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TIFF Preview: First-Time Writer-Director Josh Boone Talks 'Writers,' Starring Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly and Lily Collins

by Beth Hanna
August 9, 2012 6:45 AM
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Lily Collins and Greg Kinnear in "Writers"
Lily Collins and Greg Kinnear in "Writers"

"Writers," directed by first-time feature filmmaker Josh Boone, will have its world premiere in the Special Presentations section of TIFF 2012. Greg Kinnear stars as a successful writer estranged from his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly) and coping with his kids' coming-of-age: 19-year-old daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) is already celebrating her first book publication, though her love life isn't quite so functional, and 16-year-old son Rusty (Nat Wolff) is in the throes of a troubled first relationship.

"Writers" co-stars Kristen Bell, Logan Lerman and Stephen King (as himself), and was shot on location in beach town Wilmington, North Carolina.

TOH! sat down for a short phone interview with Boone. Highlights from the conversation below.

On being a first-time writer-director:

"The script was pretty autobiographical, as far as my parents' divorce. I tell people that the script is like my hope chest -- I put everything in there that I believe and care about... I tried to write something really personal, so that I could actually sit down in a room with people and make a very solid case for why it had to be me who was directing it. I couldn't probably make, as a first-time director, a good argument for why I'm the guy to direct a horror movie or a sci-fi movie, but I felt that if I really filled the script with personal things, then I could make a good case [for directing 'Writers']."

On lucking out with casting:

"I was very, very lucky. Jennifer Connelly is literally --  for year and years -- my favorite actress, I still can't believe that I got to work with her. Stephen King was a god to me when I was a kid, and I got to work with him in this. We got original music by Bright Eyes, one of my favorite bands... I met Lily Collins very early in the process. We had a phone conversation while she was shooting 'Mirror Mirror,' and she came after this role for probably six months."

On working with Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly:

"It was like summer camp. All these actors, especially Greg and Jennifer, contributed so much to scenes and to their characters... There's three major scenes where [Kinnear and Connelly] are together in the movie... For one of the last scenes we did, I brought a version of it to them and we went through it, and Jennifer and Greg both came up with ideas that -- the scene's still the same scene -- but the ideas that they brought to it did major plot things for their characters that told the story better and resolved the situation between them that I definitely couldn't have done without all their experience."

The Woody Allen influence:

"'Hannah and Her Sisters' is one of my favorite movies, and I used that as a structural stepping stone to figure out how to structure the movie, and how to tell multiple stories, because we tell [the film's story] over the course of a year... This is very much in the mold of a Woody Allen film, there's a lot of talking. It's really actor-based and character-driven. So the focus was always on the camera being there to support the actors, and not the other way around."


  • Eric | August 9, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    Nice Interview! However as a HUGE Greg Kinnear fan I noticed one problem, you said "Oscar winners Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly" Greg never won an Oscar he was however nominated one year

  • Beth Hanna | August 9, 2012 5:42 PM

    @Eric -- Good catch, thanks. It's been changed.

  • Win | August 9, 2012 9:43 AMReply

    Nice interview. Sounds like a great project. Noticed he was a first-time director-writer when the TIFF line-up was announced and wondered how he landed such a gig with a well-known cast. Major kudos to him that it is opening at TIFF.

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