Novelist turned filmmaker Tom Dolby’s transition to writing for the screen came effortlessly. “Before I write a novel, I do a lot of character development,” explains the 39-year-old, “so I found that when I started on page one of the screenplay, it flowed naturally.”
For the San Francisco native, the inspiration for the film Last Weekend (which hit local theaters Labor Day weekend) was close at hand: his own family and their vacation home on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. “The location is certainly autobiographical, and the set-up of the family was as well—successful father, sophisticated mother, gay older son, straight younger son,” says Dolby. “But beyond that, it spun out into fiction.”
Dolby isn’t the only talent in his family. His father, Ray, founder of Dolby Laboratories—who passed away in 2013—was a pioneering engineer whose sound developments had a major impact on the television and film industry, earning him two Academy Awards, Emmys and a Grammy. His son’s directorial debut stars Patricia Clarkson and Zachary Booth as members of the Green family, who spend a long Labor Day weekend at their summer home, confronted with what may be the end of an era. The dark comedy also features a superb supporting cast, including Mary Kay Place and Judith Light.
Through his newly formed Water’s End Productions, Dolby is already hard at work on developing a number of new projects. “If we can have half as much fun as we did making Last Weekend,” he says with confidence, “I think we’ll do just fine.”