Colin Donnell previews his new film Sell By

Colin Donnell plays Henry in the upcoming romantic comedy Sell By. Photo Credit: Courtesy of K2 Publicity.
Colin Donnell plays Henry in the upcoming romantic comedy Sell By. Photo Credit: Courtesy of K2 Publicity. /

Colin Donnell tells One Chicago Center about Sell By, his latest movie that shows a different side of the Chicago Med star.

If you’re missing Colin Donnell already, you don’t have to—he’s got a new movie that’s screening later this month! Colin is one of the stars of Sell By, a new romantic comedy, and took time out to give One Chicago Center the details on his latest project.

Colin spoke about how the movie is very different from his role as Dr. Connor Rhodes on Chicago Med, what it was like making the film between seasons, and his personal connection to the movie that makes it even more special.

Learn more in our interview with Colin Donnell below, and be sure to check out Sell By at OutFest on July 20 and 21! For more details on that and other screenings near you, visit the film’s website.

One Chicago Center: How did you get involved with Sell By originally? Was this a new project for you, or one that had been in the works?

More from One Chicago Center

Colin Donnell: We actually shot it last summer, in between the third and fourth season of Med. I’ve been friends with [writer/director] Mike Doyle for quite some time, and he’d told me about a film he was writing.

When he finished writing and was thinking about putting together the cast for the show, he eventually approached me about coming on and doing one of the roles in the film.

I was super stoked to just get a chance to work with him. I’ve always been a big fan and I think he’s a marvelous actor—but him writing and directing his first feature, I was really excited to get in and be a part of it.

OCC: After spending every day for months playing Connor Rhodes on Chicago Med, what’s it like to transition to playing a different character like Henry in Sell By?

CD: You do something for so long, and you start to crave different outlets and ways to stretch in a different direction. Playing Henry was so exciting because I got to do some real comedy. It’s a lovely film about a group of friends who are all in different stages of their relationships, and it’s not only poignant and lovely and touching, but it’s also really funny.

I know one of the things [Mike] talked to me about, when we were talking about me coming on to do the film, he said I think this is a great chance for you to do something else and I couldn’t agree more. It’s so fun to stretch, and in film and television I haven’t done a lot of comedy, so I was just really happy and excited and thrilled to be able to share that side.

OCC: How was the experience doing something smaller, and less intense, than a network TV drama?

CD: It was almost apples and oranges. I had a blast, because I was coming in and working with one of my dear friends, and being able to get on set with some people that I had been a fan of for a while. It was just something really cool and in between seasons of Med, so there was something really free and wonderful about getting to just do something different.

Watch One Chicago on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

OCC: What are the highlights of Sell By for you? What stands out about the movie?

CD: One of the coolest things was that it really is just a beautiful script about couples at various points in their relationships. It centers around Adam and Marklin, played by Scott [Evans] and Augustus [Prew] and their group of friends that extends from that. I got the privilege of being opposite Michelle Buteau, who is just a comedy machine and such a wonderful actor. You have Kate Walsh, Scott and Augustus, Zoe [Chao] and Christopher Gray and Michelle—we just had this murderers’ row of wonderful actors and wonderful comedians.

And Mike was just brilliant behind the camera. Being a wonderful actor himself, he had a great way of communicating with everybody and handling a film that was shot in 19 days. One of the things about indie filmmaking is that it’s always a bit under the gun, and it takes somebody special to keep a calm presence while filming it, and I think Mike did such a great job to get great work out of everybody. He really was very trusting of a group of people that came together to try and live up to the script he wrote.

OCC: How much does it mean to you when you’re being directed by a fellow actor? Particularly one who knows you personally?

CD: It’s always wonderful to work with a director who who speaks the same kind of language, and since Mike and I were friends before, it felt like we dropped into this cool place where there was a shorthand between us. And it wasn’t just me; I think he has such a great way of working with everybody. He knows the way that actors think, and he had a great demeanor behind the camera so that when anybody had questions, he had a way of helping us find the answers without feeling like he was force-feeding or handing it to us.

OCC: Most of your work has been in TV. How is the acting process different with a film like Sell By, where you only have a limited time with the character?

CD: Especially independent filmmaking, there’s something sort of like being shot out of a cannon with it. But hopefully you’ve got a great script, which we did. And hopefully you’ve got a great director, which we did. And there’s a part of it that almost feels as though you’re putting on a play, because you’re dissecting and diving into these scenes and these characters very quickly. There’s something wonderful about doing it this way.

There’s something really cool about shooting a season of a television show, or shooting four seasons of a television show [too], but hopefully it all leads to creating a great story with great fleshed-out characters.

OCC: Is there something you’re hoping that fans leave Sell By with? Something you want them to take away from the movie?

CD: I’m really proud of it and I know that Mike and everybody who’s been involved with the film has been really, really proud. We’re very happy it’s getting to be seen at these different festivals and I know that the audience responses have been great. I’m really stoked that it’s having some legs and really getting out there to be seen by people.

I think what’s wonderful about it is that at its heart, it’s just a movie about relationships and they’re all so relatable. It’s wonderful to see representation on-screen, but it’s ultimately just a relatable movie about relationships and friendships that happens to be centered around a relationship between two men, and happens to be written and directed by a man who is gay himself.

I just think the universality of it all is what is really cool about the film and I’m so happy to be a part of it. It makes me very proud that it’s been done and executed by a dear friend that asked me to be a part of it.

OCC: Last but not least, it was just announced that you’ll be returning to Chicago Med to give Connor a final farewell. What are your thoughts on being asked back?

CD: I’m glad it’s happening. I’m super-excited and I think it’s a cool thing for fans, and I’m very excited to get back to say goodbye to everybody. It was a wonderful show to be on for so long and I’m so glad for the kind of success that it had. I’m happy to have been a part of it, and I hope that the show continues on for many seasons and people continue to watch it. It was an amazing experience.

Next. Colin Donnell returning to Arrow. dark

For the latest Chicago Med season 4 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Med category at One Chicago Center.