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SXSW '12 Interview: 'Frankie Go Boom' Director Jordan Roberts On The Inspiration Behind Putting Ron Perlman In A Dress

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 13, 2012 at 1:57PM

We weren't sure what to expect of "Frankie Go Boom," the sophomore directorial feature from director Jordan Roberts. There were the helmer's diverse previous credits, from directing ensemble dramedy "Around The Bend," which starred Christopher Walken, Michael Caine and Josh Lucas, to writing the narration for the hit documentary "March of the Penguins." Then there was the film itself: with cast members like Chris O'Dowd and Lizzy Caplan, it seemed like it could be a post-Apatow comedy, but then came that teaser poster, of Ron Perlman in a dress. What on Earth was this thing?
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Frankie Go Boom Posters Hunnam Perlman

We weren't sure what to expect of "Frankie Go Boom," the sophomore directorial feature from director Jordan Roberts. There were the helmer's diverse previous credits, from directing ensemble dramedy "Around The Bend," which starred Christopher Walken, Michael Caine and Josh Lucas, to writing the narration for the hit documentary "March of the Penguins." Then there was the film itself: with cast members like Chris O'Dowd and Lizzy Caplan, it seemed like it could be a post-Apatow comedy, but then came that teaser poster, of Ron Perlman in a dress. What on Earth was this thing?

As it turns out, a pretty decent little comedy, about the fallout when recovering addict Bruce (O'Dowd) films the fumbling one-night-stand between his brother Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) and the heartbroken daughter (Lizzy Caplan) of a coke-addled movie star (Chris Noth). The film premiered at SXSW this week, where our man James Rocchi called it "bright and warm," a comedy with more heart than you'd expect. But perhaps most interesting is that the story is borne out of some very real life experiences Roberts had.

"I had two brothers. One passed away, he was a heroin addict, he died 25 years ago. He was very much like the character of Bruce, in that he was a crazed lunatic with a giant heart. He was a criminal, but he was a big-hearted criminal, he was a dope fiend, but he was a loving dope fiend. And that's what I wanted to bring to the character of Bruce. I also had a brother who is now my sister, and she transitioned five or six years ago and Ron Perlman plays her, basically. Both of my siblings are represented in the movie," he explained.

Playlister Aaron Hillis managed to find some time in Austin to sit down with Roberts, a former actor-turned-playwright and director who should gain a lot more attention with his film, and the pair discussed his exceptional cast, the autobiographical origins of the project, and his road to SXSW. Roberts also revealed his desire to make a romantic comedy and his playful rivalry with "Successful Alcoholics" director Jordan Vogt-Roberts over their name. You can listen to and download the interview below.

This article is related to: SXSW Film Festival, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Frankie Go Boom, Jordan Roberts, Ron Perlman, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Charlie Hunnam


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