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Excuse Me for Living’ gets serious despite humor label with ‘Seinfeld’ stars, Christopher Lloyd

Courtesy of Sabrina Lantos

Ric Klass, native of Bexley, Ohio, could be denoted as a triple threat in the entertainment industry. He wrote a novel, turned that novel into a screenplay and successfully produced and directed it into a movie while juggling a filming schedule around his cast of “Seinfeld” stars and other TV talent. Both products, the movie and book, were released this month.

“Excuse Me for Living,” published Oct. 9, is also the title of the film, which was released in select theaters Oct. 12, according to the movie’s website.

The movie is scheduled to be shown Friday through Nov. 1 at the AMC Lennox Town Center 24 in Columbus.

The book and movie center on character Dan Topler (Tom Pelphrey), a young, rich and good-looking man who is battling a drug addiction and tries to commit suicide. But after his suicide plan fails, he is sent to rehab where the combination of therapy, an unexpected romance and working with a group of elderly men changes his life.

Although the movie is listed as a romantic comedy, Klass said the underlying message of the film has a very serious tone.

“It’s the redemption of a young man from his drug addiction, and the drug addiction was taken very seriously throughout the movie and was never made into a joke,” he said.

Klass, however, did humor the possibility that he may be the “sole person to be a producer, novelist, writer and director of a feature film.”

“I wrote the novel a couple of years ago,” Klass said. “The filming of the movie went very smoothly, and the hardest part was post-production.”

The actual filming of the movie took 25 days, Klass said, and the pre-production took 100 days. He added, the editing process and post-production took more than six months.

The film’s cast includes Christopher Lloyd from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Wayne Knight, known for his role as Newman on the TV series “Seinfeld,” and Jerry Stiller from “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens.”

A few people said the powerhouse performers would be enough to interest them in seeing “Excuse Me for Living.”

“I would go see it for the fact that Christopher Lloyd is in it,” said Ben Norris, an Ohio State alumnus. “It’s interesting that they made the focus on suicide but also how it is important to focus on what makes life worth living. The film also seems to be well-produced for it being a smaller film production.”

The star appeal isn’t enough for some other students though.

Dustin Krohn, a fifth-year in environmental sciences, said he had no interest in the film after seeing the trailer.

“I wouldn’t want to go see it,” Krohn said. “It doesn’t look good, and I wouldn’t even watch it on Netflix because the main character doesn’t look cool or interesting.”

The most difficult part about filming the movie, Klass said, was scheduling around the actors and actresses’ other commitments.

“We could only have them (the cast) a couple days at a time, so trying to mesh all their schedules together was a challenge,” Klass said.

Even with the challenge of scheduling everyone to be on the set, Klass said the experience of working with the cast was rewarding.

“I ended up getting along with all of them extremely well, and it was very helpful working with stars like that in the industry because I knew exactly what I wanted,” Klass said. “The cast and crew worked hard and were enthusiastic about the project and the set had a good vibe throughout the filming.”

Being able to have a major role from beginning to end of the production for the film, Klass said, was one of his favorite parts about the making of “Excuse Me for Living.”

“I really think of myself as a writer, and being able to write and produce this film has been a big accomplishment,” Klass said. “It’s been very exciting to see the words that I wrote be transformed into this movie.”

Tickets to Friday’s screening are available at the AMC Lennox Town Center 24, located at 777 Kinnear Road, for $5 before noon, $7.50 between noon and 4 p.m. and $10 after 4 p.m.

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