Sex, crime and fish tanks converge in the officially titled “Pet Shop Days,” Olmo Schnabel’s directorial debut which will play at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Variety has an exclusive first look at the project starring Jack Irv, Dario Yazbek Bernal and Willem Dafoe. Schnabel, son of Oscar nominated director Julian Schnabel, tells the story of two young men falling down a rabbit hole of rebellious desire – one running from a traumatic incident and a bitter authoritarian father, the other a privileged drifter in search of himself.
Irv and Bernal take the leads, hustling their way through a punishing city. Dafoe, Peter Sarsgaard and Emmanuelle Seigner are just a few of the hapless adults caught in their web.
“This is the perfect New York story in that anything can happen,” Schnabel said. “That’s how it was growing up. You meet a complete stranger, you’re enamored or infatuated with them, and then two weeks later you realize they’re completely different.”
Schnabel co-write the script with Irv and Galen Core. Dark and handheld, Schnabel said he wanted to reference to the grit of ‘80s or ‘90s films to compliment the escalating trouble his boys find themselves in. The director sent an early cut of the movie to Martin Scorsese and prayed he would give feedback, only to have the icon come on board as an executive producer.
“I watched his films, Brian De Palma’s films, Cassavetes’ films, I thought that the movie was very grounded in other New York stories. When I heard that he liked it, I thought, okay, I might as well ask him and see what he says and he kindly he kindly accepted my offer. I’m forever grateful to even be associated with him.”
In Variety’s exclusive clip, Dafoe and his wife (Seigner) return to their well-appointed apartment to find Bernal raiding the walk-in closet. Clad in a slip and clip-on earrings, chaos ensues.
“Pet Shop Days” premieres September 3 in Venice. The sales title is repped by CAA domestically, and WME Independent for international territories.