We’re The Millers Press Conference
It has been nearly ten years since director Rawson M. Thurber has brought a comedy film into theatres, last doing so with 2004’s Dodgeball. Today at the Locarno Film Festival, Thurber seems excited and proud of his new film We’re The Millers, during his discussion with Giona A. Nazzaro and a crowd of press who all genuinely seemed to have enjoyed the film.
We’re The Millers, has two of America’s top comedic actors in the leading roles, Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis and actress Jennifer Aniston. Thurber speaks highly of these two talents, saying that they were “welcoming, created a feeling of family with the cast, and were a pleasure to work with.” He praises the young actors in the film, Emma Roberts and British actor Will Poulter, saying that despite their age, they are experienced and can act on level with their adult counterparts, He also credits the actors with their contributions to the script, as he says about fifteen percent of the film was improvised, and that the improvised jokes were the best ones.
Telling the story of a drug dealer owing a huge favour to his boss, involving trafficking “a smidge” of Marijuana across the Mexican border, the film has some subject matter that is darker and more daring than the average comedy film. Thurber speaks to the fact that comedy films have been rapidly evolving over the past few years, with a rise in the R-Rated category because of having to compete with television that “will give you PG-13 for free”. He thanks Judd Apatow for “changing the game”, as Apatow has been integral in bringing the R-Rated comedy to the level of success that it is currently enduring.
Given the content in this film in particular, Thurber notes the challenge of balancing the tone between pure comedy and the more serious elements of the film that needed some sense of realism in order to work for the plot, such as the portrayal of the villainous drug dealers. Thurber says he did not want these characters to come off as cartoonish or fake, so that they could pose a real threat to the Miller family. He does admit that the most challenging role to establish in the film was that of Brad Gurdlinger, Jason Sudeikis’ drug dealer boss, played by Ed Helms.
Despite how the film seems on the surface, at its heart, Thurber believes that We’re the Millers is ultimately about family, in all of its forms. Thurber credits the writers of the screenplay, which includes John Morris and Sean Anders, with attempting to break down the family dynamic at the beginning, and then build it up again towards the end. Thurber captures the surprising sentimental value of the film, making a comment about how the heart of the film is in the way it displays how family is different for everyone, but always needs love, care and support.
We’re The Millers has its International Premiere Saturday, August 10th at the Piazza Grande.Adriana Floridia