RADiUS-TWC releases The Last Five Years at Village East Cinema on February 14th, 2015.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you side more with Jamie or Cathy?
Richard LaGravenese: People who've seen in more than once have said that first they sided with him and then with her. Someone else said that maybe they don't want to be in a relationship anymore. It's like a Litmus test for where you are in your relationship. I understand both of their sides because I've in a very long relationship, and it's not one or the other; it's more difficult than that.
Jeremy Jordan: Relationships are tough---admitting that you're wrong all the time.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How different is the experience of acting in a play vs a film?
JJ: The sad thing about filming a musical, especially since in a theater where you have all this rehearsal time and previews, in a film you have just one day of rehearsals. You have have a bunch of takes, but you have to take advantage of every single one in order to get somewhere.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Why do you think you're so attracted to romantic roles?
JJ: I grew up in a sort of broken household, so maybe it's just me fighting that.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How challenging it was it to find the humanity within Jamie given that he's unlikable?
JJ: I never thought about him in that kind of way. The great thing is that we see Jamie first as a youthful, excited, fun-loving, go-getter. And then we see that that's not who he is. You see this kind of development throughout the movie, so you know that that's not all really what's underneath it. He does have an affair, but I just thought about it in a human way. There are things that anyone can relate to who's been in relationships. He really was struggling with this inner demon inside of him.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you think that the advancement of modern technology is affecting the quality of human relationships?
RL: People don't look at each other as much anymore and relate as much. I go to restaurants and everyone at other tables are looking at their phones instead of having dinner conversations. So it, has affected the quality of human relationships, yet people are writing and corresponding through this technology which is a different kind of intimacy. Intimacy has transformed into something that looks different, so if you're from a different generation, it might look cold and you might be judgmental about it, but to this generation, it's not. It's what they know and what they feel strongly about.
JJ: It also allows for people to communicate over long distances.
RL: I'm better at writing how I feel than telling people in person.
JJ: I've had more than one argument with someone and then left, and then texted exactly how I felt in a much more articulate and courteous manner.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like to direct material that you didn't write yourself?
RL: This was a challenge for me because writing is in my DNA. As a filmmaker, I'm not a strong visualist, so I thought, "Wow! This screenplay is me designing camera angles, locations, costumes and all the visuals that have to tell a story. What a great thing!." I've never been as confident with the material as this because I didn't write it. I'm always less confident about the material that I write myself. I loved this and knew that it worked so well, so it was liberating.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What song in The Last Five Years was the most challenging for you?
JJ: "The Schmuel Song." We started talking about it, but even when we got to rehearsals, we were still talking about it without doing anything. We staged it the day before and then took a look at the props, and just did it.
RL: I realized that it's not about what he's singing, but why he's singing. Once I understood that, I knew how to stage it. Then it became the most important song because he ultimately becomes, for some people, a prick. In that moment, you realize how hard he works and how much he loves her to get her out of her neurosis and all of that stuff. I wasn't worried about the lyrics making sense; I was worried about his intention making sense. That's why we finally staged it that way.
NYC MOVIE GURU: If you could travel back in time to the Golden Age of American Cinema, which film(s) would you like to be a part of?
JJ: Something like Singing in the Rain.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What would make a great double feature with The Last Five Years?
RL: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The Last Five Years, to me, is the modern-day version of that all sung through a bittersweet love story.