When you think Joe Swanberg, movies like Uncle Kent and Hannah Takes The Stairs immediately come to mind – incredibly independent efforts that helped launch a “mumblecore” movement with the help of similar filmmakers like the Duplass brothers. He’s since gone on to create films like Drinking Buddies, boasting a much grander scope, but its his new film Digging For Fire that could be the filmmaker’s most cinematic departure yet.
Directed by Swanberg, based off a screenplay written with actor buddy Jake Johnson, plot details have been hush-hush to this point, so I decided to find out why that was during a press interview for Happy Christmas. After revealing that filming had concluded on the project, I asked if he could comment on the kind of story his fans could expect.
This is what Swanberg had to say about Digging For Fire:
Joe Swanberg: It’s a love story about a husband and wife, Jake Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt. I’m still wrapping my brain around it, so that’s the most I can say with assurance now. It’s about the pleasures and pains of building a family with someone, and maintaining the excitement of a relationship over a long period of time. It’s in line with the work I’ve been doing recently, but Ben Richardson and I, on a technical end, really pushed ourselves to make something more cinematic. Jake Johnson and I tried to tap into more theatrical storytelling. On the filmmaking end we’ve just been more ambitious. It’s a much bigger movie in some ways.
From what it sounds like, Digging For Fire will be the most Hollywood-esque movie in Sawnberg’s catalog to date. While Richardson is a returning Drinking Buddies alum, where he served as cinematographer, it’s his work on the gorgeous Oscar nominee Beasts Of The Southern Wild that makes him a perfect candidate for bringing a more “theatrical feel” to Swanberg’s work. It sounds like the only difference will be how the director and company capture Digging For Fire, as a relationship drama between Johnson and DeWitt sounds comfortably reminiscent to Drinking Buddies and Happy Christmas.
Starring – here we go – Johnson, DeWitt, Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Melanie Lynskey, Sam Elliott, Mike Birbiglia, and a slew of other familiar faces, Digging For Fire is showing a healthy amount of ambition. Swanberg is pushing himself outside of a grounded, gritty comfort zone in favor of a more mature, mainstream-friendly type of offering – showcasing an even wider range than expected.
We’ll keep you up to date as we learn more about Digging For Fire, but in the meantime, you can get your Joe Swanberg fix by watching Happy Christmas, available on all VOD platforms right now!