King (or McQueen) of Cool

On the set of "The Passenger"
(Part Two)

Sarah Bristol


The cast and crew of The Passenger gallivanted about the city this weekend, taking advantage of business owners' hospitality to bring a good deal of local color to the film. This weekend's shooting started in an apartment in Redford, then moved to the Tangent Gallery, before heading off to John K King Books. The combination of locations provided a true cross-section of the area's atmosphere. The shoot ended Sunday afternoon at Agave Restaurant on Woodward, where the lead character John, (played by Edward Zeimis) meets his girlfriend's parents for a celebratory dinner. The producers have had little trouble in scouting out locations in Detroit. "Everyone we have approached has been incredibly eager to participate", says executive producer Ed Gardiner, "The people at Agave, especially, couldn't have been more accommodating."

Just as the film meandered through a number of physical settings over the weekend, Edward Zeimis' character took some twists and turns down darker and unexpected paths as director Jamie Sonderman deviated from his script. "It wasn't what we had planned," said Sonderman, "but the shot was outstanding. Zeimis' performance was inspired. He took the direction for the changes perfectly." Zeimis brings both this talent for acting and a high level of professionalism to the set. "The shoots have been going fantastically well," says Zeimis. "I think the biggest mistake an actor can make is going off on his own. I am 100 % committed to Jamie's vision for this film, I respect him as a director."

While onscreen Zeimis' character must make a choice between a successful career and creativity, Zeimis (who heads his own production company, Deszo Entertainment ( himself doesn't believe that the two must necessarily be mutually exclusive. "If you do what you love, you can turn it into a business, so it is only natural that this is what I do. I am a story teller; without an audience there is no need for me."

In addition to "The Passenger," Zeimis hopes to increase the visual face time of Detroit through his own film, "Misery Loves Company," which he plans to shoot entirely in Detroit. "I have started to shoot it a couple of times, and stopped because it was good. I stopped because I wanted to make a great film."

Zeimis's professionalism runs somewhat counter to his colorful demeanor. In between shots Zeimis entertains fellow cast members with outlandish costume combinations and impromptu impressions ranging from Tom Waits to David Bowie. In Zeimis, director Sonderman may just have found the next king of cool - a Steve McQueen for our generation.

(Look for further updates on the progress of this film in these pages.)

Information about Thought Collide and The Passenger can be found at their site

For the first installment of our coverage of the making of The Passenger, click here.

For Jamie Sonderman's responses to's famous Four Questions, click here.

© 2002