Stephen Belber has spent the last decade establishing himself as a playwright with high praise being heaped on his plays “Tape” (made into a film by Richard Linklater), “The Laramie Project” (turned into an HBO movie) and “Match.” Like many other playwrights before him, Belber decided to write something for the screen, and he had a short one-act play that seemed well-suited to expand into one, but rather than just writing it for another director, he decided to take the idea to fruition by making it his directorial debut. The result is Management.
Just by the fact that it co-stars Jennifer Aniston, you might immediately think you know what to expect from it, but then you throw in Steve Zahn as Mike Cranshaw, an introverted motel worker who makes an awkward play for Aniston’s Sue Claussen, when she stays at his motel, and you wind up with one of those rare romantic comedies that comes along from time to time that throws out all the formulas that have always worked so well in the genre. While you might think any character played by Aniston would be too sophisticated for a small town guy like Mike, he actually makes an impact on her, then falls hopelessly in love to the point where he starts chasing her across the country. Like we said, it’s not your typical romantic comedy, but one that shares a quirky aesthetic with Zach Braff’s Garden State, especially when Woody Harrelson enters the picture as Sue’s former punk yogurt mogul boyfriend, and Mike tries to find himself in Zen Buddhism and waiting at Chinese restaurants.
ComingSoon.net talked to Belber last week, not only about his film which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, but also about what he might do next, including a possible adaptation of his own stageplay Match, which would have Frank Langella reprising his role in it, much like he did in Ron Howard’s Oscar-nominated Frost/Nixon. You can watch our video interview below.
Management opens in select cities on Friday, May 15.