SXSW Interview with Director/Writer Dan Mazer and Actor Simon Baker for ‘I Give It a Year’


I sat down with I Give It a Year’s director/writer Dan Mazer and actor Simon Baker who plays Guy.  The interview was conducted the morning after the North American premiere showing of I Give It a Year at SXSW in March.  This interview was in a roundtable format, so there are three other press members there besides myself.  Unfortunately, it is only audio, but I thoroughly enjoyed talking with these two guys.  There is nothing I like more than chatting with an English and an Australian first thing in the morning.  This was also the morning after the time changed, so everyone was a bit tired. **There is a bit of language in this interview, so be careful where you listen to it.

If you listen to any part of this interview, I encourage you to listen to 19:00 where the dove scene is discussed and Rose Byrne being terrified of the birds.  You can see portions of this scene in the trailers for the film.

Interview Breakdown:

00:40: Can you talk a little about improvisation in this film? (Dan answers)

02:25: (To Dan) So you are okay with your actors maybe criticizing your script a little bit? (Both Dan and Simon answer) Simon gives a good comparison between expectations doing a comedy and sex.

06:25: When you are on the other end and you are watching Rafe (Spall) do some improv, can you feel when it’s not going anywhere? (Simon and Dan answers)  Dan talks about working with Sacha Baron Cohen.

07:53: Simon, what was it that drew you to the script when you first read it? (Simon answers)  Comments on romantic comedies and the cliches of that genre and how this film does not have those cliches.

10:42: You (Dan) as a director, since this is so opposite of a romantic comedy, are there any famous couples or famous story lines in movies that you would like to take this route with?  (Dan answers)  Discusses how opposites attract in romantic comedies, but realism is left out of these films.

11:58: I thought it was kind of interesting because you made Anna Faris’ character and Simon’s character not conniving or evil, not trying to break up a marriage.  They were just kind of on the outskirts.  His (Simon) character didn’t even really know.  I thought it was an interesting take.  You obviously did this on purpose.  It follows more along the romantic comedy that there is always this person trying to do something backhanded.  (Dan answers)

13:50: With casting, did you know Simon prior to this? (Dan answers) The Englishs’ self-deprecating humor and Hugh Grant is mentioned.

15:25:  Is this almost the romantic comedy for people who don’t like romantic comedies? (Dan answers)  He describes it more as a comedy about relationships rather than a romantic comedy.

16:15: What were the biggest challenges for both of you in flipping this genre? (Simon and Dan answers)  Simon mentions Silver Linings Playbook.

19:00: No doves were harmed? (Simon and Dan answer)  Rose Byrne was actually terrified of the doves!

21:32: How did you get Stephen Merchant on board to this?  You don’t see him in many films. (Dan answers)  Dan wrote the part with him in mind.

22:33: You guys mentioned rehearsals.  You had rehearsals before you started filming? (Dan and Simon answer)  They had about two weeks.

Source: Lost in Reviews

Above Photo: Zimbio

by Sarah Ksiazek

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