Actors sometimes have to dig deep in order to connect with the characters they portray. But when playing a tyrannical Manhattan exec’s young aid in Leslye Headland’s “Assistance,” Kate Czajkowski easily tapped into a universal experience.
“We’ve all had horrible bosses,” Czajkowski says. In her case, it was the manager of an upscale knick-knack store in Seattle. “He would berate those of us who worked there on a regular basis. Our paychecks were constantly bouncing and he was a total jerk to us, so it was
pretty frequent that he would lose it on someone and they would walk out the door grabbing a couple things on their way. Most of us left that place with a really amazing sugar bowl.”
Headland herself had perhaps the ultimate bad-boss experience, working for notorious movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. But the experience is familiar enough that “Assistance” has been optioned for an NBC television series to be produced by Will Ferrell.
Czajkowski praises Headland’s knack for combining contemporary pop culture references with classic screwball comedy pacing. “Leslye has managed to capture this millennial quick-witted repartee, cynicism and gallows humor, but it doesn’t feel like hipster-speak,” she says. “There’s this timeless, kinetic quality about the language; it’s exciting to be this person who has the right remark at the right time, even if it ends up having a devastating effect.”
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