Tuesday night’s premiere of Netflix’s “Staten Island Summer” turned into a mix of family affair and mini “Saturday Night Live” reunion at the Sunshine Landmark Theatre as several SNL cast members came out to support head writer Colin Jost’s first feature film.
Cecily Strong, Bobby Moynihan, Will Forte and Kat McKinnon make appearances in the film, as well as Jost’s parents, brother and Staten Island residents from his childhood swim club.
“When I was 5 years old, I was on the swim team there. And when I was born, my parents took me and showed me around to the swim club,” said Casey Jost. “It was like our family.”
Mary Birdsong, who also stars in the film, described it as a love letter to Staten Island.
“I think after [Hurricane] Sandy, they deserve a valentine and that’s what this movie is,” she explained. “It really comes from a heartfelt place. [Jost] is really thinking about his teenage years, his formative years, how magical it can be.”
The film was also a first for director Rhys Thomas, who has spent many years working on SNL as well, and even received some sage advice from producer Lorne Michaels going into the project.
“It was an education. We both came at it bright eyed and bushy-tailed and we were beaten down plenty of times and figured stuff out,” Thomas said, to which Colin agreed.
“I think we had like 10 learning curves a day. We were constantly trying to figure out how to do anything. Like how to accomplish the movie in 21 days that we shot it in. It was a crazy scramble,” Colin Jost said.
“There was a moment early on where the project looked like it might not happen, we may have to postpone it. I was probably the voice of, I’d say reason but maybe pessimism, and Lorne just told me that I tend to worry out loud and while it’s endearing, it’s probably best just to get on with it. And he was right. I’ve spent most of my professional career making things for Lorne and I continually find myself staring down the barrel of the impossible and somehow it happens when you’ve got no choice. He’s a force of nature and a really great person to have behind you.”
While the party wasn’t as crazy as the final scenes of the movie, guests didn’t seem to mind taking in the city views on the rooftop of the Standard and sipping the specialty Staten Island Iced Teas. Seth Meyers and Andy Samberg showed up a little later to mingle and catch up with the cast. Jost and some of the movie’s cast also took time out for the digital photo booth set up to make their personalized gifs.
Paramount’s “Staten Island Summer” will have a limited theatrical run July 24 before it hits Netflix July 30.
(Pictured: Seth Meyers, Andy Samberg, Lorne Michaels and Colin Jost at the “Staten Island Summer” after-party)