As much as I tend to interview “name” talent by and large during the course of a given year, a place like the Tribeca Film Festival is a great spot to get to know some up and comers. As such, I sat down with the brains behind the festival comedy Intramural for a jovial little chat. I spoke with director Andrew Disney and writer Bradley Jackson about sports movies, what inspired them to make this flick, and just a whole lot of random things as well, including where a potential sequel might go (I did filter out some of the random tangents we went on though). The film is pretty funny and definitely amused me, so hopefully this interview manages to amuse you as well. Take a look below and enjoy…
Joey Magidson: Well, hello, first of all.
Andrew Disney: Hello!
Bradley Jackson: Hello!
JM: Nice to meet you guys. I play co-ed kickball on the weekends, and this movie is definitely relatable, since I’m so far removed from playing with any skill back in high school.
BJ: Yeah yeah. That was the goal. We came up with the idea of this being a sports movie for the guys who don’t deserve one.
AD: I have one friend who talks about his intramural days and how he tore his ACL in the playoffs during the championship even though he could run any zig-zags and just ran straight routes, and now he’s walking with a limp! And he says it was worth it, because we won!
BJ: For that trivial glory!
AD: It’s so funny, anything competitive just messes with your mind.
JM: The movie is fun and really silly, and it actually has a sort of SXSW vibe, if that makes sense?
BJ: Yeah, well we’re both from Austin…
JM: There you go.
BJ: We’re definitely Austin boys and I wrote the first draft of the script while I was at UT, so Austin is all over this movie.
AD: Yeah, there’s a lot of Austin talent in it as well.
JM: It has that sort of a vibe, even for someone who’s never been there.
JM: It feels like a very modern vibe to me. Like, the 70’s had a New York feel, the grimy Times Square scene, while the 80’s had a Los Angeles cocaine fueled vibe, and now, I feel like this is the vibe. The male coming of age story is often set in Austin, and it fits.
JM: When you guys decided to make this sports movie, how did you set about deciding to make it?
BJ: In terms of the script, I wrote basically as a sports movie. Sports movies all have a certain structure to them, and as a beginning screenwriter, structure is the hardest, so it was really fun to write a comedy and know that on page ten this needs to happen, at the very end there’s gotta be a big championship game at the end, you know? Growing up, we also just loved classic sports movies, we bonded over a love of things like The Sandlot…
AD: Cool Runnings…
JM: Little Giants?
AD: Ah, god I love Little Giants.
JM: My childhood was Little Giants, Little Big League, and Rookie of the Year.
BJ: Oh yeah.
AD: I love Little Big League!
JM: I love it too. I wanted to be a GM!
AD: That one holds up really well too. It holds up better than Rookie of the Year.
JM: Rookie of the Year makes no sense, but it’s just fun.
AD: It’s the best when you’re a kid. Funky butt loving!
BJ: Did he just say Funky Butt Loving?
AD: Daniel Stern directed it too.
JM: I know!
BJ: Wait, Daniel Stern directed that movie?
BJ: Wow. What a multi talent that guy is.
JM: They also just don’t make kids sports movies anymore.
AD: I know.
BJ: No, they don’t.
JM: There used to be a ton of them. There was a soccer one…
AD: The Big Green…
JM: Yup, which wasn’t that good, but still.
AD: Yeah. The Gute is in that, Steve Guttenberg.
BJ: There hasn’t been a good one in a while.
JM: The last one I even remember was the one with Bow Wow in it…
BJ: Roll Bounce!
JM: No, it was Like Mike.
AD: Like Mike!
JM: Magic sneakers or something…
AD: They did that one too Thunderstruck, with Kevin Durant, but it didn’t do anything.
BJ: Oh, right! I also heard they were remaking Space Jam.
AD: I’d see it.
JM: We’d all see it, but it wouldn’t have Bill Murray or anything in it.
BJ: I wish Bill Murray had shown up in our movie, that whole Zombieland kind of thing.
JM: I’m from Brooklyn and I hear rumors all the time that he randomly shows up and tends bar once in a while at certain places.
AD: I mean, we’ve all heard the stories of the guy who knows a guy who was peeing at a urinal and someone comes up and shakes him, and it’s Bill Murray and he whispers in the guy’s ear “no one will ever believe you”.
BJ: That’s the greatest.
JM: I’ve heard tons of stories, and it’s awesome. He’ll crash house parties!
JM: Your movie though, I actually think it works better because of the lower profile cast. Nikki Reed is probably the biggest name.
AD: I think Wet Hot American Summer was a huge inspiration for us, casting the funniest people in comedy right now that not everyone knows, but will in three or four years.
BJ: For example, Beck Bennett wasn’t on SNL when we cast him. He actually found out that he got it while we were shooting. He got it the day we wrapped shooting.
JM: Definitely good for you guys.
BJ: Right, exactly.
JM: Going forward, do you guys plan on working together again?
BJ: Oh yeah, I hope to.
AD: We had such a fun time, it was such a funny script that Bradley wrote, I just felt like it was it, it gave me such a shot of nostalgia.
BJ: The good thing about Andrew is that not only did his first movie Searching for Sonny show that he’s a really good director, he’s a really good writer too who understands tone and genre. When I first showed him the script, he immediately started talking about sports, he’s a big sports fan, and that’s so important for this movie. You can’t have someone directing this who was just a comedy nerd.
BJ: He knew all the terminology too, which was important. Now we’re working on a TV pilot together and maybe Intramural 2?
JM: You could totally do that, and even hit different sports.
AD: Our fantasy would be to take it to Hawaii and have it in paradise and have them paly against the best…
JM: During the Pro Bowl!
AD: Yes, like the Pro Bowl!
BJ: Maybe the Russians come over?
JM: A sports sequel always needs Russians at some point…
BJ: Rocky IV man, that’s the best.
JM: He ended the Cold War.
AD: He did!
BJ: If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
JM: You know when he was writing that speech on an old word processor, he finished that last line, hit save, leaned back, and just nodded.
BJ: I’m done!
JM: He had to have felt like that was an Oscar winner in that moment…
(At this point, we started to sort of just randomly chat before I got the cue to wrap things up)
JM: Awesome. Well, this was fun. They’re about to kick me out. Congrats again on the film.
AD: Thank you!
BJ: Thank you so much, what a pleasure!
There you have my chat about Intramural with Andrew Disney and Bradley Jackson. Hopefully you got a kick out of the interview…I know I did. Be on the lookout for Intramural when it hits theaters at some point in 2014.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!