With his latest film Like Crazy, Drake Doremus takes a stab at a truth that still stands regardless of how many times it is said - love is tough. Co-writing a screenplay with Ben York Jones, his fourth film (but arguable breakout) tells the story of a young couple (played by Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones) as they struggle with the many obstacles to a relationship, which include distance, fidelity, and time. I sat down with Doremus to discuss what type of genre he thinks his film fits in to, his thoughts on the ending, what his favorite blockbuster movie is, and more.
One thing that has always interested me in films is texting, and how certain movies try to show the process of texting. Your technique was very natural.
Drake Doremus: I just wanted the audience to feel like they were there inside those texts, and they were with those moments. I didn't want to put any tricks or do anything that was stylistic. I wanted to present it as naturalistic as possible. It kind of sucks, but it's kind of amazing at the same time. I really wanted to portray the sort of positive elements about it, and the negative elements of them.
Why did you choose to end the film where you did?
Just so I can charge more money, and so people will come see the sequel.
What is the sequel going to be?
I don't know. It's going to be me trying to wrangle these kids when they are huge giant mega movie stars, and have forgotten who I am.
Is it going to be like 'The Way We Were'?
Yes, exactly. I think, without giving too much away, I think that is the arc of the relationship, whether you believe it is one thing or the other. It really is the arc of what happens to these two people.
I think it's also like, we don't want to see the happiness of a relationship, we want some sort of conflict. And do you feel like sharing that (the two characters in the film) stay together?
I think it's up to the audience.
How much catharsis does making a movie like this provide? Does it provide more questions or more answers?
It's funny. When I was making the movie I was thinking more about that, but it's actually being in sharing the movie with audiences and hearing people talking about their relationships. It's really inspiring to hear that we're all in this together as human beings - love is tough. Relationships are gray, distance is difficult. As human beings, I think why the movie is connected in such a broader sense, is because it's something we all go through. When we were making the film, we didn't understand that fully. But once we started sharing the film, once we started screening at Sundance, it was like, "Wait a minute here, there's a greater connection, about what this film is about than we ever imagined."
Are you saying that Q&A's people would have stories?
People would just come up to me all the time after screenings and they want to talk to me about their personal problems, or say they just called their loved ones, or just texted their ex-boyfriend in the bathroom.
What's the weirdest thing you've heard?
Someone told me that their girlfriend can't come back in the United States, because she's Canadian but she got a DUI. They are going back and forth, and having a hell of a time. I guess it's not strange, it's unique.
Unique - this whole visa problem [in the film], we haven't really seen before. And that makes the long distance in the movie even more powerful.
It's like the "money chase genre," like Rat Race and It's A Mad, Mad, World. It's like "the visa genre." This is the "visa genre."
Have you seen the movie The Freebie?
I have not, but I know Katie [Aselton, the director], and I know Mark. I've been meaning to check it out.
It brings up the same question as to whether fidelity is natural. It's like something that someone said to me once - that human beings are the only creatures who celebrate monogamy. I'd like to think that fidelity is a natural part of our being. What do you think?
I think it's a very interesting concept, but it all depends on being with the right person. If you're with one person and you're supposed to be with that person, but if you're not supposed to be, you won't be that way. I think so many people get locked into situations where they should be, because they're not with the right person.
So fidelity with Sam's character [played by Jennifer Lawrence] is not natural because ...
Well, it's a gray area. They're in a relationship, but they're not in a relationship. They're in a marriage, but they're not a marriage. It's on, it's off. I think at a certain point, the scene that you don't see in the movie, is when Jacob and Anna agree to see other people when they're not together.
Did you film that scene?
No, I didn't find it to be important. They do have that conversation where they're talking about seeing other people, but that to me feels forced. I wanted the audience to deduce, "Okay, now they've agreed to see other people." They certainly know about it. Like [Anna] says later in the film, "Why are you still talking to her? I thought you ended things with her?"
A lot of movies of this type have shouting matches [between people in a relationship]. Your movie has one [in the kitchen]. Did that come from you? Or your relationships?
The way I see relationships, and what's special about them, are the quiet moments. Nuanced looks, and the subtleties. It's not about the loud, banging pots and pans. I really wanted [Like Crazy] to be a lyrically quiet film. Where no one in the theater can talk, or else they'll miss things. Those types of films are the ones that I had ended up being inspired by ... Breaking the Waves, though it has some shouting in it, and Y Tu Mama Tambien were really inspirational when going into make Like Crazy.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Omelet with mushroom and cheddar, and some fruit. Here. It was very good. Normally, I don't eat anything.
Favorite fruit? Pineapple.
If you could be someone for 24 hours, and go back to being yourself, who would you be? I love the impediment of this. Twenty-four hours only. I'd be an NHL player. I'd be Corey Perry for a day.
Big hockey fan? Big, big hockey fan. I guess for your area I should say Patrick Kane. I'll be Jonathan Toews.
Favorite summer blockbuster? Oh god. That's a good question. I'm going to have to go with The Fifth Element. It's a love story at its core. No one ever picks that. The Fifth Element is such a solid blockbuster. It's such a solid blockbuster! It's a silly campy action movie, but at it's core, it's like, "Save the day, but at the end, love is worth saving." And that's what so cool about the movie.
Age of first kiss? Actual kiss? It has to be a full-on. Probably when I was in high school. I was fifteen?