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‘Feel-good comedy’: ‘James vs. His Future Self’ a time-traveling film ‘about living in the moment’

Daniel Stern, left, and Jonas Chernick in a scene from “James vs. His Future Self,” which is available to stream on digital platforms. (Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures)

Ideas. They arrive and in an instant, and often disappear just as fast.

In the case of Jonas Chernick, the idea for his latest project – “James vs. His Future Self” – has been swirling around in his head for more than a decade.

That’s why Chernick is excited to have the film out for the masses to view on video-on-demand platforms. The film debuted on the services on May 1.

“The germ of the idea was many years ago,” Chernick says. “It stayed around and didn’t really come to fruition until Jeremy (Lalonde) cast me in a movie he was doing. We enjoyed working together, and he was trying to come up with something in the sci-fi world. I had this one idea, and we decided to move forward with it.”

The film follows an uptight time-travel obsessed young scientist, played by Chernick, who is visited by his nihilistic future self, played by Daniel Stern.

He’s told that he needs to give up his dream of becoming the world’s first time traveler, or else. But when he won’t go along with the plan, it becomes a wicked battle of man versus himself.

Lalonde says the duo needed that time to figure out a script.

“The first few drafts were terrible,” LaLonde says. “Jonas said it was the best awful first draft that he read.”

Jeremy Lalonde, left, and Jonas Chernick on set of “James vs. His Future Self.” (Courtesy of Jonas Chernick)

Lalonde and Chernick put their heads together even more in earnest about three years ago.

They were busy with other projects but never put the film on the back burner.

“We would write together and strategize in these long, intense, creative meetings,” Chernick says. “We’d pass ideas back and forth.”

Once the film moved into the production phase, Chernick took a step back and let Lalonde take the lead as director, as Chernick had the lead role in the film.

“I typically wipe my hands of the writing at this point,” Chernick says. “Jeremy is going to make the choices he thinks will help tell and move the story forward.”

Adding to the magic of the film, Chernick and Lalonde are still blown away by the cast.

It stars Stern, Cleopatra Coleman and Frances Conroy.

“As dumb luck would have it, we went to Daniel Stern, and he felt the script was a good match for him,” Chernick says. “Daniel Stern captures this certain kind of nostalgia. He’s such a great actor and doesn’t get an opportunity to flex his acting muscles too often. Having him added so much depth to the film.”

The film had a great festival run and eventually got distribution from Gravitas Ventures.

“It’s kind of a perfect time to have a feel-good comedy about living in the moment,” Chernick says. “It’s an unusual time in the world right now. For people to find the film and connect with, that’s what is important.”

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