Director Shawn Levy Talks THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, Fidelity to the Book, Casting Adam Driver, Deleted Scenes, THE INTERNSHIP, and More

     September 24, 2014

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While at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival I landed an awesome interview with director Shawn Levy for This is Where I Leave You.  As I’ve said many times, I really enjoyed the film due to the great performances and the very funny script.  The story revolves around a dysfunctional family that is forced to come together and sit Shiva when their father dies, which opens old wounds and reignites passions that have long been repressed.  This is Where I Leave You stars Jason BatemanTina FeyAdam Driver, Corey StollJane FondaRose Byrne, Kathryn HahnConnie BrittonBen SchwartzTimothy OlyphantAaron LazarDebra MonkAbigail Spencer, and Dax Shepard.  For more on This is Where I Leave Youread Adam’s review or watch the trailer.

During the extended video interview Levy talked about how he was finally offered the project after chasing it for years, how he worked with author/screenwriter Jonathan Tropper to make the script more dramatic, how Warner Bros. let him pick the cast in exchange for keeping the budget down, what he had to do to get Adam Driver in the film, deleted scenes,  how he didn’t anticipate the Google tie-in backlash on The Internship and how he should have released the R-rated version, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

this-is-where-i-leave-you-posterShawn Levy Time Index:

  • Talks about previously saying he would never go to a film festival unless he had a real reason to go.
  • 1:07 – Admits he’s giddy for the movie to premiere at TIFF.  Talks about wanting to make a different kind of movie.
  • 2:08 – Talks about the phone call he got saying he would be directing This Is Where I Leave You.
  • 3:50 – Says immediately after getting the job, he called Jonathan Tropper and brought him to L.A. to make the script more dramatic.  Talks about how he had to remind Tropper to be more loyal to his book and make less changes.
  • 4:49 – When he signed on he wanted to completely redo the entire cast.  In return to bringing the budget down, the studio let him pick his cast.
  • 5:22 – Talks about how happy he was with the way Warner Bros. decided to handle the marketing.
  • 6:05 – Says Date Night was the movie he realized he had “a hard on for famous actors.”  Talks about putting together the cast for This Is Where I Leave You and Jason Batman’s range.
  • 7:45 – How did he decide to cast Adam Driver?  Says he was deemed “a little crazy” for how hard he wanted to cast Driver.  Talks about how Driver initially couldn’t take the role and tells the story of how he finally got him.
  • 10:55 – Levy talks about his love for True Detective and how the show further revealed the genius of Woody Harrelson.
  • 11:30 – How long was his first cut?  Talks about cutting out 40 minutes of the movie.
  • 12:15 – Admits that in retrospect, he should have released the R-rated version of The Internship in theaters.
  • 13:01 – Talks about the reasons why The Internship didn’t do well in theaters.  Says he didn’t at all anticipate the Google tie-in backlash.
  • 13:46 – After Night at the Museum 3, does he want to do another movie like This Is Where I Leave You?  Says he’s talking with Tropper about a number of movies.

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