“Hard Scrambled is a little indie character thriller and a dark comedy about a group of people who live and work in Alice’s Diner,” Eyal Podell (THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS’ Adrian) previews. “A bunch of people down on their luck find each other there and form this mystic family. But when the matriarch faces a life-threatening accident, everybody turns on each other in this game of who’s going to take control of the diner. Everyone starts scrambling to keep whatever sense of normalcy they’d found in their lives.”
Podell plays a semi-rehabilitated juvenile delinquent named Scotty, who’s no less guilty than his peers. “It was my first lead role in a film and it’s edgy and dark —; not something I get cast as very often. I love playing the darker side, but more often than not, I get cast as Prince Charming and soldiers, sailors, officers and people who do things by the book and straight up,” Podell relates. “An ex-con (Benno), played by Kurtwood Smith, takes Scotty under his wing and keeps him out of jail. We start out working together, but then the father/son thing happens. Scotty starts to think he can outgrow Benno and that he’s holding him back. It all comes to a sizzling conclusion.”
But making the film wasn’t that cut-and-dry. “We started in 2003,” Podell recalls. “These guys wanted to do this Project Greenlight– type of thing, so they did a contest and this playwright, David Hay, won with the adaptation of his stage play. The story suited itself to a low-budget indie film because it was all in one simple location — the diner. But as we found during the process, simple locations don’t always make for compelling drama. We had to go back a year later and do some re-shoots and add some different scenes. They recut it and spent a lot of time working on it and fixing it up.”
That extra work paid off. “It did a little festival run,” Podell reveals. “I was at Cinequest last year, where it premiered, and it was around some of the smaller festivals. People liked the movie and responded to it. In the end, it’s a cool little movie.”
Hard Scrambled is due out on DVD April 3.