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Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky co-writers/directors of The Good House

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions release The Good House nationwide on September 30th, 2022.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the process like to decide what to omit from the novel?

Wallace Wolodarsky: It happens in a very organic way. When you read the book, which happens over a longer span of time, you start plucking out things that are the most cinematic and the things that can be highlighted. There's so much that's in the book that's really, really good. In a very quick way, you start to highlight these chunks of the book that really make the most sense to you and then you start to work on how we can compress it in a way that will make sense while preserving the spirit of the book0--which is really a good book. It's very fun to read. Maya Forbes: I was lucky to sit once with [another author], William Goldman, at a dinner. I would ask him about this. He would read the book that he was adapting and underline. And then he would read it again and underline it in a different color. And then he reads it again and underlines it in a different color again. The things that had the underlining in all of the colors were the things that were critical to keep. Then you try to use those elements and put them together.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you see The Good House as more of a comedic tragedy or a tragicomedy?

WW: We feel that this is a movie in a continuum of movies that just haven't been made lately, but used to be made all of time. So, if you think about Ordinary People or Kramer vs. Kramer or Terms of Endearment, those are movies that had very flexible tones. Even though they're all considered dramas, there's quite a bit of comedy in each one of them when you go back and look at them. MF:I would say that it's a dramatic comedy. No, no--it's a comedic drama. It's not a tragedy because I don't think that it ends sadly, but it's a drama that's funny.

WW: Just to go back to your question, we don't think about that. We think about, "What are we going to see? What are we going to enjoy? What is going to reflect life that we are interested in seeing?"

MF: Yeah, truth---what feels true. Comedy and drama coexist in all of our lives all of the time, so that's what we want to reflect.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How introspective do you think Hildy is?

MF: I think that Hildy has developed quite an introspective world view. She's introspective, but she's also hiding, which is a thing that I think that many people are---even people who think about a lot of things and have a take on everything and have figured it all out. I think that Hildy has figured everything out and thought about it, but there are places that she doesn't want to go. So, I think that people who are even in deep denial can be introspective. I guess I can say that Hildy is one of those people.

WW: That's what made us so attracted to the character: the unreliable nature of her narration to us and herself. That's where you get the good, juicy character stuff.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Would it be accurtate to say that the audience is like a character in the film because Hildy speaks to them by looking at the camera?

MF: I think that that's a really great observation. It's a great articulation of what we were trying to do. What we referred to the camera that she was talking to--and she referred to it, too--as her friend. She's like, "Where my friend? I want to tell my friend." At first she was like, "I haven't done this before.", but by the end she's like, "I want to tell this to my friend. I need to make my case to my friend." So, absolutely. That's what we thought could be a fun and different way of exploring denial. She wants us to be on her side and complicit with her. So, how much do we do that? Different people have different takes on different times that she has a problem or not.

WW: We did think of it almost as like you're on a bar stool next to her. Which, of course, relates more to the broader subject. Sigourney [Weaver] just embraced that and was really able to dig into.

MF: And enjoyed it!

NYC MOVIE GURU: Who or what do you think is the closest thing to a villain in the film? Does Hildy see her mother as a villain?  

MF: I don't think that she sees her mother as a villain; I think she sees Wendy as a villain. She's not a big villain, but she's a thorn on Hildy's side. In a way, I guess, the villain is Hildy's denial. She just can't see what's going on.

WW: I hadn't really thought of it that way, but the town itself is almost a villain in that it looks perfect, but, in fact, it could be quite stifling. It's one of the things that's kept Hildy rooted in an unhealthy place.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think that Hildy will ever forgive herself?  

MF: I think that one of the things that we wanted to say in the film is that it's never too late to grow and to see something that you've been running from your whole life and try to face and deal with it. The road will probably be bumpy, but I think that she can do it.

WW: I wanted her to forgive herself and have a good rest of her life. That's what I want.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How would you define a grown-up?

WW: There's no such thing as a grown-up. Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaves, kind of, showed that to us. These are people who have a ton of achievements and don't have anything to prove. They come very game and playful. It's really an exciting thing to be around. So, I guess the answer is that there's no such thing as a grown-up.

MF: Or, if there is, you don't want to hang out with that person. [laughs]

(Part 2 of the interview coming soon) Main Page
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