One of the many great films I saw at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was writer-director Mike White’s Brad’s Status. The dramedy stars Ben Stiller as a middle-aged man working for a non-profit who suffers something of a mid-life crisis while accompanying his musical prodigy son (Austin Abrams) on a tour of Harvard. While from the outside Stiller’s got a loving wife (Jenna Fischer) and a great life, he’s actually miserable. The main reason for this is that he keeps comparing himself to his old college friends (Luke Wilson, Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement and Mike White) who appear to be far more successful via their social media feeds. As the film unfolds, we hear Stiller’s character’s inner voice wondering about the choices he’s made and his envy as he watches his friends from afar. While this inner voiceover could have been a disaster, because of Mike White’s fantastic script, you start to understand his jealously even when his life looks perfect. Also, while most don’t say it aloud, I think everyone at one point has wondered about the choices they’ve made after they’ve seen friends get ahead in the rat race and thought, “Why not me?” It’s that kind of emotional honestly in the film and script that will cause many to look inward.
Shortly after seeing the film, I sat down with Jenna Fischer for an exclusive video interview. She talked about Mike White’s fantastic script, the way the dialogue and situations feel authentic and real, how she campaigned to land her role, and a lot more. In addition, she talked about what it was like working with Clint Eastwood on The 15:17 to Paris.
Check out what she had to say in the player above and below is what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. For more on Brad’s Status you can read Phil Brown’s glowing review. Brad’s Status is now playing in New York and Los Angeles and expanding into more cities this weekend.
- While you can’t see it on the shot, she wasn’t wearing any shoes. She explains why.
- What was her reaction to the script?
- Reveals she campaigned to be in the film.
- When did she find out she got the role?
- The film has such great dialogue and realistic scenes. Was it all on the page or was some of it found on set?
- What was it like working with Clint Eastwood on The 15:17 to Paris?
Here’s the Brad’s Status official synopsis:
When Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) accompanies his college bound son to the East Coast, the visit triggers a crisis of confidence in Brad’s Status, writer and director Mike White’s bittersweet comedy. Brad has a satisfying career and a comfortable life in suburban Sacramento where he lives with his sweet-natured wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), and their musical prodigy son, Troy (Austin Abrams), but it’s not quite what he imagined during his college glory days. Showing Troy around Boston, where Brad went to university, he can’t help comparing his life with those of his four best college friends: a Hollywood bigshot (White), a hedge fund founder (Luke Wilson), a tech entrepreneur (Jemaine Clement), and a political pundit and bestselling author (Michael Sheen). As he imagines their wealthy, glamorous lives, he wonders if this is all he will ever amount to. But when circumstances force him to reconnect with his former friends, Brad begins to question whether he has really failed or is, in some ways at least, the most successful of them all.