Sean Anders knows how to make a family comedy an absolute success. With films like We’re the Millers, Daddy’s Home, and Daddy’s Home 2 under his belt, he understands that in order to make movies like these memorable, a perfect balance of sharp, original writing and creative humor needs to be present in order to keep the audience engaged.
Anders nails that in his sweet, touching new movie Instant Family, which follows Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) and their struggles adapting to their three adopted children. Among other topics, Anders explores the ins and outs of raising various different ages of children without the self-proclaimed troubles of the dreaded infant and toddler years throughout the film.
What makes the film even more special is the fact it’s based almost entirely on Anders and his wife’s experience with their own adopted children. But how does a mildly bawdy comedy writer transition from a film like Sex Drive into crafting this love letter to his kids? And what other kinds of projects is he taking on that revolves around this central theme of family?
We discuss all that and more in our discussion with Anders, which picks up below:
How did the dynamic of creating a movie inspired by your own life work?
Well, it’s not only inspired by my family and my experience but also the experiences of a lot of other families that I’ve met along the way, so I never felt like Mark Wahlberg was playing me and I never felt like this was my life on the screen and that made it easier. We’re telling a fictional story that was inspired by my life.
But, on the other hand, virtually every emotion that they go through along the way, as well as several specific situations, were taken directly from my life. It was very emotional and kind of embarrassing because I would be behind the monitors just completely in tears.
Could you talk a little about the scene near the beginning of the film when we see the faces and the ages of the kids up for adoption on the screen?
That’s a very real moment because my story started the exact same way the family’s does in the movie. I made the joke that Mark Wahlberg makes in the movie and my wife thought it was kind of interesting and then we wound up looking at a website and you see the real faces of real kids. In that scene, when you see those pictures, those are pictures of real kids that were adopted from foster care, including my own.
How much of Pete and Ellie’s struggles relate to you and your wife’s experiences as a couple going through the process of adopting?
Almost all of it! It was tricky. Like I said before, there’s that transitional time that’s really hard and it can turn you against each other and it can just wear your patience thin and it makes you really question the choices that you’ve made. But then, once it starts to change and once the family starts to really fall in love with one another, it all becomes worth it. That stuff is all very real.
What is it about family that interests you so much as a filmmaker?
It’s just the most basic thing in the world. My writing partner John Morris and I both have families—he has two kids, I have three kids—and being dads is just such a huge part of our lives. I also think my own family that I come from has always influenced me, even going back to the Adam Sandler movie That’s My Boy that I did. When we got involved with that, the thing that appealed to me was the father-son story, which is something I really wanted to do. There’s some element of family in almost everything that we do and there probably always will be.
Do you plan on tackling any other genres of film in the near future?
We’re producing a horror movie right now that we’re hoping is going to start production soon. We’ve also been working on a thriller that is almost like one of those 90s thrillers and it’s something that we’ve been talking about for a while and I’ve been wanting to do a big adventure movie for a long time. We’re looking to branch out into a lot of different areas.
How do you think your experiences as a comedic filmmaker will influence your work on something like a thriller?
I think that there will be an element of humor to everything that I will ever probably do. There’s an element of humor in every aspect of my life. It’s interesting because we’ve done a lot of big, physical comedy—a lot of broad, crazy things—and I think a lot of people tend to write that stuff off as just silliness or whatever. But it’s actually really fun to construct a big, physical comedic set piece and I think of it as kind of like a fight scene from a kung-fu movie because it has to have a premise and it has to build from a place and it has to lead to some kind of a punchline and it usually has a twist in it and you’re incorporating visual effects and special effects. Putting all of that stuff together is really fun. I believe that doing some more serious action or adventure movies would incorporate a lot of the same building blocks.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Phoenix: Here’s your chance to see ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ early and for free
Dying to see some monster on monster action? Then you’ll be pleased to learn that Warner Bros. is giving several of our very lucky Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend a free advance screening of Godzilla: King of the Monsters next week.
All you have to do is click on this link to enter to win passes (good for you and one guest) to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters at Harkins Arizona Mills in big, beautiful IMAX on Tuesday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m.
The sweepstakes are currently underway and winners will be selected and notified via email by 12:00 p.m. on Monday, May 27, so good luck! Below is the official trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters as well as some additional details about the film.
Directed by: Mike Dougherty
Cast: Millie Bobbie Brown, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sally Hawkins, and Ken Watanabe
Opens: Friday, May 31
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of monster action violence and destruction, and for some language
Synopsis: The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Amid misconduct allegations, Jason Mitchell’s career has pretty much gone down the toilet
Jason Mitchell was once considered a rising star in the world of Hollywood after garnering plenty of attention and praise for his portrayal of the late rapper Eazy-E in 2015’s Straight Outta Compton. Unfortunately for Mitchell, though, he seems to have pretty much nuked his own career.
According to Deadline, just about every person, company, or project that was involved with Mitchell at one point or another has suddenly distanced themselves from the actor in recent weeks due to “allegations of inappropriate behavior being leveled against him.”
While Deadline says that the details about those allegations are “sketchy,” THR reports that Tiffany Boone, who played Mitchell’s girlfriend on the Showtime series The Chi, says the actor sexually harassed her on multiple different occasions, making her feel unsafe on set.
In fact, Boone began feeling so unsafe on the set of The Chi that she would often have her fiance, Dear White People actor Marque Richardson, come to set with her on days when she had to shoot scenes with Mitchell. And, get this: Boone was only one of several actresses on The Chi who had made complaints against Mitchell.
Since these allegations came to light, Mitchell has been dropped by not only his talent agent, United Talent Agency, but also his management company and his role from The Chi, as well as a role in the upcoming Netflix comedy film Desperados.
Desperados had not even begun shooting yet at the time that Mitchell was fired, but THR says that Mitchell’s co-stars on the film had already begun expressing their concerns and complaints about working with him. So, yeah, that dude must’ve been pretty damn shitty for that to be the case.
Leonardo DiCaprio torches a bunch of Nazis in the new ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ trailer
Stop whatever it is that you’re doing, scroll to the bottom of this post, and watch the new trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood right fuckin’ now. And then watch it again immediately after. And maybe one more time after that.
There’s so much to unpack here, but let me begin by saying this new Once Upon a Time in Hollywood trailer makes the movie look like an absolute blast and I am beyond jealous of all of the lucky bastards who get to see it two whole months (!) early at Cannes today. I envy every single one of them.
Between seeing Al Pacino in a movie for the first time in god knows how long, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton lighting up a bunch of Nazis with a flamethrower, Margot Robbie playing Sharon Tate, and Brad Pitt just being charming as hell, I am officially 100% in on this movie if I wasn’t already.
Critics are currently getting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood projected into their eyeholes at Cannes as we speak, so we should be getting the first reviews for the film within the next couple of hours, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for those.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will hit theaters on July 26. Now go watch that new trailer again.