Good On Paper Interview: Director Kimmy Gatewood Talks Netflix Comedy

Based on a mostly true story written by star and comedian Iliza Shlesinger, Good on Paper is a romantic drama that is directed by Kimmy Gatewood in her feature debut. The cast is rounded out by Ryan Hansen, Margaret Cho, and Rebecca Rittenhouse. Netflix will release the film on Wednesday, June 23.

“Andrea Singer always put her stand-up career first, and while dating came easy, love wasn’t a priority… that is until she meets Dennis, a quirky nerd with disarming charm who coaxes her into letting her guard down,” reads the official synopsis. “Her best friend Margot isn’t convinced he’s all he seems and she urges Andrea to embark on a wild goose chase to uncover who Dennis really is.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief spoke with director Kimmy Gatewood about what drew her to the project, getting to work with comedians, and more. Check out the full video interview or read the full transcript below.

Tyler Treese: This was your directorial debut. So I’m always interested to hear that anything goes smoother than expected. Were there some unexpected difficulties? How did filming go?

Kimmy Gatewood: I’ve been directing a variety of projects for a very long time. Um, and, uh, this was just the, uh, the next step. I directed an interactive series a couple of years ago, and that was probably one of the more challenging things. You had to direct not only the actual narrative storyline but all of the possibilities. So honestly, directing one storyline felt like a walk in the park.

What attracted you to this project in particular?

Well, I really like Iliza. I like that it’s based on a true story. Early directing days, I would work with standup comedians and storytellers on their stories and develop them live on stage for their one-person shows. So this feels like the next logical step in terms of just being able to do it on a bigger platform and I love working with writer-performers. I’m a writer-performer. I think that you have to really give a lot to yourself and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. To be able to tell this story for lots of people, you have to think about a lot of things. So to be that person that could help pull out the truth, but also when to bend it and when to keep it exactly true is part of the fun challenge of that.

You got to work with some great comedians. Obviously, Iliza’s great in the lead role. Margaret Cho is fantastic as the sidekick. How great is it that, especially with Iliza being the screenwriter, these people know their roles, they’re professionals? How great of an asset is that when you’re filming?

When you work with awesome actors and comedians, like I did, it makes the directing part an absolute joy. You can focus on letting providing a space to let them be hilarious and funny and worry about my job, which is to make sure that the bigger story is being told. So, It’s really fun because part of the fun about being on set, especially with comedians and in a comedy, is to find the parts that are unexpected and what the characters would do based on the set that you’re in. Basically the costume you’re wearing. So they’re already awesome actors, so then we can start to have fun beyond just what’s on the page. So we had a great time.

This is based on a true story and it deals with a lot of real issues in society that are interesting. The fakeness of personas that are put on and people dealing with insecurity and how there are different ways to go about it. Can you talk a little bit about those themes and how you didn’t have a cartoonish villain or anything? It’s somebody making bad choices and dealing with an issue that everybody has.

Yeah. One of the themes that I was really interested in digging into is that of perception, so you definitely grabbed onto that. That’s how we perceive ourselves, how we perceive each other, especially in Andrea’s character and her competitiveness with Serrena played by Rebecca Rittenhouse beautifully. A villain like Dennis could not just be, you couldn’t just write him off. There’s a reason that she fell in love with them, and there’s a reason that he got away with so much. So I was interested in exploring that for sure. And exploring how Andrea could get to that place. I think a lot of it is how we present ourselves outwardly, how we see ourselves. Especially with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, how we see perceive other people’s lives. But then we would go behind the curtain and see how they actually live. Like every Instagram mom, definitely with their joyous leaf throwing on their child, but there was definitely a moment where she was like, “Shut up, Hank. and just take the picture!”