VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Ike Barinholtz On ‘The Oath,’ Working With Tiffany Haddish, Trump Politics
Ike Barinholtz makes his directorial film debut with his new movie The Oath, and the 41-year-old actor sat down with uInterview to discuss the film, which he also wrote and stars in.
The black comedy is set in a dystopian future, where the President of the United States has asked all citizens to sign a loyalty pledge called “The Patriot’s Oath.” The deadline to sign this document is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which leads to a significantly heated political debate between a married couple and their families during a dinner on the big holiday.
Barinholtz said he was inspired by the current division plaguing the American political landscape since President Donald Trump was elected, and that his film criticizes and mocks both liberals and conservatives.
“I think the word that sums up American politics in 2018 is ‘absurd,'” Barriholtz explained. “Personally, I’m a liberal and I wish I could say it’s only absurd on one side but it’s pretty crazy all over the spectrum.”
He continued: “I really wanted to shine a light on that. We really don’t spare anyone. We go after the right, we really go after the left, we go after the center.”
Barriholtz added that the best type of satire is that which tackles every type of person’s “foibles.”
The Mindy Project star described the first half of the film as a “family comedy about not fighting about politics over the holidays,” while the second half is more like a “blood thriller.”
The Oath also stars Tiffany Haddish, who plays Barrinholtz’ wife in the film. He gushed about the comedy star, who has become a favorite among many fans of the genre since rising to prominence with her role in Girls Trip last year.
“There’s a reason why I think America is falling in love with her,” he said of Haddish, adding he was amazed by her “crazy” stories of getting random text messages from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. “I think she’s just infectious and so real, and just funny and amazing. We love her.”
Barrinholtz also praised the “task-oriented” crew he worked with. Although Barrinholtz has never directed a feature film before, he had wet his toes with the experience before: he helmed some episodes of The Mindy Project, which he also starred in and co-wrote from 2012 to 2017. Barrinholtz also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2016 action-comedy Central Intelligence, which starred Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Barrinholtz admitted there was some inspiration from his personal life to make his latest film. He said he, his brother and his mother got into a heated argument on Thanksgiving just two weeks after the 2016 election, which he said he found “crazy” since their political opinions were all fairly similar and they had all voted for the same candidate.
“We’re pretty passionate people, and then you throw in a little bit of bourbon and wine in that mix and we have some pretty strong opinions,” he confessed.