Film Reviews

Interview: Andrew Jay Cohen talks tuition fees, working for Will Ferrell and inspirations for The House

I had the chance to interview filmmaker Andrew Jay Cohen about his latest film The House starring Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas. He spoke about getting inspiration for the film and working the great cast.

Where did you get inspiration for this film?

When I was young I always playing poker and as a freshman in high school, we would gather in our basement to play. We thought we were cool. Originally the film was going to be about the kids at college but after I wrote Neighbours the adult struggles just busted it wide open. Once I started thinking about being a dad it just became so absurd. Putting Will and Amy in the worst financially situation not being able to afford college. It was just great. Once it is about a real person it becomes more relatable to the audience. What do you do when you catch a cheater? Take him to the garage? I just realised I can’t intimidate someone like a gangster can.

There was a lot of improve in the film was that intentional?

I believe that you need a strong script. I do believe in that and a great blue print and game plan. But once I’m on set, if an actor can’t say those prepositions in that way then we find other ways. I find that irresistible and is the spirit of writing. I love going down the rabbit hole with actors. There is a feeling of authenticity. It’s like you are filming two people interacting rather than something created.

Was this your first time working with the cast?

Worked with Will on Anchorman and on the last day of shooting he came up to me and told me there was no film in the camera all filled with coffee. I was like ‘he made fun of me I know I made it’. When I was writing the script I kept having his voice in my head. He is able to deliver lines. We were quoting Anchorman before it even came out. I like those movies where words and phrases and characters will just resonate in your head. It had to feel loose and like anything can happen.

The film does tackle some cultural topics and do you think more films should do this?

Absolutely. I think all movies should come from reality or us it as a jumping off point. It’s very relatable. I set up a 529 for my kid and was comparing what I have with the cost of semester and it just made me anxious. So I put that into the most stupid thing. Here’s a problem its very really, what’s the worst thing you could solve it? There’s probably ways Scott and Kate could have solved it but it just happens to be the only way to solve it. It’s a real starting point. I’ve always been taught that’s the most important and is always my starting point.

It also looks at the dark side of gambling as well.

I really thought it was hysterical if we treated them with some epic vision Scorsese would. It veers in tone and that was so much fun. I’ve been watching Scorsese movies and studying what made them resonant and make that in a comedy.

Could there be a potential sequel?

I would love to do a sequel. As she is going to college who knows what will happen. The head of the studio set up his own casino in is dorm room so who knows.

The House is in UK cinemas on June 30. Plus I will be providing a review for that date as well.

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