Thomas Haden Church as Charlie with Toni Collette as Ellie: "I think he just riffs on what's there. It's extended rather than shifted."
Following the Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper - Adaptation & Creation panel with filmmakers Amy Berg, Adam Rapp, Stephen Belber and Megan Griffiths held at Barnes & Noble Union Square over Easter weekend, I spoke with Lucky Them director Griffiths about the mystery of her film. On the panel, she spoke about the roles Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward played in the making of her film.
Lucky Them director Megan Griffiths. Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Thomas Haden Church steals the show in Megan Griffiths' spirited comedy set in the world of Seattle music journalism and hankering for love stories past. Based in part on adventures in co-screenwriter Emily Wachtel's life, Toni Collette plays music journalist Ellie Klug who likes her whiskey straight and her life uncomplicated. The magazine she works for is in trouble and her boss Giles (Oliver Platt) forces Ellie to write about the famous musician Matthew Smith who mysteriously disappeared many years ago and also happened to be her ex- boyfriend.
Anne-Katrin Titze: You have a most unusual detective team in your film.
Megan Griffiths: We definitely wanted to play up this following a mystery and they are such inept detectives. Only by a sort of strike of inspiration does she ever figure it out. They are not really on the right track ever. They were funny to watch that way.
AKT: I interviewed Thomas Haden Church last year at Tribeca for Whitewash, where he was fantastic. You said in your film he changed some of the dialogue?
MG: I think he just riffs on what's there. It's extended rather than shifted. He started with the kernel that was in the script and then extended it outward into something that was much more interesting and layered and unique and strange.
Thomas Haden Church steals the show in Griffiths' spirited comedy set in the world of Seattle music journalism. Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
AKT: "I hate music - all music" was one of the best lines and believable.
Charlie (Haden Church) accompanies Ellie (Collette) into her grungy past, which isn't easy for him because he hates music, "all music." With only three minutes of footage and a lot of dead ends, including a Galago night monkey wedding gift surprise, the unlikely detective team keeps looking for a reclusive past that withdraws from being found.
MG: That actually was in the script. he has a moment where he is writing down something. And he says "there is a crispness to my writing that I enjoy". That's all him.
AKT: In Whitewash he had wonderful scenes in which he shoved food in his coat pockets very elegantly. Will all of the actors be here for the red carpet on Monday at the BMCC?
Griffiths enjoys showing us the particulars of Ellie's life and it doesn't feel like exposition though it might look a little ersatz. She lives in an apartment filled with albums and a creepy guy breaks up with her after three month of too casual an involvement, for his taste, so he says. When she hears Lucas (Ryan Eggold) playing his music on the street, he looks just right to be her next conquest and she throws her business card in his hat.
MG: Everybody's here. Toni [Collette], Tom [Haden Church], Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold and Nina Arianda. We're doing a red carpet and then they'll be there for a Q&A.
Tribeca Film Festival public screenings: April 21, 9:30pm – BMCC; April 23, 9:30pm – SVA Theater 1; April 26, 12:00pm – Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea