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Not Only in LA

The actor on Fairfield and his latest project

Photograph: Joe Regalbrugge by Bjoern

Fairfielders dreaming of success as screenwriters aren’t likely to head to Greenfield Hill for inspiration. It takes an established L.A. writer and actor to do that.

Joe Regalbrugge wrote and appeared in one of the six vignettes that make up Only in L.A., a series in which random characters interact with one another and with the city. Released in 2013, film reviewers focused on Regalbrugge’s sensitive scenes of verbal confrontation between a gay Hollywood hairdresser and a homophobic Arab-American. In January of last year, he left L.A. to move with other family members into the Greenfield Hill home of a favorite uncle who has advanced Alzheimer’s.

“We came together as a team and instead of a home, which was an option, we decided to get him well ourselves,” said Regalbrugge (the name is Flemish). “And it’s been working.” That family drama didn’t inspire him to write, however. Snow did. During the course of a blizzard here, he wrote a full-length film script, Phobia, a suspense thriller set in a New England town where a cast of characters goes on a weekend hospital retreat to be cured of their fears.

The writer, who has since moved with his uncle and the rest of the family to Maui, also drew creative energy from neighboring Westport—“I was really inspired by the number of creative people who lived here,” he says—and from friends from neighboring towns. So much so that he’s planning to come back! “I want to lock myself away in a friend’s house in Greenfield Hill in the fall,” he says. “It’s a very powerful place and a really beautiful place to be inspired to create art.”

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