Rather than maxing out his credit cards, newcomer Dean Paras turned to fellow young thesps to finance “Hairshirt,” his writing, directing and producing debut. Kicking in coin were “Scream” queen Neve Campbell, former “Melrose Place” actress Katie Wright and Paras himself, who used money he’d collected from Canadian soap work.
Wright, the film’s star and co-producer, helped fund the pic with money she had received after her role as Chelsea Fielding had to be written out of the “Melrose Place” TV series.
Campbell, whom Paras has known since high school in Toronto, also offered to help fund the $65,000 romantic comedy. The “Party of Five” actress and her brother Christian Campbell have producing credits on the film and appear briefly.
Paras, a 23-year-old actor, said he was mentored by director Alfonso Cuaron, who hooked him up with Igor Jadue-Lillo, a noted video director who also worked for free. With donated cameras, and lensing gratis at night in such hot boites as Jones, Paras said he is just two days away from the end of the five-week shoot.
Taking advice from Cuaron, Paras is focusing on editing the film rather than trying to secure distribution, but he admits it took some time to decipher some of Cuaron’s esoteric advice. “Alfonso said I have to respect the editing process and look at the film as you look into the eyes of the woman you’re in love with over dinner,” Paras said. “Sometimes it took me a few hours to understand what he was talking about.”