Nick Cassidy’s love of acting has carried him from his first role at the Children’s Theater of Maine in Portland to the bright lights of Hollywood.
Now he and three other former Mainers are hoping to complete their first independent feature film.
“Fallen Drive” tells the story of a couple who go to their 10-year high school reunion with a plan to take revenge on a former classmate. Cassidy and his cousin, Winterport native David Rice, co-wrote and directed the film, which was shot in Los Angeles in less than 10 days on a tight budget.
Now the team is seeking to raise $50,000 through an Indiegogo page, where viewers can also watch a trailer, to fund the film’s post-production.
Cassidy’s brother Cash Cassidy, a 2020 graduate of South Portland High School, served as the film’s executive producer, and the lead role in “Fallen Drive” is played by Donald Clark Jr., a 2012 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School.
Cassidy last week said “Fallen Drive” followed several short films he and Rice made together, and the writing process started roughly a year and a half ago. For inspiration, the pair watched films that took place in one location because that was all they had the money to do themselves.
“I called him in the room one day and was like, we’re going to make a feature film in two days in the apartment,” he said.
They were especially inspired by the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film “Rope,” which Cassidy said takes place mostly in one room. The setting of “Fallen Drive” is an Airbnb, he added, where a group of former high school classmates has what seems like a normal party before things “spiral out of control.”
The $50,000 they hope to raise in the online campaign will help pay for color correction, a composer to score the film, and for application fees to submit “Fallen Drive” to film festivals. According to the fundraising page, nearly $8,000 has already been pledged.
The film team also cobbled together resources to film the movie. Cassidy’s girlfriend, for instance, raised $10,000 by selling a fitness program on Instagram.
Cassidy said he hopes to submit the finished film to several festivals, including Cannes, South by Southwest, and the Tribeca Film Festival. His ultimate goal, he said, is to sell the film to a streaming service.
“I’ve been acting for years and years now, and a lot of the scripts you get, a lot of the material is not so great,” he said. “So what we have and what we shot, the footage looks amazing and we’re very confident this thing is going to do very well.”
Cassidy began acting in community theater productions and taking acting classes at the age of 8. After graduating from Mahoney Middle School in South Portland and attending Cape Elizabeth High School for two years, he moved to Los Angeles with his family in 2008 to pursue his acting career. He attended college for one year as a theater major before deciding to enroll in a two-year acting program.
Cassidy’s acting credits include roles on the television show “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists,” which aired on the ABC-owned Freeform cable channel, and the Lifetime original movie “Secrets in the Basement.” He also recently finished shooting a recurring role on the upcoming television series “Girl in the Woods,” which will air on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service.
He grew up in a film-oriented family, as the son of journalist Tim Rhys, who ran the independent magazine MovieMaker out of an Exchange Street office in Portland for several years.
Cassidy said he still remembers sitting in on interviews his father conducted with movie legends like “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola and actor Ben Stiller.
And while he has been living and working more than 3,000 miles away from home for more than a decade, he said the hometown support for “Fallen Drive” has been heartwarming.
“Now that we’re going out to the community it’s awesome to see the friends that I haven’t seen in years or people that saw the trailer (contributing),” Cassidy said. “It’s awesome to see, it’s really beautiful.”