I tried to think of another way to introduce Dan Mazer other than the typical, ‘you might not know his name, but you’ve heard of his films’ bit – I really did. Unfortunately, that’s probably the best way to go about it.
Dan Mazer, like many directors, is ultimately best known for what he’s created over the years. Mazer has brought us hilarious comedies like Borat, Bruno, and Ali G, and is now making us laugh once again with a story of “(un)happily ever after” in I Give It A Year.
As writer and director of the project, he definitely had a lot to say when we sat down with him for a roundtable interview in Los Angeles this past week. Besides being genuinely excited to be there and having a solid film to boast about, he had a lot to offer about the entire production process from starting to write the script through picture lock.
Check out the interview for yourself below, and please keep in mind that it does contain some spoilers.
It’s a very fantastic cast, how did you round them all together, and what drew them to this project?
Dan Mazer: I think what was interesting when I was casting this, what I wanted to do, was find lots of people who had – as opposed to going out and making lots of people read and audition – what I wanted was to find people who shared a sensibility, shared a sense of humor. Who if I sat down in a room with, I could have a fun conversation with, I could get on with, and would understand the movie. Essentially, I sent them the script, they read it initially probably because they liked my previous work and knew that I’d done Borat, and Bruno, Ali G, and those sorts of things, and they liked the script. I met them and wasn’t either offensive or racist, misogynistic, any of those things, malodorous – and they agreed to do it. It was an incredibly smooth process whereby all the people that I wanted for the parts said yes. It was kind of incredible.
Working Title has always had great comedies and I like the fact that you kind of brought that back because it’s been missing for a while.
Dan Mazer: Here’s the thing about marriage. It can be amazing, or it can be utterly, inconsolably miserable. Ultimately, what you need to do, I think, for a marriage, is to make sure that the love basically outweighs the hate because there are times when I hate my wife more than anyone else, but more often than not, I love her. Oddly, the message of this film is that marriage is a very odd institution and people, for whatever reason, feel compelled to stay in a marriage just because it’s marriage. And actually, if it’s not working you should cut your losses and not just feel duty-bound to stay in where you are because there’s a piece of paper that says you’re married. The idea is though, find the person that you should be with, and there is a person for someone, and this is a celebration of love, and a celebration of marriage, but it’s also saying be kind to yourself, and make the decision for the right reason.
The two characters played by Minnie Driver and Jason Flemying, their relationship cracks me up because they are outspoken and loudly hate each others guts, but then they’re also head over heals for each other. Do you think that’s what a healthy relationship should be?
Dan Mazer: You just have to go with whatever works to be honest, and if that’s what works for you, then you should embrace that. I know couples who are like that, and you think, “My god, why are you with each other, all you do is rile each other?” But they enjoy bickering, that’s the parameters in which their relationship functions. If that’s the case then enjoy that and go with that, because not everyone can be peaches and cream and sweet and nice to each other, that’s not their personality. If you have two kinda assertive people with each other then let them be assertive, if you have two laid-back people, let them be laid-back with each other. The truth is, there’s no textbook, stereotypical way to be married. You just have to do whatever works for you.
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