Matthew Lillard, Director Rick Rosenthal and Writer Nick Morton on Their Pilot ‘Halfway There’

     February 3, 2018

In the last few years, Sundance has moved beyond just showing feature films and documentaries with the Festival making huge strides towards embracing television, short-form series, and even VR installations. In the ever-changing landscape of entertainment, Sundance has tried to be a step ahead of the curve and it’s one of the reasons the Festival is the place to be every January.


Image via Sundance Institute

This year, Sundance launched the Indie Episodic program, which put its emphasis on independent perspectives and innovative storytelling told in multiple installments. One of the shows that premiered in the category was Halfway There. Starring Matthew Lillard as a recovering addict that runs a sober living facility teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the show weaves in an interesting group of characters, including Blythe Danner, who plays Lillard’s mother and who has her own addictions to overcome. Directed by Rick Rosenthal and written by Nick Morton, Halfway There also stars Esai Morales, Sarah Shahi, Nishi Munshi, Paige Hurd, Matt O’Leary, Sheaun McKinney, and Jane Stephens Rosenthal.

Shortly after seeing the pilot I got to sit down with Matthew Lillard, Rick Rosenthal and Nick Morton at the Collider Sundance Studio. They talked about how the show came together, how they got financing, memorable moments from filming, how they decided to premiere at Sundance, if the intention was always to make the show thirty minutes, and a lot more. In addition, Rick Rosenthal shared an awesome story about how he landed the job directing Halloween 2 and Matthew Lillard shared a great story about how he got his SAG card. Both are really worth hearing and they’re towards the end of the interview.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

kia supper suiteFinally, a huge thank you to everyone at Kia and The Future Party for helping to make these interviews happen at the Kia Supper Suite and offering up transportation in the all new Kia Stinger high performance Sportback for our guests. We’d also like to thank Altec Lansing, Kunde Wines, Blue Moon Brewing, and Topo Chico for their support

Matthew Lillard, Rick Rosenthal and Nick Morton:

  • How did the project come together?
  • Was it tough to get financing?
  • Was it always the intention to make the show 30 minutes?
  • When did they think about premiering at Sundance?
  • They share memorable moments from filming.
  • Rick Rosenthal talks about how it was the noisiest set he’s ever been on.
  • halfway-there-jane-stephens-rosenthal

    Image via Sundance Institute

    How the pilot ends on a cliffhanger.

  • Rick Rosenthal talks about how he landed the job directing Halloween 2.
  • Matthew Lillard reveals how he got his SAG card (it’s a great story).
  • Nick Morton talks about how he got into Hollywood.

Here’s the Halfway There official synopsis:

When recovering addict Jimmy Bishop finds his sober living facility teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, he is forced to take in his wealthy alcoholic mother as a client. Her arrival solves his immediate financial crisis but also unleashes every other problem he has struggled his whole life to contain.

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