Even though actors Jim Gaffigan and Logan Miller have a significant age difference, Miller loved working with the comic vet on the set of You Can Choose Your Family.

“God, you know, I mean, I just loved getting to know him, you know?” Miller told uInterview exclusively at SXSW. “I mean, it’s great when you’re able to come out of a film and actually be friends with those people afterwards. I definitely got that, so he’s significantly older than I am, but we still have a lovely relationship.”

In You Can Choose Your Family, a father and son’s relationship becomes strained when the son finds out his father has a second family he’s kept hidden his whole life. Miller plays the son, Philip, and actress Samantha Mathis plays the father’s second wife, Bonnie. Mathis said she empathized with Bonnie and enjoyed playing a different kind of character than usually.

“I play Bonnie, and I am his wife number two, second family,” Mathis told uInterview exclusively.  “She’s a painter, and she’s a really bad cook, but full of joy and just a creative, sort of free spirit and very different than Anna Gunn’s character, who’s much more of a traditional wife.”

Miller also did not necessarily relate to his character, but he enjoyed getting to play Philip.

“I can’t say that my parents are as messed up as this relationship dynamic — which is probably a good thing — but I enjoyed kind of battling with that,” Miller said. “That’s the great thing about acting is that you get to play something that is not your real life. And yeah, so you know, I think with Philip’s kind of smart, quirky attitude where he’s always kind of combating against what Jim says and stuff, I mean, I’m kind of like that as well, so that’s what I would have in relation to good old Phil.”

 

 

Mathis said one of the best parts of the film is exploring the relationship between Miller’s and Gaffigan’s characters.

“One of the things that I love is this father-son relationship, and while it’s so antagonistic in the beginning, I think through discovering really not so great things about his father, that your character learns to have compassion for your father being a human being,” Mathis said. “And I think that we all come up against those moments in our lives where our parents come off the pedestals, or also, we take them out from under our feet and just acknowledge, you know, they were someone else’s kid too, and they didn’t get everything that they needed. And you realize that Frank didn’t get everything he needed from from his father, and you have compassion for your parents. I think there’s great humanity in the movie in that regard.”

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Read uInterview’s full, exclusive interview with Mathis and Miller below.

Can you explain the film’s plot?

Logan Miller: Well, the movie is called ‘You Can Choose Your Family,’ stars myself, Jim Gaffigan, Samantha Mathis, Anna Gunn, Alex Karpovsky, and yeah, it’s a crazy story about the dynamic of a relationship between father and son when son finds out that father has a second family and has so for his entire existence. And he uses it to his benefit. I mean him and his father don’t have the best relationship, and now he’s utilizing this knowledge to get what he wants out of life. But, he comes to find out when you do things like that, it bites you in the butt.

Samantha Mathis: Yeah, it doesn’t always work out so good.

LM: Exactly, exactly.

SM: I play Bonnie, and I am his wife number two, second family. She’s a painter, and she’s a really bad cook, but full of joy and just a creative, sort of free spirit and very different than Anna Gunn’s character, who’s much more of a traditional wife.

Do you relate to your characters?

SM: Well, I mean, I think that for my character, what’s not to empathize with? You know, when you realize you’ve been living a lie, to a certain extent? But I really responded when reading the script in terms of getting to play someone who’s a bit eccentric and out there. I had never played anyone like her before, and so that was a lot of fun for me.

LM: I can’t say that my parents are as messed up as this relationship dynamic — which is probably a good thing — but I enjoyed kind of battling with that. That’s the great thing about acting is that you get to play something that is not your real life. And yeah, so you know, I think with Philip’s kind of smart, quirky attitude where he’s always kind of combating against what Jim says and stuff, I mean, I’m kind of like that as well, so that’s what I would have in relation to good old Phil.

What was your favorite moment working with Jim Gaffigan?

LM: God, you know, I mean, I just loved getting to know him, you know? I mean, it’s great when you’re able to come out of a film and actually be friends with those people afterwards. I definitely got that, so he’s significantly older than I am, but we still have a lovely relationship.

SM: Watching the scene where Logan’s character is sitting in the living room with my family, and Jim’s character is coming in and then not coming in in fits and starts — watching the anticipation of the final confrontation finally happening was really so much fun, and I loved watching Jim workout how he was going to come into the room. He does something really playful with it where you’re like, ‘Oh God, oh God no! Oh wow, it’s not going to happen — oh no, oh wow, there it is.’ So I loved watching him figure that out.

What do you think the message of this film is?

SM: One of the things that I love is this father-son relationship, and whilst it’s so antagonistic in the beginning, I think through discovering really not so great things about his father, that your character learns to have compassion for your father being a human being. And I think that we all come up against those moments in our lives where our parents come off the pedestals, or also, we take them out from under our feet and just acknowledge, you know, they were someone else’s kid too, and they didn’t get everything that they needed. And you realize that Frank didn’t get everything he needed from from his father, and you have compassion for your parents. I think there’s great humanity in the movie in that regard

LM: You know, no matter what, you’re still gonna love your family is basically what it is, kind of.

SM: And along the way, the movie is a lot of fun. I think there’s something for everyone to recognize and laugh about. It is a dramedy — or a comedy, dramedy — and you see great humor out of the shortcomings of all these people.