Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts Talks THE KINGS OF SUMMER, His Three and a Half Hour First Cut, Making A Few Changes Since Sundance, and More

     May 29, 2013


With the dramedy The Kings of Summer (formerly Toy’s House) opening this weekend, I recently landed an exclusive interview with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts.  The film centers on Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso), and Biaggio (Moises Arias), three teenagers who are fed up with their parents and decide to live in a house they build in the woods.  Reported missing, the boys enjoy an idyllic summer until their friendship begins to strain from mistrust and jealousy.  The film landed great reviews at Sundance, and I can tell you it’s definitely worth seeing, as it’s a very unique coming of age story with some great performances.  The film also stars Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Megan Mullally.  For more on the film, watch these clips or the red-band trailer.

During the interview, Vogt-Roberts talked about premiering at Sundance, getting financing, why he used the RED Epic, how his first cut was over three hours, will he ever release an extended edition, the theatrical cut compared to the Sundance cut, future projects, and much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

the-kings-of-summerJordan Vogt-Robert:

  • Feels happy that his first feature was warmly received at Sundance and hit theaters relatively soon after the premiere
  • 1:00 – Praises Big Beach for believing in the movie, but says it was tough to get financiers excited to make a movie like this.
  • 2:20 – Talks film vs. digital.  He shot digital because he uses improv and a lot of takes.  Says digital was secondary to shooting with anamorphic lenses.
  • 3:40 – He used the Epic, but he would have preferred to shoot with the Alexa if budget allowed.  Mentions a few complaints he has about the Epic Red camera.
  • 6:30 – First cut of the movie was three-and-a-half hours, now cut down to 94 minutes.  Says he set out with the idea, “Can you make a really dumb Terrence Malick movie?”
  • 7:50 – There are two changes from the Sundance cut to the theatrical release: No rabbit guts or c-words anymore.
  • 9:20 – He is happy with the 94-minute cut.  Contrasts his approach (with lots of audience testing) vs. Upstream Color director Shane Carruth (who he sees as an artist)
  • 11:15 – Down the line, he would entertain the idea of a special edition cut that is released under the original name, Toy’s House.
  • 12:50 – Talks about how the Sundance buzz has opened doors.  Feels lucky that he hasn’t been pigeonholed as a comedy director.
  • 14:50 – Talks about his hope for a varied filmography and his approach to set management


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