TORONTO – A Canadian action short film starring Missy Peregrym and Peter Mooney of “Rookie Blue” fame is headed to Comic-Con.
“The Proposal,” which features Peregrym and Mooney literally kicking each other’s butts on a first date, will be screened at the annual comic book blowout this Thursday in San Diego.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” said director Geordie Sabbagh in a phone interview. “For an action film, (Comic-Con) is kind of the pinnacle. It’s very exciting, especially among the Hollywood movies and TV shows that are being screened there.”
Peregrym and Mooney, who play star-crossed lovers in Global’s “Rookie Blue,” appear in “The Proposal” as Sara and Jack, who meet for the first time on a blind date. But instead of getting to know each other in the usual fashion, the pair test their romantic connection through gunfights and hand-to-hand combat.
The nine-minute film was shot in Toronto over two days for about $50,000, which mostly funded action sequences and stunts. Money was so tight that most of the furniture came from Sabbagh’s home — the director laughed as he recalled his wife texting him to ask if they had been robbed.
“To get from that all the way to Comic-Con is a big leap for us,” he said. “It speaks to how hard we worked and how much effort went into those stunts and the action, so it was a big payoff for everybody.”
Sabbagh, who produced “Two Guys Who Sold the World” and is working on a feature film called “A Sunday Kind of Love,” said being screened at Comic-Con is like a stamp of approval for an action film.
“If you say I did an action short that screened at Comic-Con In San Diego, people are much more likely to take an interest in it and take an interest in you. It gives you a little bit of a push,” he said.
“Because people are such fans of Comic-Con and of action and superhero films, the reaction I’ve gotten from cast and crew has been a lot more excitement than a normal festival,” Sabbagh added with a chuckle. “It’s almost more than if we had gotten into Berlin or Cannes.”
Sabbagh never dreamed that he’d be able to cast Peregrym and Mooney, both Canadian actors who command a significant fan following for their roles on Toronto-set “Rookie Blue.” But once his script for “The Proposal” began making the rounds, Mooney came on board, he said.
“Word got out that we were doing an action film, which I think is very rare for Canadian directors, even a short film,” he said. “We met Peter first, who we thought was fantastic and perfect for the role. He and I were discussing possibilities of who could play the role and Missy came up for both of us.
“We thought both her and Peter were out of our reach, and lo and behold, Missy read the script and also really liked it and she came on board.”
While the film only took two days to shoot, the fight scenes were choreographed and perfected over a period of three months by taekwondo master Tommy Chang.
Peregrym and Mooney engage in elaborate battle throughout the film, including a standoff at gunpoint that takes place entirely under a dinner table. Sabbagh said that their chemistry from “Rookie Blue” helped.
“It helped a lot because they knew each other. There was a bit of trust, a bit of camaraderie … that helped a lot, especially when you’re doing fights because you really have to trust the other person,” he said.
“It was also great for me because they’re very competitive with each other. Each of them pushed each other further, faster and harder so that worked very well for the action sequences. They really went all out.”