Joe Swanberg, the indie director arguably responsible for the DIY aesthetic known as “mumblecore” (though don’t fully blame him, he didn’t coin the term) is the most prolific filmmaker alive. OK, maybe not quite, but since 2005, the filmmaker has made about 14 feature-length films. That’s not quite an average of two films per year between 2005-2013, but it’s close (and it doesn’t even include the shorts he’s made). His debut, “Kissing on the Mouth” kicked off this movement when it was heralded as a hit at SXSW and since then he’s become known for micro-budgeted indies like “Hannah Takes The Stairs” (which helped launch Greta Gerwig‘s career), “Nights & Weekends” and “Alexander The Last.”
And like the Duplass Brothers, Ry Russo-Young and Lynn Shelton before him (other close-knit filmmakers loosely lumped together under the “mumblecore” umbrella), Swanberg has finally gone mainstream. Again, not quite, but while the Duplass Brothers have made two comedies for Fox Searchlight with actors like Jonah Hill and Jason Segel, Shelton has worked with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt, and Russo-Young has also made Hollywood inroads, while Swanberg had seemingly resisted. Or at least the filmmaker was content to keep churning out picture after picture.
But his latest, “Drinking Buddies,” a comedy set within the world of craft beer (one of Swanberg’s passion and hobbies), stars real quote unquote actors. Starring Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, with Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick in supporting roles, it’s quite the cast (there are also cameos by Jason Sudeikis, Ti West and Swanberg himself). And by all accounts from its debut this spring at SXSW 2013, Swanberg’s turned a corner with his best film to date. Our review called the picture a “loose, low-key relationship comedy with potent chemistry between the film’s leads.”
Playlist contrib Kristin McCracken sat down with Swanberg to discuss his biggest-budget film to date, his stellar cast and how his filmmaking process has changed (or not changed) as he’s moving on up. “Drinking Buddies” isn’t set for a U.S. release yet, but it should only be a few short weeks before we find out who will be distributing it stateside. Check out the interview below.
Joe Swanberg says two key influences for “Drinking Buddies” are Paul Mazursky’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” and “The Heartbreak Kid” by Elaine May.
This is a reprint of our interview from the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. “Drinking Buddies” is now available on VOD and opens in limited release on August 23rd.