It’s been over ten years since director Kirk Jones arrived on these shores, helping to keep the wave of British comedies started with The Fully Monty alive with his own comedy Waking Ned Devine. After a brief foray into the world of Nanny McPhee, Jones’ new movie Everybody’s Fine, based on Guiseppe (Cinema Paradiso) Tomatore’s 1990 film Stanno tuti Benne, teams him with acting legend Robert De Niro as Frank, a lonely widower so worried about his grown-up kids, played by Sam Rockwell, Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore, that he goes on a road trip to pay a surprise visit to each and every one of them. It’s the type of warm but humorous filmmaking we’ve seen from Jones before, but for De Niro, it was a very different side of the veteran actor.
If you’re grown up enough to have left home, it’s a movie that will immediately make you want to call your parents, and though it’s not so much the Christmas movie the ads might make it seem, it is a great movie to see with your family, because it does help make you appreciate everything about them that much more. (On a more personal side, the first time this writer saw Waking Ned Devine, it was with his father in Brazil of all places, and he was very glad to have a chance to spend time with him shortly after seeing Jones’ movie for the first time.)
In the following exclusive CS Video interview with Kirk Jones, we talked about:
* How this project ended up on Jones’ plate and why he wanted to remake it
* Talking about how a young guy like Jones might want to do a movie about an older character like Robert De Niro’s Frank*
* Casting Robert De Niro against type to play Frank
* Casting Frank’s kids i.e. Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore and Kate Beckinsale
* Whether he could see De Niro playing Frank
* The challenges of making a road movie
* If there was anything in the original movie he wanted to recapture or retain
* If there were any thoughts about setting the film in England
* Whether he could see connections with his earlier film
* How everyone feels that De Niro reminds them of their own father
*Another strange coincidental aside, we asked Jones about a movie from last year called Last Chance Harvey, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, who happened to be the star of Nanny McPhee, which Jones directed, so there’s even more of an interesting connection between those two movies and their British directors.
Everybody’s Fine opens nationwide on Friday, December 4.