Tom Cullen: Love at First One-Night Stand
By William Van Meter
"Both characters change each other's lives," says Cullen. "If it wasn't just for the weekend, it wouldn't work. When you hear that clock ticking, you're able to let your baggage go and give yourself to somebody knowing that you will never see them again."
Cullen, 25, is sipping a vodka tonic in the bar area of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Weekend is screening as part of BAMcinemaFest. He is equally handsome in person as onscreen and looks dapper in a houndstooth blazer over a T-shirt and vest. His eyes are dark, liquid-brown, and framed by strong brows. Cullen was raised in a small farm town in Wales by 'hippy' parents (from whom he apparently received his extreme earnestness and open-mindedness).
The actor delivers a standout performance as Russell, a smoldering lifeguard whose childhood was spent in foster care. Glen (played by Chris New) is an aspiring artist damaged from a previous romance. Glen and Russell drink, have sex, and talk. A lot. Their late-night, coke-fueled conversations are mortifyingly authentic. "That faux passion!" Cullen says. "Yes, those scenes are very realistic." It was easy to find his muse -- in actuality, the actors were snorting glucose. 'It's in energy drinks,' he says. 'We were getting a sugar rush.'
The film's leading men were both new to cinema, but have lengthy stage CVs'their theater chops certainly added to their quiet, emotive performances. Their celluloid chemistry began offscreen. The two shared a Nottingham apartment during filming. "We cooked for each other," Cullen remembers fondly. "You'd think it would be really intense, but it was wonderful. It might have helped the connection, but I think it would have been there anyway. I've fallen head over heels in love with Chris as a person."