Definitions

strolling minstrel

Chance (film)

Chance is the directing debut of actress Amber Benson (best known from her role as Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Benson directed, wrote, produced and starred in this 2002 independent film. Featuring many of Benson's co-workers from Buffy, including co-star James Marsters (Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the film was estimated to cost $25,000 to make.

As documented on Chance's official site, the cost of making the film ended up being more than triple the estimate. Though Benson originally thought that she would foot the bill herself, she decided to ask fans for support. Signed photos of Benson on the set of the film, as well as scripts and props were sold to raise money.

Amber Benson's production company, Benson Entertainment, distributes the movie on DVD and video.

  • Running time: 75 Mins
  • Filming Dates: March-April 2001

Cast

Plot

Chance is a twentysomething slacker living in Los Angeles, who relies on a trust fund for finances. Her friend Simon, a not very successful telemarketer who is self-conscious about his body odor, has been sleeping on her couch. One day, Simon comes home from the grocery store to find a woman in Chance's bed who won't wake up.

Earlier.... Chance is annoyed when Rory, a struggling actor with whom Chance had a one-night stand, appears at her door and becomes emotional trying to convince her that they have a connection beyond just sex because they really talked afterward. Chance and Simon spin a story about meeting in a mental institution, which makes Rory uncomfortable enough to stop crying and to leave.

Simon tricks Chance into answering a phone call from her mother by telling her that it's a man named Jack whom she was immediately attracted to when she met at a nightclub. Her mother, Desiree, is calling to tell her that she is coming to visit. Trying to escape spending time with her mother, Chance persuades Simon to switch roles with her for the weekend and Simon spends time with Desiree pretending to be Chance until Desiree tells Simon that she needs to talk to Chance about something in particular. Desiree tells Chance that she is divorcing Chance's father, Malcolm, because he is in a relationship with another woman named Heidi.

Upset, Chance tells Simon about her parents' divorce and reveals that Desiree wants to stay with them for a while. Chance is suspicious when Simon tries to offer some comfort, and he begs again for $200 to pay off some unpaid parking tickets. Though hesitant to loan anyone money because of a bad experience with her first serious boyfriend, Chance agrees to give him the money for playing along with her charade for her mother.

Uncomfortable with the idea of her mother living with her, Chance arranges for Desiree and her to have dinner with Malcolm and Heidi. Chance also invites Rory and, as Chance had hoped, Heidi is immediately smitten with him because she watches the soap opera in which he stars. When Rory manages to get Heidi out of the room, Chance asks her parents about the divorce. Malcolm reveals that Desiree had suggested that they experiment sexually with Heidi, and Desiree felt rejected when Heidi preferred him. Desiree insists that he seduced her, but Malcolm denies it. Malcolm says that while attractions may come and go he loves her.

Chance goes out to a club one night and meets a woman named Sara, who makes sexual advances on her. Chance brings Sara home with her, and after spending a day in bed together, Sara suggests that they take some drugs. Chance refuses and takes the drugs away. Chance leaves her apartment the next morning, and when she returns she finds Simon in her bedroom with Sara, who has apparently overdosed. Chance initially tries to comfort Simon, but soon she herself begins to freak out when she realizes that she has a dead woman in her bed. Overcome with emotion, Simon kisses Chance and they have sex. Afterward, the two quickly begin to fight about the significance of the sex and Simon leaves the apartment.

The next morning Chance awakes to find Sara, alive, sitting at the kitchen table. Sara tells her that she wasn't dead, just "resting." She thanks Chance for the place to sleep and then leaves. Chance then realizes that Simon never came home.

Simon has run into Jack, who recognizes him from the nightclub. The two make small talk until Simon realizes that Jack is hitting on him. Simon begins laughing and at Jack's confusion tells him that Chance has a huge crush on him and thinks that he is straight. Simon then tells Jack about what had happened the night before and about his frustration and attraction to Chance. Jack tells Simon that, even though he is gay, he sometimes has sex with women because he needs the contact with human beings, and Simon realizes that he needs that human contact too. Simon returns to Chance's apartment, and Chance is happy to see him, greeting him with a hug. They apologize for their actions and both admit that they are ready to try a relationship.

Themes

  • Chance explores sex and how it functions for different people and in different relationships. Because of a previous bad relationship in which her boyfriend used sex for manipulation, Chance has stripped sex of its meaning. Insecure about his body, Simon shies away from any kind of interaction, so he needs to feel a real connection to a woman to become intimate with her. Jack sees sex as comforting, a way to connect with people.
  • The film also plays at reversing gender roles with the male characters -- Simon, Rory, Malcolm -- needing emotional connection in their sexual relationships, while the female characters experiment sexually and are sexually aggressive, with Chance possessing something of a "get some, get gone" attitude. More obviously Chance and Simon literally switch gender roles for the day when Chance's mother visits.

Continuity errors

  • Simon asks Chance for $200 while she is getting ready to go out to the club where she meets Sara. She then brings Sara home, the two spend a day in bed together and the next day Simon finds Sara "dead" in Chance's bed. However, Chance gives Simon the $200 for his parking tickets during the visit from her mother. Chance and Simon sit on Chance's bed, which does not have Sara in it, during her mother's visit, establishing that Desiree's visit occurs before the incident with Sara. Therefore, even though in the sequence of the film Simon asks Chance for the money before she gives it to him, he in fact receives the money before he asks for it in the actual chronology of the story.

Stylistic techniques

  • Non-linear storytelling -- The film begins with a provocative situation and then goes back in time to show how the situation came to occur.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall -- Both Chance as the narrator and the "strolling minstrel" break the fourth wall by talking or singing directly to the camera.

Production details

  • The costume designer Nickolaus Brown also worked on Buffy and borrowed clothes from the wardrobe department. Seth Green wore Simon's "Dragon Inn" t-shirt, which Chance also wears, in the Buffy episode "Harsh Light of Day" and during a photoshoot for some Buffy promotional photos.
  • Joss Whedon allowed Benson to shoot on the Buffy set, and all of the club scenes were filmed on the interior and exterior sets for The Bronze.

Casting

  • Not surprisingly, much of the cast has some connection to the Buffyverse: Benson and Marsters obviously played prominent characters on Buffy; David Fury was a writer/producer and Rupert Cole was a production assistant on Buffy; Jeff Ricketts guest starred on both Buffy and Angel as a Watchers' Council member; Andy Hallet starred on Angel as Lorne/The Host; Grant Langston guest starred on an episode of Angel; and Tressa di Figlia was married to Buffy cast member Nicholas Brendon.
  • In the Behind the Scenes special feature on the Lovers, Liars and Lunatics DVD, Christine Estabrook says that she met Benson at a WB party. (Benson worked on Buffy and Estabrook worked on Nikki, a short-lived WB comedy.) Estabrook approached Benson at the party to tell her how much she liked Benson on Buffy and Benson asked if Estabrook would play her mother in a movie that she had written.

Shakespeare

External links

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