The Park Bench – Interview w/ Writer/Director Ann LeSchander & Actress Nicole Hayden

Writer Director Ann LeSchander’s witty and lovable feature film debut is a perfect calling card for two young actors.  Lead Actress Nicole Hayden and Ann chatted with me about the film, The Park Bench.  Click through the interviews as well as links to this enjoyable film.

The Park Bench Nicole with Walter, Ann and Sound Guy

“The Park Bench is an unconventional romantic comedy about Emily (Nicole Hayden), a neurotic but sweet librarian, who tutors Mateo (Walter Perez), a puckish undergrad in American Lit. They meet three times a week on a park bench – discussing the classics, then confessions, then…revelations. By semester’s end, they must make decisions that will change their lives forever. ” From The Park Bench FACEBOOK Page.

Ann LeSchander and I started our conversation by discussing how her own mother was a passionate librarian and that element helped give her the impetus to write the character of Emily.

She further explained how being an avid book lover has completely influenced her career and life.

The Park Bench Ann with Nicole & Walter

The Park Bench official website highlights the love of books by the cast and crew.  Nicole Hayden’s pick really intrigued me as it’s the terribly honest memoir by Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle.

Nicole explained to me how she feel in love with the character Emily from the first audition.

The Park Bench Emily and Mateo’s first meeting Photo by Gareth Taylor

The actual shoot for the Park Bench was a whirlwind of costume changes and constant battles for light.  Nicole explained about how the fast pace of the shoot only added to the fun of the filmmaking process.

Ann’s view of that hectic schedule really makes her appreciate the speed, skill and patience of her D.P. Gareth Taylor.

The Park Bench Ann confers with cinematographer Gareth Taylor Photo By Joe Puhy

The Park Bench’s sole location was a restricting choice, but with it being mixed in along with the witty script and the captive nature of Walter and Nicole it completely works.  Another wonderful touch in the movie is the addition of animation into the film.  Ann talked about finding her animator and the working process they built over numerous Skype sections and emails.

The Park Bench Emily and Mateo discuss Hemingway

On top of the incredible back-and-forth performances from Walter and Nicole the film does have some fun smaller characters.  Ann talked about being able to cast two good friends, John Prosky and Brian Mulligan, as two pivotal small characters in the film.  Both actors share the fun nugget of having worked on the wild ass vampire chronicle that is True Blood the TV show.

Speaking of working on awesome shows!!  Nicole was guest star on one of the best episodes of the sixth season of Mad Men.  Nicole played a love interest for Michael Ginsberg in the 5th episode, entitled The Flood, that revolved around the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Nicole and I ended our chat by discussing TV shows and films she’s really into.

The Park Bench Mateo Shows Emily How to Dance Photo By Gareth Taylor

Make sure you keep an eye on Nicole Hayden and also her husband and fellow actor Jay Hayden.  Now Ann and I ended our chat by talking about the way that The Park Bench script writing process has completely changed her focus and future choices in writing/directing.

The Park Bench opens today at Hollywood’s The Arena Cinema.  Stay updated on the film at their website, here.

Don’t miss out on this well done love story that showcases the power of literature on our lives.


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