Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Would You See This Movie? | First Look at Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon in "Robot & Frank"

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire August 12, 2011 at 6:38AM

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; every Friday, we spotlight a bigger project, usually from an established filmmaker or affiliated with a bigger production company.
5
Would You See This Movie? | First Look at Frank Langella and Susan Sarandon in "Robot & Frank"
Jake Schreier

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; every Friday, we spotlight a bigger project, usually from an established filmmaker or affiliated with a bigger production company.

"Robot & Frank"

Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: Christopher D. Ford
Executive Producers: White Hat/TBB
Producers: Galt Niederhoffer, Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Lance Acord
Director of Photography: Matt Lloyd
Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Jeremy Strong, the voice of Liev Schreiber

Jake Schreier's feature directorial debut is also the debut of a new production company. Jackie Kelman Bisbee and Lance Acord's short-form production company Park Pictures is joining forces with Galt Niederhoffer and Sam Bisbee to create Park Pictures Features.

Their first film, "Robot & Frank," comes from Schreier, who worked with Park Pictures for five years, mostly on music videos. He says the project began when he was at NYU.

"The short version was written by Christopher D. Ford," he said. "He and I were friends in school, and I produced the short. When we were looking for projects to develop, something that had a hook and could be produced on an independent film, I remembered this concept."

In the short, an old man lived in a rural house with a caretaker robot. According to Schreier, "in this case, the short didn't beget the feature. This was really just a small thing we made in film school and we thought it might make an interesting feature."

In the feature version, Frank Langella stars as the old man, who lives a lonely life save for spare interactions with the local librarian (Susan Sarandon) and his son (James Marsden). "We figured out a few things to add to the concept to make it into a feature -- we made it into a bit of a heist film," said Schreier. "The old man is a former jewel thief."

To help his dad stay busy, his son buys him a companion robot and the two develop a friendship. "A lot of people read the script and see it as science fiction," Schrier said. "The robot in the film is a bit futuristic, but these things do exist. There's a lot of different kinds of robots out there -- robots that look like pretty girls, greeters for stores. Companion robots tend to look like little space men. We wanted to make the robot somewhat faceless. A lot of what we do is project our emotion on robots, so less was more in the design."

The team used Alterian, the same company that made the robots for Spike Jonze's "I'm Here" short and design costumes for Daft Punk. "They've been doing some development of actual prototypes for robot caretakers," said Schrier. "They had perspectives because they're working on this."

And how about that all-star cast? "I don't know how properly put I am to say that how impressed I am that actors of this caliber were interested in this story," Schreier said. "I had a great chance to get to know Langella while we were casting. He was part of the rewriting process. He did research and during the rewrites, he talked about the people with Alzheimer's that he met."

The future for Park Pictures Features is also bright. In the works is an adaptation of Sam Lipsyte's novel "The Ask," to be directed by Steven Shainberg, and an adaptation of David Foster Wallace's short story "Little Expressionless Animals."


Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell indieWIRE in the comments below.

This article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit, In The Works






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More