Exclusive: Director Joe Carnahan Talks STRETCH; Is Re-Cutting the Film and Plans to Debut It at a Festival This Year

     July 13, 2014


I’m a big Joe Carnahan fan.  I’ve enjoyed all of his movies, and his most recent, The Grey, was my favorite film of 2012.  I was eagerly anticipating his follow-up Stretch, which stars Patrick Wilson as “a down-on-his-luck chauffeur looking to relieve his debt by driving around a mysterious billionaire who drags him to hell and back.”  The cast for the low-budget film also includes Chris Pine, Ed Helms, Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Dekker, James Badge Dale, Shaun Toub, Ray Liotta, and David Hasselhoff.  So it was a bummer when Universal dropped the movie and it fell off the theatrical schedule this year.  Since then, we’ve been wondering when and how we’re going to see a movie that’s like “excessive 80’s R-rated action comedies,” according to Wilson.

At the TCA Press Tour, Christina interviewed Carnahan (who was there for his upcoming drama series State of Affairs), and got him to provide an update on Stretch and plans for a festival debut.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

joe-carnahan-liam-neeson-the-greyCarnahan commented on the current status of the film first by trying to assuage any doubt about the movie’s quality or concerns raised by its ignominious drop by Universal:

JOE CARNAHAN: When you guys see it, I honestly think people are going to be like, “Wow!  It’s fantastic!  I don’t know what all the hub bub was about.”  But listen, I get it.  When you make a movie that inexpensively, you enable a situation whereby people feel like, “Well, we don’t want to put $40 million toward it.”  I get that.  In my mind, we were trying to do what they did with the horror genre for action comedies.  We wanted to make it really inexpensive.  I’ve said this to friends of mine, but you don’t want to start feeling like Don Quixote, and like you’re this madman, tilting at windmills.  I know, inherently, as a creative and as a filmmaker, when I wift.  I can say, “Yeah, I didn’t put the bat to the ball the way that I wanted to.” 

That’s so not the case with Stretch.  It’s so good.  It’s like a kid running around the house.  You clean him up, you give him a hair-cut, you put him in a nice suit, so that he can go out and make a living.  That’s all this is, right now.  Because it was made at such an impoverished budgetary level, I’ve had to really be resourceful with how it’s being stitched together.  Because I want it to be like a really beautiful suit, it takes time.  You don’t have the means or the money or the resources to just throw endless amounts of dough at it. 

stretch-cast-joe-carnahan-patrick-wilson-chris-pine-ed-helmsAnd how to put him in that “beautiful suit”?  With some skillful editing:

CARNAHAN: Jason Hellmann, who cut The Grey, The Blacklist and State of Affairs for me, and I are re-cutting it right now and just doing little things to it.  He was busy.  He was doing Deliver Us From Evil, so I couldn’t get him.  But, I finally got him.  So, watching it come together with a guy that I have such a creative shorthand with is so wonderful and so much fun.  It opens up in all these ways that I didn’t consider before.  So, that was my long-winded response to say that you needn’t fear.  You will see it. 

This is all well and good, but when will we get to see it?  While producer Jason Blum told us a few months ago that Stretch might pop up at the Toronto International Film Festival, Carnahan says we won’t find it there:

CARNAHAN:  I’m going to debut it at a festival that is neither Toronto nor Sundance.  That will be at the end of the year.  But I’m not going to say which one, and I’m not going to say the theater.  If you followed me, you could piece it together.  I’m really excited to have an audience sit with that film and see it the way it’s meant to be seen.  That’s really exciting to me.  So yes, you will see it this year.

If it’s not Toronto or Sundance, my guess is Fantastic Fest.  The raucous tenor of the Alamo Drafthouse’s annual festival combined with the implied tone of Stretch sounds like an excellent match.  No matter where Stretch premieres, I just hope that general audiences will get to see it soon after.  Look for more from our exclusive Joe Carnahan interview soon.

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