What really did happen last night?
That’s what audiences will figure out in writer and director Candice Cain’s film “What Happened Last Night,” an independent film that puts a spin on and takes a comedic approach to breakups, new flames, friends and college life. The film retraces the steps of a group of college students after a fraternity party and opens with main characters Sarah and Danny, played by Alix Kermes and Clayton Snyder.
Brookhaven resident Cain brought her cast and crew to Long Island on Nov. 28 and started filming a bar scene at the Long Island Pour House in Port Jefferson Station. Although the film focuses on college students, actress Rebecca Boughton said there’s something for everyone, whether in high school, college or adulthood.
“It’s just very relatable because it’s a story about relationships,” Boughton said. “It’s about coming of age and figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life.”
Boughton plays Laila, a pretentious advisor for the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. While Boughton is a member of the sorority in real life, that’s not the only thing that attracted her to the film. She and the cast agree that Cain’s script has natural dialogue, making the interaction between characters realistic.
“You know she comes from a theater background,” actor Jake Thomas said. “It’s a very long script, but it does flow very quickly because the dialogue just jumps from one thing to another.”
Like many of the cast, Thomas is no stranger to the stage. As a kid, he played alongside Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire’s little brother Matt on the 2001 Disney television series of the same name. Thomas is making an appearance in Cain’s film as Dave, the main character’s ex-boyfriend. Snyder, who played Ethan Craft on the same Disney Channel show, recommended the production to Thomas.
Cain wrote the story in three days, when she was a 19-year-old George Washington University student. The idea came about after she woke up at a friend’s place after attending a party the night before. Cain was sick during the party and took Nyquil before attending, and her friend allowed her to stay overnight after alcohol spilled on Cain and soaked her clothing. She woke up to the smell of bacon but couldn’t immediately remember where she was.
“I started thinking to myself, ‘What if there was someone in bed with me and I woke up? How would I have reacted?’” Cain recalled.
The writer and director performed her story at her university’s theater, acting as Sarah. Two decades later, this past April, Cain found the script in her basement.
“Everyone who’s been in a relationship knows that breakups suck,” Kermes said. “They’re hard especially in college when you start thinking about your future.”
Big name stars like Amber Rose and WWE wrestler David Otunga, who’s engaged to singer Jennifer Hudson, will also appear in the film, which hits theaters next year. Otunga heard about the film through his agent and took on the role of Tiny, a large bartender who comes to the rescue of Sarah’s friend Mindy, played by Diana Durango.
“I’m really happy to be able to support independent films,” Otunga said. “I feel like these are so much fun because it’s truly about the art. It’s not super-huge budgets and everything, but we make it work and make such an awesome looking project and it’s really cool to be a part of that.”