Some Girls

neil-labute-2

The protagonist of Some Girl(s) is as cringe-inducing as some of playwright Neil LaBute‘s most famous stories. From The Shape of Things and In The Company of Men to (last but not least) The Wicker Man, LaBute has a natural ability to dig under the skin of an audience. He often shows us worlds and characters that are far from pleasant, leading to films and plays which are not the most easily digestible, depending on your sense of humor and threshold for conventionally unlikable characters. LaBute doesn’t use that brand of character to annoy an audience, but to take them on a ride to new places. For some, that ride isn’t one they want to go on, and he has been the target of some heated criticism and outright name calling. The film of his play Some Girl(s), which he adapted himself for director Daisy von Scherler Mayer, doesn’t shock the audience in the way some expect from LaBute, but it has been met with some familiar reactions. I spoke with LaBute when the film premiered at South by Southwest this year, and that was an extensive conversation about his process as a writer and storytelling in general. This time around we discussed the reactions his work tends to draw. Even after an hour in total of interviewing him this year, there’s still plenty of ground to be covered, but for now here’s another round with the writer.

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review some girls

Editor’s Note: Our review of Some Girl(s) originally ran during this year’s SXSW, but we’re running it again as the film opens in limited theatrical release starting June 28, 2013. Any fan of playwright/screenwrtier/filmmaker Neil LaBute‘s honest depictions of cringe-inducing narcissism will be pleased by Some Girl(s). LaBute’s last few films – The Wickerman, Death at a Funeral, and Lakeview Terrace – have shown him going outside his comfort zone with varying results. Some Girl(s), which LaBute scripted (but didn’t direct) from his play of the same name, marks the theatrical return of the LaBute we love. His greatest works often resemble a car crash in motion with the driver smiling through every ding, bone crush, and bump while the victims are left with serious pain. The driver here is simply credited as “Man” and played by Adam Brody. The victims are a few of Man’s ex-girlfriends, all of whom feature distinct personalities and past issues with him. There is the older woman (Emily Watson) he had an affair with, a young girl (Zoe Kazan) he took advantage of, the High School girlfriend (Jennifer Morrison), the tattooed Chicago girl (Mia Maestro) who made him feel cool and the final girl is played by Kristen Bell. He’s doing all this to right any wrongs before marrying his newest girl.

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LaBute

Playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker Neil LaBute‘s stories aren’t for the faint of heart. They can be grueling in their dark humor, awkwardness and characters who will go as far as they have to for their own gain. Some Girl(s), which LaBute scripted from his own stage play, recently made its premiere at SXSW and sits comfortably in the gut-punching world his fans have come to love. The lead of the film, the Man (Adam Brody), is a selfish, narcissistic writer who isn’t afraid of embarrassing others with his stories. According to LaBute, he himself isn’t that kind of man, and none of his personal life sneaks into his work. The writer and director of In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things, and others creates from his imagination, choosing not to pirate from his own life or others. When we see the protagonist of Some Girl(s) doing so, it makes for an annoyingly oblivious character, but as LaBute tells us, he never sets out to annoy the audience with his conniving. The writer of Some Girl(s) was kind enough to speak with us at great length about those uncomfortable stories he’s famous for, how The Wickerman isn’t based on his life, and more about his process:

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sxsw anticipated

SXSW 2013 begins in a couple days, and we couldn’t be more excited. By “we,” I mean FSR founder, publisher and beard-model Neil Miller, professional interviewer and lanky ladies man Jack Giroux, and myself. We’ll be descending on Austin this Friday to take in as much festival film-going, socializing and Alamo Drafthouse food as we possibly can. Of course we’re excited to see movies too. A lot of movies. And to give you an idea of what we’re most looking forward to film-wise the three of us have each listed our five most anticipated films of SXSW 2013 below.

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Here’s a tip, indie producers, cast Zoe Kazan in anything and I’ll buy a ticket. Toss in Jake Johnson and I’m convinced someone cast this film out of my dreams. Deadline Portland reports that Kazan and Johnson will star in Jenee LaMarque‘s Black List script, The Pretty One, which was also a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship and Zoetrope screenplay contest. LaMarque will also make her directorial debut with the project, which is billed as an “offbeat comedy” that centers on Kazan’s as an “awkward but loveable young woman who is mistaken for her dead ‘perfect’ identical twin, and seizes the chance to masquerade as her sister. But when she falls in love with her twin’s eccentric next door neighbor, she finds herself wanting to live her own imperfect life, and have the truth come out.” Oh, man, sounds wacky! But also lovable…and possibly eccentric. There’s nothing quite like a good mistaken identity romantic comedy, and I’m sure the film will be rife with all sorts of missteps, awkward moments, and near-misses until some big, emotional reveal. Though that all sounds like standard stuff, the heaps of praise that the film’s script has received, along with this rising star cast, hint that perhaps we’re in for a surprise treat. Consider my ticket bought.

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Just on the heels of the announcement that Kristen Bell had signed on to be the first of Adam Brody’s many ex-girlfriends in Some Girls, THR has a report that a whole bevy of additional actresses have come out of the woodwork to fill out the ranks of Brody’s former flames. You see, Some Girls is an adaptation of a Neil LaBute play about a young writer who is looking to take stock of his past romantic entanglements and gain closure with each of his exes before he moves forward in his life and marries his current fiancée. Bell is said to be playing a character named Bobbi, a whip-smart little lady who Brody’s character walked away from without so much as a word. And with this new casting announcement, it’s looking like the Jennifer Getzinger-directed film version of this story will be including four other girls that have a bone to pick with the reflective protagonist as well. The biggest name of the bunch is Emily Watson, who will be playing a married woman named Lindsay who Brody’s character had an affair with. Watson has had a whole bunch of great roles before this, but she’s probably best known for her Oscar nominated performances in Breaking the Waves and Hilary and Jackie. To say that she adds some pedigree to this production would be something of an understatement.

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A couple months ago it was reported that The OC’s Adam Brody was attached to star in an adaptation of a Neil LaBute play called Some Girls. To be helmed by Mad Men and Flight of the Conchords director Jennifer Getzinger, and shot from a screenplay by LaBute himself, Some Girls is one of those naval-gazing relationship stories about a character taking stock of their romantic history. In this case, said character is a writer who feels like he has to get closure with his ex-girlfriends before he can enter into a marriage with his current fiancée. That means flying all across the country to track these girls down and get a little of the old face-to-face. And, for this movie, it means a need to cast a gaggle of young actresses. So far, Getzinger and company seem to be off to a good start. THR reports that the first female member of the Some Girls cast has been signed, and it’s none other than Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell. Reportedly, Bell will be playing a character named Bobbi, a super-smart girl that Brody’s character walked out on years earlier without a word. Predictably, she doesn’t have a very high opinion of him these days.

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Over the past decade, Adam Brody has carved out a nice little career while no one was looking. His future carvings include Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress with Greta Gerwig as well as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which made our Most Anticipated of 2012. Not bad at all. Now, according to Variety, Brody is set to star in a film adaptation of the Neil LaBute play “Some Girls.” The story focuses on a guy named Guy (how’s that for gender politics?) who sets out to talk to the most important exes in his life before getting married. It’s prime LaBute territory, and with the prolific playwright behind the pen for the script, it promises to be as grueling and affectingly human as the rest of his work. In that sense, it might be a trial by fire for Brody, who’s proven himself to be capable (and to be one of the best things about Thank You For Smoking), but hasn’t proven that he has what it takes to be truly great. This might be that crucible. And leading the firing squad is director Jennifer Getzinger – the veteran script supervisor who’s directed episode of The Big C, Flight of the Conchords and Mad Men.

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