Filmmaker Says The Comedy Is Like ‘After Hours’ Meets ‘Adventures In Babysitting,’ But Has Strong Dramatic Notes
A funny thing happened to director David Gordon Green (“All The Real Girls,” the upcoming “Your Highness“) on his detour into the mainstream: he stayed there a little bit longer than he had originally anticipated. “After ‘Your Highness’ I wanted to do a character piece. I love working with kids, I wanted to be in NYC and I literally had that guideline,” Green said in an interview with The Playlist this week. “But at that point I was knew I didn’t want it to be a comedy.”
But then Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka‘s comedy script for “The Sitter” landed on Green’s doorstep, containing almost all the ingredients he was seeking including a New York setting and kids as the focal point of the story, and it proved irressitible. “Then ‘The Sitter’ showed up and I was like, ‘Alright, this is funny as shit and it’s also got some great dramatic scenes and it reminds me what I love about a movie like ‘Risky Business‘ and ‘Uncle Buck‘ — all these kind of crazy movies I liked as a kid,” he said. “So if you can ring the doorbell of the 11 year old in a movie in me, then you can get away with a lot.”
With yet another great ensemble assembled for the film, the story centers around Jonah Hill who plays a college student who ends up on a wild night after agreeing to babysit the three kids next door. He’s joined by a solid supporting cast including “Where The Wild Things Are” star Max Records, Ari Graynor, J.B. Smoove, Method Man and Sam Rockwell as a drug dealer tracking down Hill after he loses their cocaine. We read the script and it’s quite funny, and at first glance, it seems more suited to summer season than a December bow where’s it now scheduled. But according to Green, this is a film with much more shades to it than initially meets the eye.
“We’re going for an Oscar push on it now dude,” he joked going on to explain the reasoning behind the shifting dates for the movie. “I mean first we were just like…nobody wanted to come out against ‘Harry Potter.’ We were on the ‘Harry Potter’ date and that was a bad idea and then we were into the summer with like four R rated comedies and we were like this movie has more substance than that. I mean the movie we’re going to hang our hat on it being a comedy but it has some great dramatic moments and some great performances by kids that you don’t see…but it’s not ‘Bad News Bears.’ It’s something more soulful than that, so we really want to make sure it’s handled and marketed appropriately.”
“It does feel like a fall or winter movie to me rather than just, ‘Oh, here are kids that cuss’ [movie]. It has plenty of that stuff but I don’t want to just be looked at and perceived as that and come out against a bunch of college humor R rated movies,” Green elaborated. “It definitely has some dramatic beats…it has an After Hours meets Adventures in Babysitting [vibe] and with that, all the kind of peculiar interesting New York City texture at night that you have with it that I’m really proud of.”
With these mixtures of tones and elements, Green is concerned about not only getting the right message, but making sure he’s not thrust into another promotional jaunt right away. “Anytime that people are willing to kind of reassess their engineering of a marketing campaign [that’s great]. It worked out so beautiful for ‘Your Highness’ that we could not rush the movie, we didn’t have to race it to theaters in October last year but really take our time with the visual effects and come up with a strategy that makes sense to get this movie out at a time that people are going to show up for it. I’m always about that. For me it was going to be a nightmare anyway — I was going to do ‘Eastbound [& Down]‘ this summer and then jump into a promo. I was going to be in production and doing publicity at the same time. I wasn’t too excited about all of that.”
But now with a bit more time to breathe, Green and 20th Century Fox will have plenty of time to fine tune the message about the movie. “The Sitter” will hit theaters on December 9th, but if you need your fix of irreverent laughs now, “Your Highness” is at your local multiplex right now.