Matthew Ritchie speaks to Michael Dowse about his follow-up to Goon, romantic comedy The F Word which premieres at Toronto.
Coming off the success of the Golden Box Office Award-winning hockey comedy Goon, Canadian filmmaker Michael Dowse was ready for a change.
So when he got word that screenwriter Elan Mastai’s film adaptation of the popular T.J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi play Toothpaste and Cigars had left Fox Searchlight, he jumped at the chance to help bring it north of the border.
Retitled The F Word, the romantic-comedy tells the story of a young twenty-something (Daniel Radcliffe) who falls for a girl (Zoe Kazan) at a party, only to discover she’s in a serious relationship.
The film, which has its world premiere at TIFF today, is being sold by eOne (international) and UTA (US). eOne has Canadian rights.
What made you decide to film a romantic comedy after Goon?
It’s kind of a reaction, actually. Goon was a very confident, sort of in-your-face violent movie and I wanted to do something completely different as a director. I obviously wanted to keep it close to what I’m comfortable doing in terms of comedy, but I wanted to try and tap into a different side of emotion. That was a challenge. I also wanted to make something that was a little bit quieter of a film.
Why did you cast Daniel Radcliffe as the lead?
I met with him and really liked his sense of humour. With the character, it’s a tough thing to cast and you don’t want somebody that is such an obvious choice for the lead, because then you can kind of lose the tension of the movie. I thought Dan just had such a great sense of humour and was the kind of person that people could get behind and root for. He’s just such a great person and that really shines through in the comedy.
What do you think it is about the storyline that really connects with people?
I think so many people can relate to being the friend. I think it’s a common story where a lot of women have been in one of those situations where they have a guy who they become close with who isn’t their significant other and they question it. And I think every guy has been in that situation where they harbor feelings for a girl who they’re quote-unquote “friends” with.
Everybody can relate to that situation and I think it’s a very simple but powerful love story that everybody understands.
How do you think premiering at TIFF helps Canadian films in the long run?
It’s just the place to sell it as a Canadian film. If you have a good film, it provides you with the platform to sell it, and no other festival in the world provides that same platform. The crowds are fantastic and they couldn’t be more supportive. So in terms of tipping the scale in your favour as a filmmaker or producer, Toronto is just fantastic for that because you get the home crowd advantage. That’s everything.