Lena Hudson credits a cold email for her luck in casting Succession star Peter Friedman in the role of the dad in her short “Daddy’s Girl,” which screened this past weekend at Salute Your Shorts Film Festival in Los Angeles.
“I was very lucky to get him,” Hudson said. “Honestly, the power of the cold email… I just emailed his manager off of IMDb,” she laughed.
She sent Friedman’s manager the script for “Daddy’s Girl” and was told that Friedman would reach out if he was interested. And sure enough, he did.
“We had lunch and sort of talked about the script and [Friedman] was like, Okay, I’ll do it,” she said.
“Daddy’s Girl” ended up premiering at Sundance 2022 and later screened at SXSW and won Best Comedy at the San Diego International Shortsfest. Hudson was also a 2021 Sundance Episodic Lab Fellow with her series Fantasia For You, based on her and her co-creator Jessie Barr’s short film Too Long At The Fair.
Hudson wasn’t just a fan of Friedman from Succession — it was actually his work in New York’s theater scene that caught her eye.
“I’m in New York and have lived here for a long time, and I’ve seen him in a bunch of plays,” she said. “He’s great on Succession. He’s done a lot of good film work. But some of those plays where he’s played a dad character — that really made me feel like, Oh, yeah, this is the guy that like feels like all of our collective dads.”
Friedman plays a weed-smoking, wise-cracking dad in “Daddy’s Girl” opposite Tedra Millan as his on-screen daughter who needs help moving out of her older ex-boyfriend’s fancy apartment.
The lineup for the second shorts block at Salute Your Shorts on Saturday was chock-full of incredible films without a bad one in the bunch, including “American Scar” directed by Daniel Lombroso, “Warshaw” by Dania Bdeir, “Roommates” by Ashley Eakin, “Please Hold” by Kristen “KD” Davila, “Action” by Benoît Monney, and Five Cents by Aaron Hughes, featuring the voice of Friedman’s fellow Succession castmate Brian Cox.
Hudson got the idea for “Daddy’s Girl” from her own father.
“It comes from a very personal place. I have a very great but intense and complicated relationship with my dad. And so a lot of this kind of came out of that,” she said. “I’m always interested in the space between tenderness and cringe.”
She’s currently in “furious rewrites” on the feature-length version of “Daddy’s Girl,” which she’s looking to finance. In the meantime, the short film version of “Daddy’s Girl” will be premiering on Vimeo this fall.
Main Image: Peter Friedman in Daddy’s Girl