Identity Thief is the hilarious new comedy, from director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) and screenwriter Craig Mazin (The Hangover II), that follows what happens to a regular guy (played by Jason Bateman) when he is forced to extreme measures to clear his name after a woman (played by Melissa McCarthy) who loves to live it up steals his identity and ruins his life.
At the press day for the film, Collider spoke to Seth Gordon about making the film, finding the right tone, and the importance of keeping the heart in the story. While we will run that portion of the interview closer to the film’s February 8th theatrical release date, we did want to share what he had to say about his remake of WarGames, which has a script and is now waiting to go forward, whether The King of Kong narrative feature might ever happen, making sure they find a plot for Horrible Bosses 2 that lives up to the first, and the TV pilot he’s going to be directing about a dysfunctional North Eastern family in the ‘80s. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
SETH GORDON: Essentially, [Identity Thief] moved so fast that it just beat it to the punch. That script has now been written. Before, I had pitched the idea and we were finding a writer. Now, the script has been written and MGM is deciding what they want to do. To me, it’s so clearly an awesome idea and it’s gotta be made, as far as I’m concerned. I want to direct it, for sure. I just feel like the amount I know about geek world and def-con, and the places where this kind of stuff happens, makes me especially suited to bring it to life, I think. So, I’m certainly going to keep pushing that forward.
Are you also still hoping The King of Kong narrative feature will eventually happen?
GORDON: That’s just never going to die because there’s something pied piper, siren song about that doc where people want to try to remake it. I think it would be cool as a musical. Having people sing about that stuff would be amazing. It’s just so suited for melodrama that I think that would be great. But, the theatrical script is still in development. This woman, Melissa Stack, wrote it and literally handed her draft in not two weeks ago. I haven’t even had a chance to read it because I’ve been finishing [Identity Thief], but it’s not dead.
Is it frustrating for you to know that so many people are interested in that and want to see it happen, but it hasn’t been made yet?
GORDON: In that particular case, no. I feel like there’s always going to be a lingering fear that we’re chasing our own tail, even in rebuilding it. It’s hard to imagine making it truer and purer than the original, which just felt like right place, right time, right team, right set of serendipitous events, falling in line in a way that you could never really recreate. You can try. To me, that one is a special case where, if it were the right actors and the right ensemble, then I think it could take on a whole new life that would make it worth exploring. But short of that, I get nervous that we’re just trying to commercialize something that was meant to be what it was and nothing more.
GORDON: There’s a pilot that we’re doing, but I don’t know what the title is going to be. It’s basically The Wonder Years in the ‘80s instead of the ‘60s, about a dysfunctional North Eastern family. I think that’s going to be a lot of fun. That will be in early March.
Do you know which film you’ll direct next?
GORDON: It could be Horrible Bosses 2 or WarGames, or something else could come up. I love this hybrid tone and doing more complicated, nuanced character work, so I’m really hoping to find something like that.
With as successful as Horrible Bosses was, do you worry about being able to top that?
GORDON: Yeah, that’s tough. The thing is, those three guys are so good together, and so much of that movie was unscripted. We completely riffed and discovered stuff that wasn’t on the page, and I feel like we’d be able to do that again. I just want to make sure the plot holds up. That plot of the first one was really good. You didn’t see that gunshot coming. You didn’t see some of those turns.