Ken Kwapis, Cliff Eidelman on He's Just Not That Into You
Ken believes that ______________ was confusing to begin with but now is quadruply confusing because of technology.
Ken Kwapis: "Well the wonderful thing is all of these terrific actors, well known actors, showed up to be part of this film because we had such a wonderful script. And the script really…every one of these nine characters is somebody you know or somebody you can identify with, somebody who may resemble yourself. And I think that that's why they all showed up. I think all of them – there's like three Jennifers: Jennifer, Ginnifer, Jennifer – they all sort of used these parts to say something personal about how we're all looking for some kind of a human connection with another person and how we more often than not misread the signals. "
How difficult is it to balance all of those storylines. I know you have a script to work off of, but you've still got these phenomenal actors in front of you. How do you know?
Ken Kwapis: "The reason I was able to balance nine different stories is because I identified with all nine of them equally. I really felt like I'd been there, done that, made this mistake, put my foot in my mouth this or that time. So I feel like I've been doing research for this film for about 30 years, ever since my first date."
Do you think technology has helped or hindered dating?
Ken Kwapis: "Oh I think dating was confusing to begin with and now it's quadruply confusing."
Why do you like romantic comedies?
Ken Kwapis: "Oh, I love stories about men and women and how they do or don't relate. I just feel like it's the area I most love to play in."
And you also direct a lot of The Office episodes.
Ken Kwapis: "I helped launch the show The Office and I'm also very happy to report that next month I'm going to direct the 100th episode of the show, quite a milestone for the show."
How difficult is it to keep those guys on script, or is it at all?
Ken Kwapis: "Oh, they're always on script. There's certainly some improvisation, but no it's a very tightly scripted show. Maybe I'm giving away a secret…"
It's not just Steve Carell riffing.
Ken Kwapis: "He does his share of riffing but there's also very well written scripts that they work with."
Cliff Eidelman: "You're dealing with relationships so you're dealing from the intimate side of people's hearts and their relationship to what's going on in their life, and you're also dealing with the external forces going on around them. So it's very much an intimate way of writing versus an external way of writing. You're kind of playing the inner world of people, and then trying to tie everything together through doing it that way. So it's very different from doing a big sci-fi or something like that. There's a lot of dialogue so you have to tiptoe around and walk a fine line as well. So it's a challenge for sure."
Do you have to relate to what the characters are going through at all in order to be writing for them?
Cliff Eidelman: "I think you have to be a people person. You have to have gone through some experiences in your own life that you can draw on, but I think you just have to be a kind of person that likes to deal with personal relationships, which I love so it worked out well for me. "
When you're tackling one specific scene, how many times does it change before you get the final score that you're going to use?
Cliff Eidelman: "You start with a rough cut, typically. For me I start with the script and I start writing thematic ideas with the script. By the time you start writing for the rough cuts, the early cuts, there's two or three months of changes that go on. But they're sometimes not very big. They can just be little trims, little minute little changes that go on that may not change your big overall idea, but get you to sort of refine it. So a couple of months, I'd say. It all depends on the movie, too. In this film we had the luxury of time and we had more time to work with it than we do on an average or a typical film where the schedule can be really tight for the composer. I'm the last person that comes in to put an interpretation on the film at the end so it could be very quick – as little as three weeks that you have to write an entire score – or several months, like I had on this film."
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