VAIL — Once upon a time, Miguel Ali Hasan’s life was like The Tin Man on ecstasy: “Hookers and strippers and pimps! Oh My!” It can take a while for life stuff to become funny, but it’s always worth the wait.
And that explains why his latest film comedy, “Confessions of a Womanizer,” is “loosely autobiographical,” he said.
Hasan lives in the Vail Valley much of the time. He’s home for his film’s Colorado premiere in the Vail Film Festival today.
“Two years ago I went to rehab for sex addiction, which people are allowed to laugh at,” he said, laughing at it himself.
He also tried to be an alcoholic for a few years, but he’s allergic to alcohol. He hit rock bottom and went to rehab, and that’s where he wrote the script.
“In rehab you’re going through withdrawal and you’re exhausted all the time. You’re not really sure it’s worth it,” he said.
But it was.
“I was inspired by the testimonials of the drug addicts and alcoholics, and I wanted to share my story,” Hasan said.
His story, it turns out, is hilarious.
“I wanted it to be insanely funny with a happy ending,” he said.
The movie is funny and moving — all the stuff good movies are supposed to be — but our favorite part is the Academy Award campaign.
Gary Busey is being floated for a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Then there’s Kelly Mantle, proposed as the first androgynous actress for either Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
The Academy can decide what category she should be nominated under, Hasan said.
Mantle will decide what to wear on the Red Carpet.
“If it’s for actor, it’ll be a designer gown. If it’s for actress, it’ll be a Chanel tuxedo. Keep the switch flipping. Always keep the switch flipping,” Mantle said laughing.
Mantle plays a transgender hooker with a heart. The main character, Ritchie, picked him up not realizing he was transgender. The police pulled them over and they end up in jail.
“It just adds more to his downward spiral,” Mantle said.
As they sit in jail, the hooker with the heart of gold gives Ritchie some wonderful life advice about being true to yourself, which helps Ritchie begin to pick himself up.
“We all need hookers with a heart of gold,” Mantle said.
Speaking of hearts of gold, Jillian Rose Reed plays Megan the hot girl. You’ve seen her in “Awkward.”
“The original idea was for her to be a blonde but red heads are more fun, right?” she said. “The script was hilarious from the start, seeing it come to life is awesome!”
She’s young, 22, and says she had to overcome the fear of her first lingerie scene. Andrew Lawrence, she says, was a “sweetheart.”
“Secretly, he was super nervous for our love scene or any time we had to kiss. It was really cute!” Reed said.
Fun and failure
Hasan has succeeded and failed. Success is more fun, but failure teaches valuable lessons.
In 2008, he ran for the Colorado state House of Representatives, and in 2010 ran for Colorado State Treasurer. He lost both times, but he knocked on more than 20,000 doors, talking to voters all over Colorado. They talked back. A lot. That experience still fuels some of his work, he said.
His first book, “ELEPHANT: The 12 Things I Learned When I Ran For Office,” was released last year.
He graduated from Occidental College in 2004, taught English and history at Franklin High School in east L.A., worked two years working under Dr. James Sadd on environmental science and justice issues, and earned a MFA in Film Directing from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film.
After all that, he earned his parents’ blessing to change his name from Ali Hasan to Miguel Ali, a nod to his Spanish and Pakistani-Indian heritage, which is predominantly Jewish. Miguel honors Miguel De Luna, a Catholic activist who campaigned against the Inquisition. Ali is in honor of the name his mother gave him. He is an interfaith practitioner, adhering to principles of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. He may be a citizen of the world, but he was born July 4 in Pueblo and is American to his very marrow.
He has deep roots in Eagle County, where he became an expert snowboarder. Hasan, his fiance, Jennie, and their son, Seneca, split time between the Vail Valley and the West Coast.