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Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #12: Craig Johnson's 'The Skeleton Twins' Provides Poignant Take on the Everlasting Sibling Bond

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 13, 2014 at 10:37AM

In his second feature film "The Skeleton Twins," writer/director Craig Johnson delves deep into the lives of a troubled brother-sister duo. Starring Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader as melancholic twins, the film explores the emotional -- and somewhat comical -- turmoil that will soon come to define each sibling.
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Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

In his second feature film "The Skeleton Twins," writer/director Craig Johnson delves deep into the lives of a troubled brother-sister duo. Starring Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader as melancholic twins, the film explores the emotional -- and somewhat comical -- turmoil that will soon come to define each sibling.

What It's About: THE SKELETON TWINS is about a brother and sister who are deeply estranged. After a crisis reunites them, they move back in with each other and attempt to rebuild their relationship.

And So It's Really About: It's about that strange and specific connection that can only exist between siblings, and how siblings relate to each other through a shared sense of humor, a shared history and an almost "secret language" informed by the past. We can never really escape our family, for better or for worse, and that shapes the direction of our entire lives.

Tell us briefly about yourself. I like natural history museums, Sidecars (the drink, also the vehicle), the comic book 'Sock Monkey', the Pacific Northwest, proboscis monkeys, monster movies, Chekhov and The B-52s. I also like Wes Anderson.

What was your biggest challenge in completing this film? Remaining open to all input and feedback while trying not to second-guess myself.

What do you want the Sundance audience to take away from your film? I hope they engage in it emotionally. That, and laugh a little.

What films and filmmakers have inspired you? MCCABE AND MRS. MILLER, THE RULES OF THE GAME, ELECTION, MY LIFE AS A DOG, Hal Ashby, old Milos Forman, John Hughes, Todd Haynes.

What camera did you shoot on? The Arri Alexa.

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform. If not, why? We did not. We were lucky to receive our funding from a single entity which made things clean and easy. I'm intrigued by crowdfunding. I have some weirder ideas that could probably only come to life through crowdfunding.

What's next for you? I've got a couple of funny/scary monster movies I'm working on, a high school movie, an adaptation or two I'd like to do, and some smaller ideas that are still gestating.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.

This article is related to: Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers, Sundance Film Festival, The Skeleton Twins





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