A highlight from BGN 254 | Director Jonathan Levine And The Six Figure Spa Chick

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Will offer the solution of going to a wellness retreat for ten days with nine strangers. I don't know maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't but my guest today might tell us the answer. I'm talking about jonathan levin. He has been rector of non perfect strangers. All right now by the time you guys check this out how you doing. I'm good. I'm good i. That's a lot of pressure though. I'm not sure. I can give you the answer to To acute up too much pressure at the top. It's okay so look awful. Hopefully this next question is not too much pressure. I want to ask you. How did you get started in in directing. I wish you beginning story for everybody out there thinking like oh. I can't do this right now and everything that's going on. What was your. What was your start. Story always was really interested in Film and in visual language. I would find myself kind of walking around creating a soundtrack to whatever you know with with my walkman headphones on creating soundtracks for whatever visuals sound in front of me until i always was thinking in that sort of filmmakers point of view And then i was young. And i was like you know would make little videos with my friends. One of my friends had a camcorder. And then i started doing it in school. I mean i actually really just at every level just kept trying to do it and kept trying to get better and then i went to college. I made movies went to film school. Made movies in right after films like very lucky that i was able to get financing for this this movie. That was a little harmony that my friends were making phone school Basically just really kinda climbed the ladder on a filmmaking which is weird. 'cause there's not really a ladder you know i did my best and i and i kept pushing and and now i think it's probably really cool because people have their phone. My son is is almost six and he's making movies on his ipad. So yes crazy. Yeah i'm in to real quick. I want to ask you about a past project and we're gonna get into non perfect strangers is really wanna know about Warm bodies. I wanna ask you about as a director. I'm just trying to get in the head of how do you. How do you get the actors to like. I guess if there if there have zombie half human what is that like directing that where you were. You have that fine line because it's by the way this is. The only zombie watched by the way are usually not my friend. Well like i made I asked nicole and rub cordray to do this. Like sort of movement class with. We were shooting montreal. We had we had a consultant. Who worked with circus away. So i had them do these movement classes thankfully they were willing to do it because he kinda if you would look at it. It looks ridiculous. It's just moving around and getting into their bodies. And i don't know with anything like that. I mean it's a little bit like with the show. It's like you try different levels of stuff and whatever you end up leaving in editorially is what kind of dictates tone or the level that you're working with So there were versions of those zombies. That were too intense. There reverses of those zombies. There were two silly. You know we just kinda crafted. I'm in the editing room. And also you know. Nick was so great so that was really helpful. You nichole did a fantastic job like i said. That is the only time. I can sit through zombies and you guys did a really good job ahead to be characters for me has gary to yeah It's nice. oh yes speaking now. Speaking of fun now in characters non perfect strangers is you guys will be thinking about these characters like you go on a break. Your apple wallet cooler with your employees. You just will be thinking like what is going on in so many phenomenal actors. So jonathan tell us like what drew you to the project and had you read. The book wasn't important for you to to match the book or was there a lot of things you want to change up about some of the characters. Well so for me. Was i got to the projects. I read david's first. Scripted kelly And it was beautiful. I didn't i knew it was from a book and i knew was from the same authors. Big little lies. But i didn't know much beyond that. But i just fell in love with these characters immediately and the world And then i read the book. And i felt even more in lebanon dinner lots of twists and turns in the joe and there are in the book and so it was very important to me to like that i really enjoyed those twists in those terms and but for the whole time as i was reading it i was just riveted by these beautiful characters so i i was all in from the moment. I read Script and just the promise of this. Email nicole kidman in melissa mccarthy and kellyanne And then once. I've read the book. I was even more excited to do it. And speaking to of nicole kidman here just that level of even like melissa mccarthy their scenes together so intense when you get into some of these these first episodes what is that and you're dealing with such Mental health and you know and suicide. How was that on in. And how was it getting those actresses to that place you know where constable onset talk about and getting the you know the same which you wanted to have the same you will. I mean i try to keep a very collaborative spirit onset. Certainly melissa and nicole were producers as well so when we would we would have very long conversations about their characters and the tone of the piece in the end their motivations in their back stories and we would craft together. I mean you know. We shot in australia and In the weeks leading up to a reactor was quarantining. Because a coven. So i had long zooms with each and every we would sort of create their back stories. We talk about our aspirations. We talk about Tonal references we would talk about lines of dialogue. The beginning word dialogue pitches worked better than others And with with the with the plotline the marconi plotline which which delves into very intense Territory with with with suicide survivors and end and very significant mental health issues That was something. We felt a great responsibility to That was something. I talked to mike goal in ayrshire. Any grace on at length about You know it's a very interesting show because that stuff coexists with things that are a little lighter that coexists with you know a a budding romance between the county. So it's it's a. It's a very tricky tunnel balanced but we that plotline especially we wanted to be very respectful of the journeys of people. We knew who had been through this with loved ones and we really wanted to make sure that we handled it in a very respectful responsible manner. ended never pushed you far into melodrama but felt very grounded on and i really really Took a lot of a pride in that in that response and we we all did a. We took a lot of time to discuss what

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