Local writer/director's college comedy with Amber Rose was a Brookhaven affair


What Happened Last Night (2016) with Amber Rose (Marisol Farrell photo)

Writer/director Candice Cain wrote the script for her college comedy What Happened Last Night when she was just 18.

Keep in mind she graduated Bellport High School in 1994.

“When I wrote it back in 1995 we didn’t have cellphones or the Internet; we had college dorm phones and answering machines,” she said.

So in the scene where Danny calls Sarah and the script directs the Sara character to “play with the cord” — yeah, that had to be reworked a bit.

“I don’t even think those exist anymore!” Cain laughed at the thought of a phone cord.

Cain is all smiles now that filming for her first feature is wrapped up.

What Happened Last Night — about two strangers who wake up together, with the night then pieced together in reverse — is now in post-production. It will be tested April 8 at Island Cinema in Mastic, with an after-party in Bellport.

Click here for tickets.

A life-long Brookhaven Hamlet resident and now a married mother of 7-year-old twins, Cain didn’t wander too far from home to put the film together. 

It was shot entirely in Brookhaven Town: at the Bellport Community Center, at Painters Restaurant in Brookhaven, and elsewhere in Brookhaven, Manorville, East Patchogue, Port Jefferson and Main Street in Center Moriches.

She also used local help on the set, including with hair and makeup.

Related: Local hair and makeup artists recruited for college party movie

The story itself takes place on a fictional college campus.

Cain, the CEO of Gemelli FIlms, which produced the independent movie is an entertainment industry veteran with extensive experience in films, movies and on stage. She played Big Wanda in Malcolm in the Middle and a college student in the college party comedy Old School, among other screen roles.

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“I’ve always been in front of the camera, and it’s not until recently that I realized my real passion is writing and directing,” she said. 

What Happened Last Night was actually first produced as a stage play when she was a student at George Washington University.

Gamelli has plans to release the film in nearly 50 independent theaters across the U.S. That is, unless a big distribution company picks it up. Cain is already in talks with Hollywood executives. Their interest in What Happened Last Night has much to do with model-turned-actress Amber Rose’s involvement, she said.

Rose, also the spokeswoman for Smirnoff Vodka, is known — aside from dating famous rappers — for her hourglass figure and signature shaved head.

When Amber Rose, who last year also guest starred on Black-ish on ABC, expressed interest in What Happened Last Night, Cain reworked the script again for a character she thought would be better for Rose.

“I wrote that scene for Amber Rose,” Cain said. “Her agent submitted her for a role called Hot Girl. And I saw it was her and I know that she’s talented. I jumped on it and said I have a better part for her, here’s the script. And I was told she loved it and wants to be a part of it.”

Rose’s involvement also caught the attention of the Daily Mail, which wrote a story last month about the movie that focused on Rose’s beer pong scene (and her body) — in which she schools the boys during a keg party.

Much of the scene amounts to a beer pong montage, Cain said.

“What’s really funny is Amber didn’t go to college and she didn’t know how to play beer pong,” she said. “So we had to teach her how to play, and we just kept the cameras rolling and played an actual game. So everyone’s reactions are all absolutely genuine.”

Cain and others on the film described Rose as a delight to work with.

“She’s one of the coolest people I ever met,” Cain said.

About 150 actors in total partook in the film, with almost 50 having speaking roles. Those included known television and movie actors like Jake Thomas, David Otunga and Shelley Regner, among several others. 

Click here for the full cast and crew.

What makes Cain’s college party movie different from the rest, she said, is the lack of sex.

“I know that might sound lame, but a lot of these films, especially about teenagers, rely very heavily on sex, whether it’s oral sex, or jokes about sex or about someone losing their virginity or whatever it is,” she said “But I think things can be really funny without having to resort to blue humor, which is a nice term for d–k jokes.

“There’s no nudity. There’s no sex. Theres no drugs,” she continued. “The only thing that’s glorified, if you will, is drinking at a frat party which happens everywhere. And the story is funny because it’s relatable. We all have those moments where we wake up and it’s like, ‘Oh sh—t where am I?’ Maybe it’s not waking up with someone else, maybe it’s just while traveling and waking up at 5 a.m.”

Among the other local places mentioned earlier, the film crews also shot at Brookhaven Elementary School.

For Cain, that’s the definition of coming full circle in her career as a playwright.

“I wrote my very first play when I was 9 years old at Brookhaven Elementary,” she said. “It was called Journey To Chocolate Land or something like that. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember.”

She said she has 43 scripts and plans to keep making films, and — she hopes — with several of the same actors. 

Some who starred in What Happened Last Night are already telling her they want to work with her again. Many of them appreciated getting comedic roles, especially those actors who get typecast in Hollywood, she said.

“Take David Otunga, who is Jennifer Hudson’s fiancee and is also involved in WWE wresting, he really wants to do comedy but he’s big dude and they won’t cast him,” she said.

He’s already pleading for a role in Cain’s next film, Days Like This, which she hopes to shoot this summer.

She finds it all very flattering.

“Here’s this super-famous guy telling me I need to write for him,” she said. “And I’m a work-at-home mom from freaking Brookhaven Hamlet.”

Click here to watch the trailer.

Top: Shelley Regner (Liz), Amber Rose (Melanie) and Alix Kermes (Sarah) on set in Manorville for What Happened Last Night’s beer pong scene. (Marisol Farrell)

Middle: L-R: Jon Mercer (Director of Photography), Andrew Rogers (Alan), Amber Rose (Melanie), Katie Bogdanski (still photographer), Shelley Regner (Liz) and Diana Durango (Mindy).