‘Paddleton’: Director Alex Lehmann on Making a Dramedy About Terminal Cancer

     February 4, 2019

One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Paddleton. Directed by Alex Lehmann and written by Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann, Paddleton is about two best friends (Mark Duplass and Ray Romano) and their unexpectedly emotional journey when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unlike some films or TV shows that “Hollywoodize” what happens when you have terminal cancer (meaning it’s no big deal), Paddleton tells a realistic story about normal people with genuine problems. You can see the trailer here and watch it for yourself when it premieres on Netflix on February 22nd.

Shortly after seeing the film, I sat down with Alex Lehmann for an exclusive video interview at the Collider Studio at the Kia Supper Suite in Park City. He talked about what the film is about, the challenges he faced in the editing room, where the idea to have the main characters love kung-fu came from, how he found the town of Solvang, California, what it was like working with Netflix, and a lot more.


Image via Kia Motors

I’d also like to take a moment to give special thanks to our Collider Studio partner, the all new 2020 Kia Telluride, which was transporting filmmakers to our studio in celebration of the debut of the all new model, Kia’s first eight-passenger SUV that is several inches longer and wider than the brand’s award-winning Sorento.

Libations flowing at the Collider studio and parties were provided by LIFEWTR, Tequila Comisario, Sensi Tuscany Wines, Blue Moon Belgian White and Dragonfly Coffee Roasters. Food during the evening parties was provided by Greene St. Kitchen of Palms Casino Resort helmed by Chef Du Cuisine Lanny Chin. Brand partners also active during the day-part include mou, a luxury footwear and accessories line, and The Wild Immersion endorsed by Jane Goodall who was on-site with the world’s first ‘virtual reserve’.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.


Image via Netflix

Alex Lehmann:

  • How people should also see Paddington 2.
  • What Paddleton is about?
  • How the subject matter isn’t something many films or TV shows deal with.
  • Was it tough getting financing?
  • How they didn’t have a full script.
  • How tough was it to edit?
  • Where did the idea for Death Punch and their love of kung-fu come from?
  • Where did the Paddleton game come from?
  • How did he find the town of Solvang, California and why haven’t more people filmed there?
  • What was it like working with Netflix?
  • How they’re not trying to “Hollywoodize” what happens when you have terminal cancer.

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