wants nothing further to do with
him. So rather than Rufus going down the path of groveling to Lisa for another
chance Beth is there to pick him up by the nape of his neck. She encourages him to go
on the healthier path.
Some of the more funny moments in the movie take place during Rufus’
flashback scenes. Elaborate on those.
Rufus is an old fashioned guy and the idea was to show how his mind works. He
dates one girl and his mind goes to a previous era and we see how that date would
have turned out had it taken place in an earlier time period.
You are showing how different the mating dance was in the 1950s and the
like as opposed to now?
Yes. Lisa transforms from the narcissistic princess of today to a femme fatale of
yesteryear in some of the flashbacks. Hannah goes from a present day
nymphomaniac to a 1950s church going Southern belle trying to keep her
boyfriend's hands off her in one of the flashback scenes. Those scenes were a lot of
fun to shoot.
Hannah (Jill Evyn Deutsch) rolls her
eyes at the advances of Rufus
Where did the shooting take place?
All of the shooting took place in my hometown of Alameda, California. Some of the
exteriors were shot in parks around Bay Farm Island. The scenery is nice and there are
typically very few people around during the work week. We pretty much had parks
and waterfronts to ourselves which made for great exterior shots. The interior shots
were shot in my former and current homes as I was forced to move about halfway
through the shoot.
Any difficulties with permits and such?
Permits? Who needs a permit? We just shoot, man!
Only problem with shooting in Alameda and specifically Bay Farm Island is that it is
right next to the Oakland Airport. This made for a few aborted takes with the planes
taking off and what not.
We used a DVX100 for half of the scenes then after I moved I did upgrade to a
HVX200. Everything was edited down to 720p.
All of the women in Rufus are exceptionally beautiful. Any comment?
Yes, I agree. And 99 percent of all guys would jump at the chance of dating any of
them. But again, because of his loner tendencies and old fashioned mindset Rufus
holds out for someone with whom he has a unique chemistry and rapport. Therein lies
some of the conflict and comedy.
But why would all these beautiful women throw themselves at Rufus? Well, Rufus is
part romantic comedy and part science fiction, LOL.
Rufus is a lucky guy.
Seriously, each of the women he comes across has their own agenda. They each want
Rufus to serve some kind of need to satisfy their own ends. For example, Stella
(Elizabeth DiPrinzio) meets Rufus through an Internet dating site. She doesn’t care
what he looks like or who he is. She wants a “baby’s daddy.” So they're not exactly
attracted to Rufus, per se...He fills a vacuum for each of them.
Stella (Elizabeth DiPrinzio) eyeballs
her next potential baby daddy.
Was one of the scenes with Stella inspired by the show “To Catch A
Yes, in one of the flashback skits we did had Liz’ character as underage bait for Rufus. It
is a spoof of the reality show “To Catch A Predator” when they have an actor
impersonate an underage person and entrap a would be predator. I found the show to be
unintentionally funny particularly in the responses of the host, Chris Hansen. Hansen is
great in how he chastizes these perverts when he catches them with their hands in the
cookie jar. I mean, you almost feel sorry for these guys...Almost.... The pervert would
be in a room waiting for his “date” then out would come Chris Hansen. "Hi..What..are..
you...doing...here??" Busted!!! So it was pretty easy to see the humor in having Rufus
meet this girl on-line then have him worrying about if she is really for real.
Chris (Cliff Poche) demonstrates the
appropriate facial expression when
confronting a pervert.
What were some of the biggest challenges on the shoot?
Shoots themselves are always hard with a skeleton crew like we have simply because
we want to get better with each project but have limited resources. So the bar is raised
every time out...Sometimes perhaps I don’t enjoy the process as much as I should
because I want everything to be perfect.
The challenge script wise was to make all of the women funny.
Women, particularly beautiful women, aren’t really expected to be funny. As one of
my favorite writers Christopher Hitchens says, "Women do not have to be funny to
attract a man." Therefore through the evolutionary process women aren't required to
be funny. They realize that a man can see better than he can hear. If you’ll notice
prominent female comedians like Sarah Silverman or Kathy Griffin use male oriented
humor. Their humor is crass and almost 100 percent scatological. They are basically
imitating and pandering to the low brow male. So the challenge in Rescuing Rufus is
to make the women funny without stooping to being crude.
You directed and acted in the movie yourself. How hard was that?
There were certain scenes that were harder than others. The hardest scene to shoot was
probably the scene where Rufus hits on Hannah. This is one of the turning points in the
movie. Coming up to a woman you don’t know and hitting on her is very easy for
some guys. For your average ordinary Joe, however, this can be very difficult. Most
men make the mistake of putting the beautiful woman on a pedestal. When you add in
Rufus’ introverted persona it makes it doubly hard. So that is one of the turning points
for Rufus. He goes up to a girl he doesn’t know, strikes up a conversation with her and
then steers it into an invitation for date. My goal as an actor was to try to display the
awkwardness he’s feeling but still show enough confidence to elicit interest from the
Rufus (Richard Poche) hits on
Hannah (Jill Evyn Deutsch).
And he builds up some confidence for when goes after the woman he really
It is a baby step in that direction. There was a fine line to be walked there. Stuart
Brazell who plays Beth is breathtakingly beautiful. It would be impossible for Rufus
not to notice that. So it was important to establish that he is in a place of inertia with
her. She does not view him as relationship material but rather has a brother type. But
like Billy Crystal says in “When Harry Met Sally”, a man cannot have a female friend.
He always wants to have sex with her.
So yes, Rufus has to build up to the point where feels he is good enough to make a
move on her. In his mind, when you reach for an angel there is a long way to fall.
And the scene when they are on the couch after Rufus has been beaten up
by Hannah’s boyfriend is when he starts to work up the courage?
Yes. They are all alone. He is single and she is having boyfriend problems. It is at this
point the sees he begins to gauge his chances with her. Up to this point their
relationship was probably one of playfulness and teasing
Beth (Stuart Brazell) cheers while
Rufus (Richard Poche) tries to catch a
We don’t really find out what Rufus does for a living until the third act.
Was this intentional?
Yes, it is kind of like Ward Cleaver in “Leave it to Beaver”. Ward is only shown eating
at the breakfast table. Then he comes home in the evening and receives the report of
what Beaver has done wrong. Whatever he does for a living is irrelevant to the plot of
the moment. Rufus briefly mentions to Lisa in the beginning of the movie that he has
as a certain "thing", whether a policeman, firefighter, CEO or whatever.
Lorraine (Natalie Edwards) leads a
battle cry at a corporate board
And by the time he meets up with Lorraine his heart is already on Beth?
Yes. By the time he has met Lorraine things have gone full circle. Lorraine is
somewhat similar to Lisa in that she makes all the decisions. She is a chatterbox and
would most likely make everything easy for Rufus. She is the type he would have
most likely settled for. Rufus would never have to go outside of himself and
challenge his own nature to get what he truly wants. He’d settle for the first woman
who made everything easy for him. But now his sights are set on Beth and he
decides to take his own love life in his own hands for the first time.
So when he makes a move on Beth it carries more dramatic weight?
Rufus makes the decision to go all in. It is the pivotal moment for him, he’s spend
his whole life playing it safe and now in order to get what he really wants he has to
risk his friendship with the only person he really shares his heart with.
Anything you would have done differently?
Some of the scenes we did with Glenda (Sara Konecky) and Lorraine (Natalie
Edwards) we had used a microphone that had *issues*. Again, I had to delay filming
a bit because of my move. So by the time I got my act together Sara had moved
down south as did Natalie. I would have liked to re-done a scene or two with a
better mic. But their performances stand on their own and I’d be hard pressed to see
how they could have replicated the acting choices they made.
Anything else we missed?
I just want to give a heartfelt thank you to my brother, Cliff. He is the closest to me
and because of this he receives the brunt of some yelling and undue criticism...I just
want to let him know that without him there this stuff doesn't happen. I appreciate
his dedication and willingness to give his all on these projects. At the end of the day,
it is he and I against the world. And that's fine with us.
I also want to thank the actresses involved in the project. Stuart, Liz, Gina, Sara,
Natalie and Jill...You are the greatest in the world. I can't thank you enough. I wish I
could send more residuals your way.
A hearty thank you is due to my co-writer Daniel J.W. Hughes whose work needs a
larger audience I can provide.
Also, a shout out to Jay Russio and his crew at Balladyre Productions. Jay was
gracious enough to let us use his track "I Think I'm In Love" for the movie. Thanks
very much, Jay!
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