Thanks to Warner Bros., I had the opportunity to interview Academy Award and Emmy winning director David Frankel ahead of his new film Collateral Beauty, which debuts in North America on Dec. 16th.
My review will be posted once I’m able to, but here’s a summary of the film from IMDB:
Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.
The transcription can be found below the audio interview.
You’re no stranger to tugging on the audience’s heartstrings, especially with your work in “Band of Brothers” and a lot of your previous films. How did you tackle the challenge of finding new ways to pull the audience into “Collateral Beauty”?
The biggest challenge in this film is sort of finding the right tone because there is so much drama in it and, also, the movie works on a couple different levels, which you only appreciate after it’s over. That mix of finding the right balance between the drama and the humor that’s in the movie. These are all really sophisticated characters and witty, sophisticated actors. They were masters at juggling different emotions and levels.
Did you ever find yourself sitting back and letting them [the actors] do the work?
I always do that. I always do that. I do a lot of laying back. I think my job is being the best audience I can be. Just laughing and being funny and cry when they’re moving me.
The film itself has three focal points: Love, Time and Death. In your eyes, which is the most important?
I think, at the end of the day, love triumphs over everything. I think that’s what gets us up in the morning, and the last thing we want to think about before we go to sleep. Obviously, time and death are crucial. But if I had to choose one, it’s love.
Now, you didn’t grow up here, right?
No, my wife grew up here [in Miami], in Coconut Grove.
I can’t call you a Miami native then, right? (laughter)
No, that’s right! My kids are natives. (laughter) I lived here for 25 years.
So, as a Miami veteran, then, what’s the first order of business when you come back from a long trip or from shooting a film?
Well, It’s been about a year of commuting to New York on a weekly basis. So, I haven’t actually been home much in the last year. So, for me now, this is a fantastic time of the year to sort of kick back. We still have a lot of publicity to do the first half of December. Holiday time I’ll be able to hang out.
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?
I think the film raises some questions about love, time and death. So, I hope that the audience is first deeply moved and entertained. I think they experience the journey of these characters and it takes them, emotionally, to a fulfilling place. And then, in that aftermath, I hope it promotes some thinking about how abstract ideas influence all of us — how important they all are. I think, in my limited experience, what I’ve seen most audiences do is they rush to hug the people they love.