Lea Thompson & Madelyn Deutch Made Filming ‘The Year of Spectacular Men’ A Family Affair [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Filming The Year of Spectacular Men, which comes out this Friday, was undoubtedly a family affair. Lea Thompson directed daughter Madelyn Deutch, who wrote, starred and composed many of its songs and younger sister, Zoe Deutch, co-starred and produced.
The movie follows the life of Izzy, who discovers different kinds of love over the course of the year. She goes through the daily mishaps of the typical millennial with the help of her younger sister. The two sisters are played by the real life sisters, Madelyn and Zoe. “It’s a hopeful movie, it’s about love, love between people, love of cities, love of self. But it’s also really funny,” Thompson, the star Back the Future and the 80s sitcom Caroline In The City, said in an exclusive interview with uInterview.
Madelyn described filming the movie with her sister as if it was something they were trained to do. “It’s like very method, we’ve been training our whole lives for these roles,” Deutch said with a laugh.
When Thompson saw the script that her daughter wrote, she knew she had to be involved every step of the way. Thompson explained that she’s never been a part of a project from the inception, but was glad she finally got the opportunity to do so with her daughters. “I’ve been around a very long time, I’ve never been at the ground level of something, I always kind of come in when it’s already set up, so I got to learn a lot. We all learned a lot, we all gave each other jobs that no one else would give us,” she said.
However, working with family is not always the easiest. The two share the different kind of challenges you face when your whole family is on set. For Thompson, it was that there was no hiding anything from her daughters. “We know each other very well, so they know when I’m stressed out. Like you know how you’re so in-tuned with your family, your lovers, you know,” Thompson shared. “I could hide things from people, that I could never hide from them and vice-versa, so that was a little challenging.”
Deutch saw the biggest challenge as trying to keep going, even when people turn you down. Making The Year of Spectacular Men was a “long process with so many people involved”, but it never stopped her from creating the movie she envisioned. “You have to remind yourself a lot, because there’s going to be a lot of moment where people don’t like the movement, people are going to say no and there’s going to be a lot of disappointments,” she said. “So trying to just remember why we made the movie is, I think, is the thing I’m really really proud of, like we really stuck with it.”
Read Lea Thompson and Madelyn Deutch’s full interview with uInterview below!
What’s the plot of the film?
Madelyn Deutch: I wrote it, I hope I can describe it. It’s actually harder than you think, to describe your own movie. The Year of Spectacular Men is about this girl Izzy, she’s 22 years old. She kind of like the classic millennial, she’s been sold this bill of goods, you go to college, you go out and you’re fine and you know what you want to do with your life and we all know that’s not the case. She gets out, she floundering, she moves back to L.A. to live with her little sister and it’s about five guys she dates over the course of this one year and it doesn’t go so great. And there’s these mini love stories threaded throughout the film but ultimately it’s really a love story between sisters, myself and my sister, Zoe Deutch, who is an amazing actress, and we play sisters in the movie. So it’s like very method, we’ve been training our whole lives for these roles .
Lea, how did you get involve in the project?
Lea Thompson: Well it started with Maddie’s script, so she wrote it, and I strong-armed her into letting me direct it. I’ve been a director for 15 years for T.V., doing T.V. movies and Switched at Birth and all different things, but I’ve never directed a feature from the ground up. And Maddie wrote this incredible script, and I said “Please can I direct it?” and she said yes. But it was one of those crazy things, even though I’ve been in Hollywood for a long time, you might know me from Back to the Future, Some Kind of Wonderful, or Caroline in the City. I’ve been around a very long time, I’ve never been at the ground level of something, I always kind of come in when it’s already set up, so I got to learn a lot, we all learned a lot, we all gave each other jobs that no one else would give us. Zoe is a producer on the movie, as well as a star, Maddie is the writer, the star and she’s done a lot of acting and she composed the music.
MD: I was the composer, so yeah, all the score I did. All the cues in the movie, I wrote.
LT: And five of the songs.
What was the challenge of working with your family?
LT: It’s both harder and more fun, for me, that’s my experience of it. We know each other so well, especially since it’s always a stressful situation that we’re in.
MD: When you’re shooting, I mean it’s crazy, because every second is money. Like god forbid, something goes wrong, it’s always crisis management mode when you’re shooting a movie.
LT: And we know each other very well, so they know when I’m stressed out. Like you know how you’re so in-tuned with your family, your lovers, you know. I could hide things from people, that I could never hide from them and vice-versa, so that was a little challenging. But it really is, for me, it was the greatest experience of my artistic life, this experience with them. I love them, they’re so good and I admire them so much, and they taught me so much, my two kids, in this experience.
What was the most memorable moment from working on the film?
MD: Man, there’s just so many different pieces of getting a film made, like for me the most, kind of significant moments have been all the times we’ve pushed through the moments where people might have given up because it’s really hard. So like when you’re physically shooting the movie, that’s like the fun part. Like that’s not the part I think about, necessarily, as being emblematic. Like I think when we finally got the budget of the film, I really think about that moment. When I think of us getting into the place where we premiered the movie, L.A. Film Festival, those are the real heroes of the journey. These independent film festivals take on independent films and find out how to finance these festivals and get butts in the seats. Like the people at Film Independent, I think of them as being so amazing. When MarVista came in and were like “We want to distribute the movie”, I think of those moments, because there’s so many bench markers in getting a film done. It’s such a long process with so many people involved and required a lot of, what I like to call, keeping the mission statement, like remembering like why you did it, you have to remind yourself a lot, because there’s going to be a lot of moment where people don’t like the movement, people are going to say no and there’s going to be a lot of disappointments. So trying to just remember why we made the movie is, I think, is the thing I’m really really proud of, like we really stuck with it.
LT: And what’s really great about independent film, for better or for worse, we made the movie we wanted to make. We made and she wrote. A lot of people started out, the scope is really big with the four seasons, the five to six spectacular men, the four locations: Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, New York, we shot in all those places and for an independent film that’s really hard to do. We really made the movie we wanted to make, and we made a really authentic version of a millennial girl’s story, written by a millennial girl. When I was new, not one of my words was written by a women and certainly not someone my age. So this is really an authentic view of what she wanted to write.
What’s the message of the movie?
LT: When I think of this movie now, I think about how much love was put into it. So it’s a hopeful movie, it’s about love, love between people, love of cities, love of self. But it’s also really funny. I think it’s really entertaining.
MD: I do a lot of, I hump a chair, let’s not forget. I throw up in a ceramic vase, like leaving out all of the really important stuff. For me the message of the film is baked into why we made it. Like I wanted to make this movie because I don’t think people make movies for millennial women. For me, that’s the message of this film. The message is “here’s your movie”. Like, no one else made it for you. I think it’s so crazy, my mom always says characters in T.V. go from being in high school, being 35 and married with children, or looking for love. I don’t know what happens to the decade in between.
LT: But it seems like men liked it, but yeah that story, I feel very strongly there’s not enough stories about women, written by and for. And you never seen a movie where sisters play sisters and their mother directs it.
MD: I want someone to do an official case study if that has every happened, and I’m pretty sure it has never happened in the history of Hollywood. So I just want to say that that’s my claim to fame and I think we’re the only ones.
LT: That’s really heartwarming. They’re really good together, Maddie and Zoe Deutch, they’re really funny and really good together.