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Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "The Lie" Director Joshua Leonard

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 17, 2011 at 5:37AM

Once an idealistic young man with artistic aspirations, Lonnie is stuck and doesn’t quite know it. Working at an unfulfilling job, he longs to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a musician. When his wife, Clover, is presented with a career opportunity that could provide them with the stability she craves (but one that goes against their beliefs), Lonnie cannot muster the resolve to endure another day at work, so he tells a lie—a life-altering lie that he cannot take back.
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Once an idealistic young man with artistic aspirations, Lonnie is stuck and doesn’t quite know it. Working at an unfulfilling job, he longs to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a musician. When his wife, Clover, is presented with a career opportunity that could provide them with the stability she craves (but one that goes against their beliefs), Lonnie cannot muster the resolve to endure another day at work, so he tells a lie—a life-altering lie that he cannot take back.

Writer/director/actor Josh Leonard’s "The Lie" is a candid, yet charming, look at the way seemingly harmless actions can cause a chain reaction of irrevocable proportions. With shining performances and intelligent writing, "The Lie" takes us on a journey of self-discovery as it astutely examines what it means to be an adult, and the steps we all take to get there...eventually. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Institute]

"The Lie"
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Director: Joshua Leonard
Screenwriter: Joshua Leonard, Jeff Feuerzeig, Jess Weixler, Mark Webber
Cast: Joshua Leonard, Jess Weixler, Mark Webber, Alia Shawkat, Jane Adams, Kelli Garner
Executive Producer: Sriram Das, Mitchell Goldman
Producer: Mary Pat Bentel
Composer: Peter Raeburn
Cinematographer: Benjamin Kasulke
Editor: Greg O'Bryant
Production Designer: Thomas Hammock

Responses courtesy of "The Lie" director Joshua Leonard.

Filmmaking as a buffet...

When I was a kid, our fancy weekly meal was the five-dollar buffet at the local family diner. The notion that you could have a little bit of everything was mind blowing to me. I think of filmmaking like that. It gives me the opportunity to indulge a little bit of all the creative components that turn me on.

Reasons behind adapting the story...

I read T.C.'s amazing story in The New Yorker and became obsessed. Underneath the dark hilarity was a deep truth about so many people that I know, and myself for that matter. It tackled big issues: the inevitable compromises in the struggle towards adulthood, the subtle and overt dishonesty that most of us live with every day, fears of inferiority and what it takes to commit yourself to a family. All of this was done with wit, eloquence and without a shred of pretension.

I figured we had to turn it into a movie because the chances that anyone else would were slim. And I really wanted to see that movie.

One sentence approach to filmmaking...

Intensely collaborative, while occasionally plagued with my obsessive tendencies.

Strangest story from the set...

"The Lie" director Joshua Leonard. Image courtesy of the Sundance Institute.


We had a five and a half month old baby as one of our leads on an independent film. Where would you like me to begin….?

The hope...

All I can say is that I am tremendously proud of our film. I think the final project reflects the spirit of a group of talented folks who came together to tell a story because it was important to them. We can only hope that audiences will feel involved and invited in the way we intended.

Directing influences...

I could give you the same pretentious references any director would. And they would be partially true and partially vanity based. But honestly, my biggest inspirations are always my filmmaking peers. There's camaraderie there -- and just a touch of healthy competitive spirit.

In the works...

I've got a few things in the works. Some are bigger while others remain helplessly independent. Apart from my own stuff, the project I'm most excited about is a film that my producing partner (Mary Pat Bentel), Cotty Chubb and myself are helping to shepherd for the wonderful Allison Anders.  


This article is related to: Features, Interviews, The Lie





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