Writing, directing, and life partners Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky work out all of their disagreements on the page, the couple confided to Variety at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.
While that may pertain strictly to film narratives, they’re certainly on the same page about their festival entry “The Good House” — a rich and unexpected drama starring Sigourney Weaver as you’ve never really seen her.
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Adapted from the Ann Leary book of the same name, “The Good House” has Weaver playing Hildy Good, a real estate agent in an aristocratic New England town whose penchant for booze collides with the pangs of being a middle-aged divorcee to disastrous effects.
“The bulk of our career has been spent writing and we always talk about point of view, and this book had such a strong point of view. It does this really perceptive job in creating a world, and we especially loved the character of Hildy,” said Forbes, whose credits include “Infinitely Polar Bear,” “Trolls World Tour” and a “A Dog’s Journey.”
The pair still seem in disbelief that they landed Weaver for such an acidic, at times unhinged, protagonist.
“Sigourney was a big motivator for us, this America icon. We were so excited to just meet her. The idea of working with her was more exciting. To put her in a part that we haven’t seen her do what an extra jolt of electricity,” said Wolodarsky, a frequent actor in the films of Wes Anderson and a co-writer on “Trolls World Tour” and others.
As Weaver’s Hildy ratchets up the self-destruction, a reunion with a former flame in Kevin Kline might be the shot at redemption she needs. Forbes, a native of Cambridge, Mass., said she brought her own small-but-elite-town sensibilities to the project. She and Wolodarsky have been writing and living together for so long that he finds “it made our transition to directing as a team seamless. We have a kind of unified vision for what we’re trying to get to. Evnetually, we are going to meld into one organic entity.”
Currently seeking domestic distribution, the filmmakers acknowledged that modest movies aimed at adults are increasingly rare. “We’re dying for these kinds of movies. They’re in trouble, people aren’t making them as much anymore,” Forbes said. “We love drama about real people.”
Wolodarsky said the pair screened classics like “Terms of Endearment” and “Karmer vs. Kramer” before getting to work on their adaptation. “These movies still hold up but they somehow disappeared from the marketplace. We know there’s an audience for it. It’s a mature audience, and they are engaged,” he said.
“The Good House” was financed by Amblin Partners. UTA and ICM Partners is brokering the sale out of Toronto. Producers include Producers Jane Rosenthal, Aaron Ryder, and Berry Welsh.
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