His latest comedic effort, the third in a trilogy of mainstream comedies, is his second film of 2011, the 20th Century Fox comedy, “The Sitter” starring Jonah Hill, Sam Rockwell and Ari Graynor. In the vein of ‘80s films like “Adventures In Babysitting,” “Risky Business,” and even “After Hours,” his latest is about a college student on suspension (Hill) who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door and is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him that includes drug dealers, coke runs, thefts, and altercations of every kind. Green is curating a selection of his influential ‘80s films at BAM this week (it also includes “Something Wild” and “Uncle Buck”) and so last night Brooklyn audiences were treated to an early look at “The Sitter,” which opens this Friday, December 9th.
“You know the movie I made right before this was entirely self-indulgent,” he said last night to the audience, referring to his ludicrous medieval stoner comedy, “Your Highness.” “It was an entirely self-indulgent dream project for the 11-year-old in me and we made it relentlessly like that in a way that a very small group of people wanted to see. Maybe you guys saw it, but not many others did.” (The film bombed, only taking in $24 million worldwide).
At 81 minutes, the film might feel neutered to some, but Green said all the pruning he did was his own. Especially after test screenings with a one hour and forty-five minute version that bored audiences and took all the momentum out of the picture. “The joy for me as a filmmaker is not only the process of working with actors, or telling a story, but it’s engaging an audience,” he said. “And if you’re not engaging audiences in a comedy, you know it, quick, and it sucks. So as self-indulgent as much I do proclaim to be in a lot of different ways, as much as I want to make movies for me, part of me is wanting to enjoy a movie with a great audience that takes the ride.”
Green said the eventual DVD will have at least one version that is eight minutes longer and potentially some really crazy deleted scenes. One is a scene where the main antagonist drug dealer, played by a hilariously off-the-wall Sam Rockwell, breaks down and cries for no good reason and then is comforted by a female body builder. Another is a very dramatic and dark version on a scene where Jonah Hill and his estranged father (played by Bruce Altman) have a showdown that ends in tears and fierce expletives. As great as that scene is -- and Green says it’s beyond the dramatic chops that Hill evinced in “Moneyball” or “Cyrus” – he said it unfortunately just killed the tone of the film. “It’s an amazing performance between the two of them in this dark, broken father-son relationship, beyond the script, and it got creepy and awesome,” he laughed. “But that’s not even something that we test screened because you know an audience isn’t going to recover from something that gets that dark and honest like that in a comedy. You just can’t have a scene in [this version of the film] with Jonah with a tear in his eye saying, ‘You’re a motherfucker of a father.’ Which is awesome, but you’ll see it on the DVD.”
“The Sitter” hits theaters in wide release tomorrow.