Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Director Lorene Scafaria Reveals How 'Life Is Beautiful' Influenced 'Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World' & More About The Film

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 20, 2012 at 9:58AM

There won't be any comedy arriving in theaters this summer boasting a higher concept than "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World." The story begins with a few weeks left to go before life on planet Earth is wiped out by an asteroid, and follows an unlikely pair -- Dodge and Penny -- as they head out on a road trip, so he can reunite with his high school sweetheart. And while comedies generally don't come in this kind of packaging, writer and director Lorene Scafaria rounded up one helluva cast to help her tell the tale.
1

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World Keira Knightley
The unlikely influence of "Life Is Beautiful"
Being a film that touches on both apocalypse and relationships, perhaps it's not a surprise that Scafaria drew on a wide range of influences as she was penning the film. "There's a film called 'Happy Accidents' that nobody's ever seen that has this high concept time travel thing through it, it's a dark romantic comedy and I sort of love that idea. 'Defending Your Life' was another one that was huge for me, I just love that film so much," she said. "There's a Swedish film called 'Songs from the Second Floor' that was pretty inspiring. And there's this Paul Auster novel that I love, 'In the Country of Last Things' and so I took from that a lot for concept, but I'd say comedically, I mean even movies like 'Annie Hall' or 'Manhattan.' It's not like they end happily ever after, you know what I mean? And yet there's something so relatable and sweet and uplifting about that."

However, the most unlikely inspiration was from a film that Scafaria had Carell and Knightley watch to get a better idea of the kind of balance she was trying to achieve. "I gave them 'Life is Beautiful' to watch because that to me is sort of magic realism and what could be darker than the Holocaust and what could be more uplifting than a father just trying to get his son through something? So that film to me was a huge inspiration in terms of wow, how did Roberto Benigni capture that? How was he able to do that? And move so smoothly, I thought, from this romantic world that it starts in with him and his woman and then it turns into this whole world and now you're here and it's the same character in that environment. So how does that person handle it? So I just loved that."

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World Keira Knightley
Lorene Scafaria is thrilled that female comedies and stories are back on the map, but hopes it's not just a passing fad
With a certain ensemble comedy last summer doing huge numbers and riding its way through the awards season too, and a certain recent HBO show receiving equal acclaim, many are calling it the renaissance of the female-driven comedy. And while Scafaria is thrilled to see her colleagues succeed, she hopes that the moment isn't just that and marks a new understanding about material conceived by and for women. 

"...I do think it's having a moment. It's a shame that it's a genre. It's a shame that female anything is so unique that it's a genre and 'Bridesmaids' is an amazing example of that obviously because it's such a good script. But it’s become that anything you pitch has to be 'Bridesmaids' meets something, you know? If it has a girl in it you can say 'Bridesmaids' now because there's been something that's been proven to work that's relatable and good, but I do think it's a sham that it's a genre at this point. The same way that you go see comedy and they couldn't possibly book more then one female comedian without it being female comic night. And so that is sort of strange to me and yet I'll take it," Scafaria said. " 'The New Girl' and 'Girls' getting all of this attention, I guess why I'm excited is, I think it's great that female writers and directors are getting more attention and opportunities or whatever it might be. But the real problem all of these years has been that female stories don't get that attention."

"But it takes someone like Lena Dunham who has such a voice, also. It's these unique voices that seem to get through one way or another," she added. "Someone like her, so young and amazing and to be able to tell a story about a girl that is so unique and yet every moment is very relatable. I hope that it stays that way and doesn’t just seem like a fad. Like 'the year of the girl' -- I feel like every five or six years people say it's the year of the girl and I wish we could get a whole decade sometime."

This article is related to: Lorene Scafaria, Seeking A Friend For The End of The World


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates