Chris Messina premiered his directorial debut Alex of Venice at the Tribeca Film Festival, and told Uinterview that he had a good friend help him direct the scenes he acted in.

Messina, who currently stars as Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project, pulled double duty on the Alex of Venice set as director and actor. The new director opened up about working on both sides of the camera in an exclusive interview with Uinterview.

“It’s hard to do, but I love doing it,” Messina said when asked about making the transition from acting to directing.

Messina also revealed that finishing the film in post-production was extremely difficult because he was back at work on The Mindy Project. Messina said he would be on set all day and then work on Alex of Venice on the side, essentially working “two full time jobs.”

While many actors-turned-directors have described directing themselves as challenging, Messina told Uinterview that he simply asked his good friend, Matthew Del Negro, who plays Jamie in the film, to step in behind the camera when he filmed his scenes.

“Well, you know, I was lucky,” Messina said. “My good friend Matt Del Negro, who’s a great actor and I’ve known for years and I really trust, he directed my scenes.”

Alex of Venice centers around Alex, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a woman who is forced to reinvent herself after her husband leaves her suddenly. Messina describes the film as more of a character portrait than a drama, plot-heavy film.

“Her husband leaves her with a ten year old son and a father who’s sick and she’s left to pick up these pieces of her life by herself, and kind of put herself back together again. It’s really a slice of life film, a character film,” Messina told Uinterview.

Messina plays the husband in the film, which also stars Derek Luke, Don Johnson and Katie Nehra.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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