When Alan Arkin signed on to "In Security," he wanted to play only one role.
A motorcycle cop.
"He wanted the boots, helmet, glasses and leather jacket — he wanted to look good," said Evan Beamer, who co-directed the movie along with his older brother, Adam.
After the Beamers granted his wish and filming was underway, Arkin turned to them and said, "You realize this is completely ridiculous, right? There's no such thing as a 75-year-old motorcycle cop."
Adam recalled working with the senior Arkin for three or four hours, after which the assistant director called a wrap.
"Everyone was clapping and cheering and he says, 'Thank you, thank you, it's been a long and arduous shoot and this is the best damn crew I've worked with all day,'" he said.
"In Security" premiered at the Regency Lido Theatre on Friday and was attended by cast members Ethan Embry, Michael Gladis, Jim O'Heir and Adam and Alan Arkin, all of whom were at the Newport Beach Film Festival for the first time.
The Los Angeles-based siblings directed their first feature film in 26 days on a limited budget.
"On such a small budget, we did a lot of stuff, so after a 12-hour day, we had to go move the generator or find a parking place for the vans," Adam recalled. He also accompanied Evan on a search for filming locations in Brea and Whittier.
According to Evan, Max Naylor, the festival's associate director of programming — and a fan of Clea DuVall, who appears in the film — invited the duo to submit their 90-minute venture.
"We were just so excited to be able to watch this with some people and hoped they laugh at the right places," Evan said, having previously only watched "In Security" with a 20-person audience.
Embry, who attended the screening with his son Cogeian, recalled agreeing to the project because his character Kevin was "real."
"He is sort of at a loss and doesn't know what to do with his life," he said. "What I liked about it is the play on words — the movie is about Kevin working in security, but he's also really insecure. He has an inability to take action; he's kind of a loser."
He described reading the script and instantly being pulled in by its charm. Embry, who quipped about earning "two dollars and 50 cents," recounted working with many crew members who had been found on Craigslist.
"The boom operator had never been on a set, he just wanted to hang out — so we hired him," he said. "It was off of personalities. Everybody on set was the type of person you'd love to hang out with for 13 hours. There was no attitude — it was a fun place go, where everyone wanted to be."
Jim O'Heir, of "Parks and Recreation," played a brief role at the start and end of the movie. He entered the theater joking about "hopefully making the cut" and looking forward to seeing the finished product.
"My scenes were shot on a beach in Malibu, so I have no complaints," he said, chuckling. "The lunches were really good — got to have my priorities! I remember it being a lot of laughs."
Per Adam Arkin, whose daughter Molly was one of the film's producers, "In Security" was a "family affair."
"The sets were populated with a lot of people who knew each other before this and have remained friends since, and that spirit definitely permeated the whole project," he said. "I'm looking forward to the communal feeling of getting to enjoy the movie with a nice, big audience."
At the post-screening gala in the Via Lido Plaza, the Beamer brothers said that cast and crew members, all of whom greeted each other with hugs at the festival, had really leaned on one another throughout the process.
"Once, someone said something funny on a take, and while the whole crew is laughing, a grip goes, 'I love this movie,'" Adam said. "That felt really good."
'Welcome to the Jungle'
The historic Lido Theatre, which was established in 1938 and can host 622 guests on its first floor and balcony seats, also served as the venue for Saturday's world premiere of "Welcome to the Jungle."
The 93-minute film marked Jean-Claude Van Damme's first acknowledged foray into comedy, while allowing him to retain traces of the action-based flair that he's known for.
Van Damme, who got lost on his way to the venue and was the last cast member to arrive, posed for a few cast shots before being whisked away amid fans who descended with posters and requests for autographs.
"I played a role with a double, triple personality and [which was] over the top — it was something different," he said. "It was fresh material. [I went] from action to larger than life and I think it worked."
Male lead Adam Brody, well known as Seth Cohen in "The O.C.", agreed to join the milieu when he heard that his favorite action hero was going to be part of the cast.
"I would have been excited either way, if he was crazy or a [jerk], I didn't care, but that said, he was a sweetheart — a genuinely funny and interesting person," said Brody, who sported his girlfriend, Leighton Meester (a.k.a Blair Waldorf from "Gossip Girl"), on his arm. "This was one of, if not the most, fun filming experiences I've had."
Dennis Haysbert, a longtime Van Damme fan, made a similar comment.
"I agreed to doing this movie because the script was funny and it was Jean-Claude Van Damme's first comedic role," he said. "I'm a very big fan, and it was great to work with and see him in this role — it was fantastic."
Per Heubel, a background in improvising contributed to him landing the villain's role. He enjoyed filming in Puerto Rico but hated his own character, he said, as was expected of most of the audience as well.
"You always want to be the bad guy — that's the best part!" he said. "A lot of the horrible lines that come out of my mouth, I wish I could say they were scripted, but I said some of those things."
Growing up, Heubel was an avid follower of Van Damme's movies
"When I found out that Jean-Claude Van Damme was doing it, I was like, 'Where do I sign up?'" he said. "He's everything you want him to be — a live-action action hero. And he is the guy from all the movies. I mean, he wears a hat saying, 'JCVD.'"
Megan Boone and Kristen Schaal, who also played central roles, came out to support their film, which, later that night, continued premiere festivities at the packed Irvine Equinox.
When asked about the experience of sharing the spotlight with Van Damme, Schaal said, "I got to rub his ears."
Just for the record, she did that in the film.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun