Director Dave Palamaro Talks MURDER MADE EASY and Blu-Ray Release

Murder Made Easy serves up a delectable dinner party between friends that ends in an elaborate murder mystery. Friends Joan (Jessica Graham) and Michael (Christopher Soren Kelly) host an intimate night of delicious food with their closest friends on the anniversary of Joan’s husband’s death. What their friends don’t know is that dinner comes with a side of murder. Murder Made Easy is the creation of Writer/director Dave Palamaro, who presents a tale of friendship, food, and death in a brutally witty and entertaining film. 

Ghastly Grinning had the pleasure of chatting with Palamaro about the Blu-ray release of Murder Made Easy, how he came up with the story, his fiercely talented cast, and a lot more. Read on to find out what we talked about!

Jessica Graham and Christopher Soren Kelly in Murder Made Easy.jpg

GG: Murder Made Easy is such a fun movie and it’s now available on Blu-ray. Can you tell me where people can order it?

Palamaro: Our distributor for Blu-ray and DVD is Scream Team Releasing. Our special Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, which has tons of extra features is available to buy on screamteamreleasing.com . It’s also coming out on DVD only, with no special features, and that will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. So, there’s two versions.

GG: I believe you worked on the story with Tim Davis, and I’m wondering how the two of you came up with the original concept?

Palamaro: I actually wrote the story myself. I was trying to come up with a one location murder mystery, which I’m a big fan of, like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. Rope, Death Trap, and Sleuth are all big influences on Murder Made Easy. The story came to me very quickly when I was driving home from work one day. I raced home and wrote it all down, even the plot points and twists and turns. I knew Tim because we had worked together on TV shows and he’s a big mystery fan, so I met with him for lunch and I said, “Hey, I’ve got this treatment.” I pitched him the idea and he went home and read the treatment and he was like, “Yeah, this sounds really good. I want to help you write the script.” So, from that point on we kind of worked on the script together. 

GG: The characters in this film are all so unique and entertaining in their own way. Some of the guests of the dinner party are even a bit whimsical, especially the hippie. I really liked her. How did you go about casting and finding the perfect person to play each part?

Palamaro: Thanks, I’m glad it works. Normally in a murder mystery all the guests arrive together, but in this structure each of the guests appear one at a time. So, we give opportunity to feature each of these quirky characters, which I thought was a different way to structure something like this. We found our actors mostly through auditions, half and half. I had met our lead actress Jessica Graham and Christopher Soren Kelly at a film festival here in L.A. called Dances with Films. I saw a couple of short films they were in and a few of those Chris had directed, and I thought they were really good. So, I approached them, and they were like, “Great! We like this. Let’s do it.” And then Jessica came aboard as our producer as well, so I had my two lead actors and then she helped us with the audition process. We found the professor, Edmund Lupinski, through an audition, and Sheila Cutchlow, who plays the book author, she was through an audition, and some of the other characters like the hippie character you like, Emilia Richeson, and also Daniel Ahearn, the slimy filmmaker, they were actually recommendations from Jessica. But we auditioned all those roles, even if she had people in mind. We tried to find the best people we could, and I feel very lucky that we found these wonderful actors. 

GG: Jessica Graham and Christopher Soren Kelly are fantastic as Joan and Michael and they’re so believable as a murderous team. How did you create the devious sort of chemistry between the two characters and transfer that to the screen?

Palamaro: Well, I have to give them most of the credit, because Jessica and Chris are actually a real-life couple. So, they not only have worked together on films, but they are a couple in real-life. So, I think they bring that chemistry to every project they’re in. She’s produced some of his films and they were in an award-winning short film I saw called Monkeys, and even though it was a very experimental kind of film, you could see that chemistry they had on-screen. They’re getting a feature film of their own out into the festival circuit called The Tangle, a low budget, Sci-Fi Thriller. Chris directed it and they both star in it and you can see that chemistry there again. So, I think I knew I was getting that with them and that definitely helps, because they have that sense of familiarity with each other. Specifically, for Jessica playing the role of Joan, when she read the script, she came to me and said, “Yeah, this is in my wheelhouse. I know this kind of character and I can totally do this.” And she put a lot of effort into her mannerisms and her expressions, even down to making sure she had a fake wedding ring, because the character was a widow. So, she thought, “Wouldn’t my character still be wearing this ring if she’s still grieving for her deceased husband?” And I was like, “I never thought about that.” So, she found a replica wedding ring and little things like that. 

She put a lot of effort into it and I think that that was something I really appreciated, especially once we wrapped the film and we started looking at the footage and seeing the performances more closely. We were like, “Wow!” So, I feel very lucky. Chris is a great actor. The role he plays is a little tricky, because his character is a little bit of a jerk (laughs), but he brings the likeability to the character. I think that was very important and he has a lot of charisma in any roles that he does. He has a Sci-Fi film on Netflix called Infinity Chamber and he basically carries that whole film and in his other films I saw that charisma he has. I don’t know how to describe it. He just basically draws you in, so yeah, they were great together. I feel very lucky that we got them for a film. I just appreciate all my actors and my cast and crew.

GG: I think Murder Made Easy is such a clever and enjoyable horror film. Can you tell me about what you’re working on now?

Palamaro:  We’re trying to get a horror film called The Housesitter off the ground. It won Best Horror Screenplay at Slamdance Film Festival and was a Top 5 Finalist at Screamfest Horror Film Festival. Murder Made Easy will be out on VOD and digitally later this year. Once it comes out on streaming, we’re going to start turning our attention to getting our horror script off the ground, so I’m excited about that. It’s very different from Murder Made Easy. It’s much more of a standard ghost story, slow burn kind of horror.