EDITOR’S NOTE: This profile was originally published as part of indieWIRE’s coverage of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.
“It’s a film about the backstory of relationships,” explains director Matt Aselton of his film ‘Gigantic’ which had its world premiere on Monday night in Toronto. With an all star cast, the film follows the growing romance between mattress salesman Brian (Paul Dano) and quirky, naive rich girl Harriet/Happy (Zooey Deschanel).
Aselton explains that he and his co-writer and college friend Adam Nagata both come from a literary background and wanted to create a film that wasn’t expository, but rather something novelistic and surrealist. “Kirby (Ed Asner) [Brian’s father] is 80 and Brian is 28, how does that affect their relationship? Harriet walks around in her underwear all the time, how does that affect their relationship? Those little things that are often found in literature but rarely in film are the things we wanted to show in ‘Gigantic’.”
The film’s title is a little surrealist, too. While nothing is literally “gigantic” in the film, Aselton contemplates on it, trying to describe that it is a term often used by young children when everything seems fantastic and great. “There’s an innocence about the title…I guess it’s a juxtaposition against Brian’s life changing decision to adopt a baby.”
As a first time feature filmmaker, Aselton views the current financial state of the industry as a great equalizer. “It makes for better and more responsible filmmaking,” he says, citing the Coen Brothers as a great example of successful films made on a modest budget, combined with talent and equality amongst cast and crew.
“Gigantic” screens tonight as part of the GenArt Film Festival, and opens in limited release tomorrow.