Director Rob Burnett on ‘The Fundamentals of Caregiving’, Paul Rudd, and David Letterman

     February 3, 2016


One of the many films to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Rob Burnett’s The Fundamentals of Caring. Based on the book The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison, the film is about a man who decides to be a full-time caregiver (Paul Rudd) and the friendship that develops between his character and a young adult stricken with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (Submarine star Craig Roberts). The film also stars Selena Gomez. For more on the movie, read Adam’s review.

A few days before the world premiere I sat down with Rob Burnett for an extended video interview. He talked about the experience of being at Sundance, what drew him to the project, collaborating with Rudd on camera and off, his first cut versus the final runtime, securing financing, how his experience as a head producer on Late Show with David Letterman helped him find the humor and the heart in the movie, and he tells a great David Letterman/Johnny Carson story. Check out the interview below.

Rob Burnett:

  • 0:15 – Talks about his friendship with Tom Cavanagh and his son’s reaction to meeting The Flash team at Comic-Con
  • 1:15 – Reflects on learning about the news that his film would premiere at Sundance
  • 2:00 – He summarizes the movie and teases what audiences can expect
  • the-fundamentals-of-caring

    Image via Sundance

    2:55 – Talks about Paul Rudd joining the film and helping to secure financing

  • 3:15 – Elaborates further on getting Rudd onboard
  • 4:30 – Reveals how easy it was to collaborate with Rudd on camera and off
  • 5:25 – Talks about the short shooting schedule of 25 days in Atlanta in the winter
  • 6:45 – Burnett reveals his process of preparing for a shoot, from script to storyboard to screen
  • 8:55 – Reveals the length of his first cut versus the final runtime
  • 9:45 – Comments on the early screenings of the film at its roughest stages to try to find a tonal balance
  • 10:45 – Calls upon his experience on Late Show with David Letterman for finding the humor and the heart in the movie
  • 11:45 – Comments on what scenes and footage hit the cutting-room floor during editing
  • 13:50 – Talks about Jonathan Evison’s source material and what drew him to it
  • 15:50 – Comments on his maturity in filmmaking earned over the years
  • 18:00 – Compares independent filmmaking to a downhill skiing run
  • 19:25 – Recalls a time on Late Show with David Letterman during which he had an “out-of-body experience”

Image via Annette Brown / Sundance

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