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Theater instructor featured in new film on Amazon Prime

What are you binge watching during the pandemic? Why not add to your list a new award-winning movie with a Bridgewater State University connection?

Thomas Kee, a part-time faculty member in the Department of Theatre, plays a lobster broker in the dark comedy thriller Blow the Man Down. Now available to stream on Amazon Prime, the film focuses on sisters whose attempt to cover up a crime leads them into the illicit underbelly of a fictitious Maine town.

The movie, which won Best Screenplay at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, is told from a female point of view and immerses viewers in life in a New England fishing village.

“You feel the place when you see this movie,” Kee said. “It’s a unique film and, no question about it, that’s the reason Amazon jumped all over it.”

Kee’s past credits include roles in the Showtime series City on a Hill and the movie Chappaquiddick. His professional experience provides an important perspective when teaching BSU students.

And, he relates to Bridgewater students because he attended a similar university.

“At a state school, you can get that education that makes a difference in your life,” said Kee, whose studies at Eastern Illinois University helped propel him into a successful career. “I’m living proof that that’s the case.”

For Blow the Man Down, he traveled to coastal Harpswell, Maine, on frigid days in March 2018 to shoot scenes with Margo Martindale and Will Brittain. Kee and his colleagues kept warm standing by garbage cans lit on fire and jumped around before takes so their teeth didn’t chatter during close-ups. 

In one scene, Kee drove an old truck. Had he put it in the wrong gear, he might have pushed Martindale into the ocean.

“I was much more focused on not running Margo Martindale over than whatever acting was going on,” he said.

While the setting posed challenges, its authenticity helped create a film that Kee hopes will help viewers forget, at least for a little while, the problems caused by the pandemic.

“Having something that can really transport people makes a difference,” he said. “They need to get their mind off what they’re scared of. Making a good movie is important.”

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