Every year at Sundance a few films that weren’t on your radar premiere to thunderous applause and end up getting sold for big bucks to a major studio. While many films have sold at Sundance 2015, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl landed a record-breaking $12 million deal when Fox Searchlight and Indian Paintbrush teamed up to acquire worldwide rights, and after I saw the film, I understood why.
From the Black List screenplay by Jesse Andrews adapted from his own book, the film’s about a loner coasting through his senior year of high school as anonymously as possible who likes to make bizarre films with his “co-worker.” When his mother forces him to befriend a girl dying of leukemia, his entire life and existence is exposed.
Loaded with great performances, a funny and honest script, and dazzling direction from Gomez-Rejon, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is easily one of my favorite films from this year’s festival and I’m extremely confident audiences are going to fall in love with it when Fox Searchlight releases it later this year.
Shortly after the premiere I landed an exclusive video interview with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. He talked about premiering the film at Sundance, what it’s been like to work with his heroes, what the film is about, his first cut, the way he likes to shoot and how he prefers specific shots over coverage, how he came to cast Olivia Cooke, what it was like working with Nick Offerman, the one challenge he didn’t think he would overcome, when he first realized people were really responding to the film, and a lot more. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl also stars Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Jon Bernthal, Connie Britton and Molly Shannon.
Trust me, remember the name Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. You will definitely be hearing it a lot more in the future.
As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.
- 0:26 – Gomez-Rejon on what he’s always thought of Sundance.
- 1:35 – What it’s like having his own film play at Sundance; what it’s been like to work with his heroes.
- 3:28 – A primer for the uninitiated on what the film is about.
- 4:32 – The first cut was around two hours and this current cut is 100 minutes.
- 5:04 – Gomez-Rejon talks about his shooting process; he prefers specific shots to coverage.
- 7:02 – How he came to cast Olivia Cooke in the lead role.
- 8:35 – The one challenge he didn’t think he would overcome.
- 10:39 – Is he prepared for the big changes that will follow the reception of this film?
- 11:57 – Gomez-Rejon discusses working with Nick Offerman.
- 13:18 – When did he realize that people were really responding to the film?