Of all recent cinema subgenres, the found-footage horror film – which kicked off with The Blair Witch Project and recently sputtered on a Paranormal Activity sequel — seems to have worn out its welcome. But the tide could be turning for found footage comedy. The new film Drunk Wedding is about test the waters, and a Coloradan is riding high on the wave.
This holiday weekend the Alamo Drafthouse will be the exclusive venue for the comedy, with some special limited shows and co-star Nick P. Ross in person to tell you about the film’s harrowing journey from concept to screen. “In a nutshell, the film is about a group of twenty-somethings who head down to Nicaragua for a destination wedding and then… a lot of stuff happens, that’s all I can say,” says Ross. “I play the best man, Link, who’s a wild card. Totally excitable and ready to get the party going from zero to ten in a hot minute.”
Found-footage films tend to operate on thin, improv-heavy scripts — but Drunk Wedding really had the cast on edge, even though it was after laughs, not scares. “The auditions were very secretive,” remembers Ross. “We were actually worried that we were going to have to do some horrific things. We didn’t see one page of the script until we landed in Nicaragua to start filming. In the end, we did have to do some terrible things, but they were all in the name of comedy.”
This is the first lead role for Ross in a major release, though his big break was supposed to come sooner, “We shot most of the film in 2011 and had to go back in 2012 and 2013 for some final reshoots,” he says. “I’m beyond thrilled it’s finally seeing the light of day. The final version was screened for audiences and tested through the roof. That confidence is pretty exciting.”
Ross has been living in Los Angeles the last few years, bu his Colorado roots run deep. “I like to boast that I grew up across the street from the original Chipotle. Yup, pretty proud,” says the actor, who graduated from South High and split his college years between Colorado State and the University of Denver, then wrapped up his BA in theater at the University of Colorado Denver after spending some time in London studying at the famed Globe Theatre. A long stint in New York City landed him on the improv stage of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, which he credits for pointing him to his comedy leanings. “Growing up in Denver, theater and comedy were my faves," Ross recalls. "I idolized the Denver Center and I have to give props to my boys of Governor Jack at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.”
Though his acting credits include plenty of comedic roles, there was a serious event in his life that led to creating a personal, passion project called Highly Evolved Human. “I went through cancer at age 26 and came back to Denver for treatment,” says Ross. “I had so many unique experiences during that time that I decided to turn them into a web series. I wanted to show what it was like to look at the world through the eyes of a cancer patient as a young man, totally in my prime, having every advantage in the world afforded to me, and what I could learn coming out the other side.”
This weekend will mark a much happier return to Denver for the actor, who now has Drunk Wedding and a bright future ahead of him — Ross has two more feature films coming soon and a bundle of short film roles to boot. But in the meantime, he's looking forward to some of his local faves: “My top five most missed: Red Rocks, Commons Park, coffee shops like Huckleberry and Crema, restaurants like Potager and Populist, and BURRITOS!," Ross says. "I miss the original Chipotle but I got nothing but love for Illegal Pete’s.”
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Come celebrate a hilarious Drunk Wedding this weekend and toast this Colorado native. Wedding screenings run May 22 through May 24 at the Alamo Drafthouse, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive; find showtimes at drafthouse.com.