Dialogue: 'Like Crazy' Director Drake Doremus on Audience Expectations, the New Trailer and Working Without a Script

Dialogue: 'Like Crazy' Director Drake Doremus on Audience Expectations, the New Trailer and Working Without a Script

Aug 02, 2011

“I only want to make movies that I believe in, that I care about and that mean something to me. At the end of the day, that’s the only reason I’m doing this. Hopefully I can continue to grow and challenge myself to try to do things I’ve never done before, and make different kinds of movies that still maintain what makes the film my film.” -- Drake Doremus

Not long after the release of the film's first trailer (watch it below), Movies.com hopped on the phone with Like Crazy director Drake Doremus to chat about the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury winner as it prepares to make its debut in theaters on October 28th, just in time for Oscar season.

Starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as two young kids navigating the rocky waters of a long distance relationship, Like Crazy doesn't give you the freshest premise, but its brilliance is in its execution -- from beautiful, gut-wrenching dialogue to the kind of shot selection that makes you literally feel like you're part of this relationship too, Like Crazy will no doubt take hold of your emotions from minute one and never let go.  

From my Sundance review: "Like Crazy is a film about the little moments. The ones we remember when we're saying goodbye, or missing an embrace, or losing something we thought (and maybe wished) we had. It's a film of collected moments; of love, happiness, heartbreak, success and failure. It's a film about how it feels to be in love; how beautiful, intense, addictive and debilitating love can be, but how necessary it is for us to experience as we get older and start sorting out our lives."

Check out some choice quotes from our conversation with Drake Doremus below (as well as the films brand new poster) ...

On what went into making the trailer: "Thankfully Paramount’s been really cool about involving me in the process of putting the trailer together. I worked with them in a really cool trailer house, and we looked at a couple different versions. I was involved with this version; shaping it and finding the specific tone and rhythm of it. There’s going to be another one coming out as well that’s a little more story driven, where as this one is a little more tone driven. So with this [trailer] I just wanted to do something that was very indicative of what the movie feels like emotionally, as opposed to intellectually or story driven. Yeah, they [Paramount] were really cool about getting behind that vision."

On the trailer’s musical choice: "Yeah, it’s a really cool Elvis cover by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson. When we heard it we thought it was a really good sort of crossover piece that still maintained the emotion of the film, but was also a bit well known and catchy in a way. It just seemed really appropriate and right, so we went with it."

On changes to the film since its Sundance premiere: “We changed two scenes very subtly to make it PG-13. Took out a bit of profanity.”

On what separates Like Crazy from other recent “intense relationship” movies like 500 Days of Summer and Blue Valentine:  “I think Like Crazy retains a more classic feel. It’s a classic love story. Not to say those films described aren’t more classic, but I feel it has a little more of a '70s sensibility to it, in a way. Even though it’s a very modern love story, it hopefully feels very classic in its structure."

On shooting without a script: “It’s always starts with the performances. Just trying to do something that’s not fake; something that’s really true and honest, and that I feel that way and the actors feel that way. That’s why the films are all ultimately improvised from a very specific outline because we don’t want to force anything. We don’t want to try to implement something that doesn’t feel natural.”

On his next film (starring Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan): “It’s still an improv film from an outline like we’ve done in the past, and it’s with Felicity again, so it’s certainly retaining a lot of the fundamentals we’ve worked with before. It’s more of a romantic thriller this time as opposed to a straight up romance. I’m trying to explore a little bit of a different genre while still maintaining a lot of the same tonal elements from Like Crazy. It’s sort of a darker cousin to Like Crazy. It’s gonna be fun; it’s very different. I’ve never done anything like this before.” 

On expectations prior to release: “No matter what happens with the film, as long as the people who want to be touched by it are touched by it, then it’s a success. I want people to walk away from it feeling optimistic; I don’t want people to feel sad or pessimistic. I want people to be optimistic and romantic -- I think the film is very romantic.”



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