Written by Charles Mihelich
To read my interview with Writer/Director Marianna Palka, click here.
I should explain something before going on with my Jason Ritter interview. Jason and I have a connection that I couldn’t not bring up during the interview. Jason is the son of John Ritter, the brilliant comedian and actor from “Threes Company”, “8 Simple Rules”, “Bad Santa”, and countless other films. John passed away in 2003, which was a tragic and sudden loss for the acting community.
John Ritter and my mother were both Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater graduates from USC. They were in the program together, acted together in several plays, and were very good friends. During my early years, I remember attending the acting school reunions with my mom, and John was always there in full force, eager to see his old friends from the program. I also attended the memorial service held for John at USC in 2004. My mom was devastated by the loss of John, and she was really excited to hear that I was going to be able to interview Jason.
It comes up later in the interview, and it distracts us slightly from talking about “Good Dick”, but I still think it makes for a very interesting conversation.
Collider: How did you get involved in “Good Dick”?
Jason Ritter: Well, Marianna and I have been friends for a long time, and when she asked me to do this I immediately said yes. I love the story and I think it’s a really interesting way to approach the connections people have.
Collider: You’re also listed as a producer.
Jason Ritter: I think everyone is listed as a producer (laughs). I mean, we were basically doing this with no money, so we had to contribute anything we could to keep it alive.
Collider: Well, it must be great to finally see it opening.
Jason Ritter. Oh man. After it did well at Sundance, we’ve been prepping it for its proper opening. It’s amazing to actually see it advertised.
Collider: I mentioned this to Marianna, but you shot a lot of this at Cinefile on Santa Monica Blvd.
Jason Ritter: Yeah, we love that place. They were nice enough to let us shoot there in their off hours.
Collider: That’s actually right by my place.
Jason Ritter: Really? Where do you live?
Collider: Right in West LA.
Jason Ritter: Nice! Yeah, we’re right there too. That’s really cool. Yeah, and the Nuart is right there too, which is where we’re opening.
Collider: Where else is the film opening?
Jason Ritter: I think just a few places. New York, I think Austin, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, San Francisco, just a few venues, but if it does well hopefully it will be expanded.
Collider: I noticed a couple cameos in the film, at least I think I did. Was that Bryce Dallas-Howard playing one of the video store patrons?
Jason Ritter: Yeah, yeah! These are just Marianna and my friends who all wanted to be involved, you know? We just took our world and translated it to the film. I mean, that was our apartment in the film.
Collider: Yeah, that’s what Marianna said.
Jason Ritter: That’s what happens when you film on the cheap.
Collider: You know, though, it allows you to be closer to the film.
Jason Ritter: Exactly. I mean, this was OUR film, in so many ways. Not too many people can say that.
Collider: I really liked the music in the film. There’s something about a great soundtrack that can make a low budget film feel really polished.
Jason Ritter: Yeah, yeah, I’m really glad you noticed it. And I totally know what you mean about the importance of a good soundtrack. The entire film was scored by this guy named Jared Nelson Smith. We didn’t really know him, but we’d approached him about doing a song for the film, and he said he wanted to do the whole thing. I mean, there isn’t much actual music in the film, but whatever is there, he did. He created something pretty amazing that fit the mood of the film perfectly. When I heard it, I was totally blown away.
Collider: So it sounds like this film was really a labor of love.
Jason: Haha, we had so many people who came together and really made this happen. The support has been amazing, and so many people volunteered to work for very little or even no money, shooting in the middle of the night and on weekends in order to get the film made. It feels so close to home, especially since we shot it IN our home, you know? That’s why it’s so cool that we’re opening at the Nuart.
Collider: What do you want people to know about this film?
Jason Ritter: Well, despite the kind of raunchy title, this film is a lot more deep than that. It’s funny, but it’s not a traditional comedy. It’s dramatic, but it’s not a traditional drama. It’s about these two damaged people who find some sort of connection in each other. We all feel really lucky to have the reception we’ve had, and I think if people are looking to see something different, there’s something really cool in “Good Dick”.
Collider: You know, I have to bring this up. My mom and your dad went to college together at USC.
Jason Ritter: Wow, really?
Collider: Yeah, they were in the theater program together and were really good friends.
Jason Ritter: No way! That’s really crazy.
Collider: Yeah, small world right? I mean, I even attended the memorial service at USC.
Jason Ritter: The one where the marching band came out at the end?
Collider: Yeah, yeah!
Jason Ritter: That was very cool. That whole day was just so surreal, but it was so nice to see all of my dad’s friends there.
Collider: Well, my mom loved your dad very much, and she just heartbroken by his loss.
Jason Ritter: That’s really really nice to hear. You’ll definitely have to say hi to her for me.
Collider: I will, absolutely.
Good Dick will be playing in more cities in the coming weeks. Look for it. .