March 29, 2023

I wanted to shift over to talk about Jim Gaffigan. How did he come onboard this movie? He’s not exactly known for his dramatic work, so it seems like a surprising choice to have him be the lead of a movie like this.

Well, he may not be known for his dramatic work, but he’s certainly an incredible dramatic actor. He has been doing these dramatic roles for about 10 years now. He’s been building up this repertoire, and obviously people know him from his stand-up, but I think he has this real innocence to him, and [he has a] grounded melancholy that’s really expressed in this film, and is very poignant in person, even. But he’s a very real, honest person. There’s just no falsity with him. Immediately, when his name come up, it was very quickly like, “Oh yeah, Gaffigan, he would be incredible.” He actually came on pretty late in the process, but his team had read the film and pitched him to us, and he read the script and really liked it.

We had a conversation, and it’s funny, because you’ll talk to actors sometimes in the casting process, and they’ll be asking questions about it like, “Well, who is this character?” Stuff like that. I remember, the first time I talked to Jim, he hadn’t committed to the project yet, and he was already talking about these great ideas he had for it, and he was already contributing. I think Rhea Seehorn did the same thing. Both of them co-starring in this movie made for such a great dynamic, but he was a joy to work with. And of course, Rhea was too.

Speaking about the performances, when it comes to each of the main actors, since they’re playing the same characters at different ages, did you talk to them about emulating each other’s performances? Or is that something that you tried to keep separate so that way it didn’t really feel like they were playing off one another?

It just differed per actor. Because I think Jim and Rhea, who are like the linchpins to the other characters in the different time periods, they came in and performed on a moment-to-moment basis. So yes, there’s all of these metaphysics going on in the movie where you do have the same character talking to themselves in different time periods. So there’s this time travel aspect to it, and any time travel story leads to paradoxes. So we immediately tried to throw those out the window and just live in the moment of the scene, rather than it being too heady and thinking about, “Well, because I’m talking to this person, I should be like this.”

I think that as far as mimicry of the other actors, I do remember having many conversations with Katelyn Nacon and Gabriel Rush, who played the younger versions of [Jim and Rhea’s] characters in high school. They were immediately already drawing from those two. I think they just did it by gut anyway. So it was really pretty fascinating to see how they manipulated their own persona into hinting at these things. So yeah, it was a fun process.

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