My wife and I had a babysitter scheduled on Saturday night last week, and on a whim, I checked the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) website to see what was playing. What do you know, a film written/directed/starring Clark Gregg. Oh, and he’ll be in attendance. Awesome.
I became a fan of Clark Gregg when he was in The West Wing as FBI Special Agent Casper. He had just the right combination of authority, self-effacing modesty and snarkiness. Thankfully, Jon Favreau agreed with me, and hired him to be Agent Coulson in Iron Man. That led to appearances in other Marvel films, and finally with his death in The Avengers… and then his resurrection in Agents of SHIELD. That’s quite a career trajectory.
But it seems he still has a fondness for indie cinema, so he made this little film called Trust Me. Here, he plays Howard, a former child star, now talent agent for child actors in Hollywood. He’s a bit of a sad sack, trying desperately to keep his head above water as his clients jump ship left and right. He stumbles across this one girl, Lydia (Saxon Sharbino) who is something special, and he manages to charm her and her father into letting him represent her for a part in a Harry-Potter-ish series with Ben Kingsley, directed by Ang Lee.
Sadly, there are no cameos by Lee or Kingsley, but the cast does not disappoint. Allison Janey, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Amanda Peet. And there are even actors not featured in Aaron Sorkin shows: Sam Rockwell and Molly Shannon.
Throughout, even when Howard is at his lowest of lows, his protectiveness and fondness for these kids shines through. In fact, he’s so full of heart, he nearly loses the break of his life a couple of times. But what starts out a comedy (and a funny one) shifts in a moment into a more dramatic story. Carrying through this transition are the themes of betrayal and transformation. The ending is a little too obviously anti-Hollywood-indie-dark for me, but on the whole, the film is quite wonderful.
Clark Gregg was in Trust Me with Molly Shannon. Molly Shannon was in…