Back at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, Clayton and myself saw a fun little coming of age comedy called Adult World. We both liked it and then…we heard nothing from it. Well, it’s finally hitting theaters this week, and to coincide with this release, I was given a chance to speak to the film’s director Scott Coffey. He was a lot of fun to interview, especially considering how much we both like John Cusack, who he was lucky enough to direct in this movie (Cusack co-stars here with lead Emma Roberts, among others). You can see the interview below, and be sure to check out Adult World this weekend, as it’s well worth your time. Enjoy!
Scott Coffey: Hi Joey.
Joey Magidson: Hi Scott, how are you?
SC: I’m good, how are you?
JM: I’m alright, thanks. I actually saw your movie back at Tribeca, so it’s been almost a year…
SC: Yeah, I remember. Did I, did I talk to you? I might have, or you wrote something that was really cool about the movie somewhere, so thank you!
JM: I’m a huge John Cusack fan, so I’d watch him read the phone book, so I was looking forward to it for a while…
JM: I’d actually seen it listed as a project of his on IMDb for some time.
SC: There were a lot of different incarnations of it. At one point it was with a company that fell apart, so it’s been kicking around for a while. I wasn’t involved in it the whole time, I only became involved in it fairly recently.
JM: Ah. Well, you got it to the finish line, so go you!
JM: What got you involved with Adult World? What made you know that it was the one for you to make?
SC: I wasn’t sure actually that it was the one for me until we started working on it. At first, I didn’t really know, but then I started thinking about the lead character, what she was like and how interesting she was. I, you know, started thinking about what she wants, and she was such an interesting and weird character. That’s what got me involved initially, trying to get my head around her and where she comes from. You know, being a millennial and coming into the world where there aren’t as many opportunities, but at the same time a world where everyone overvalues their child. Basically, I wanted to make a satire about that.
JM: Cool. I’m right around that time frame, I’m about to turn 27, so I’m right on the cusp of being a millennial….
SC: Right, right.
JM: So I can definitely associate with Emma Roberts here and the whole post graduation confusion she has, though I think a lot of people can.
SC: I think everyone can too! I’ve been really surprised at how older people especially have gotten it, I guess reminiscing. That’s been so surprising, to see how many people can relate to the character. That’s one of the things that I’ve been really excited about.
JM: I think unless you were going straight to Business or Law or Medical School, you have to have some form of that. It’s definitely universal. Even back with The Graduate when it did that…
SC: Yeah, and Risky Business too. That’s a great one.
JM: I remember watching that in Junior High School and then getting to High School and bemoaning the lack of killer pimps in my life.
SC: (Laughing hard) Amazing, yeah. That’s pretty funny.
JM: I really liked the idea of the porn store here…
JM: It’s catchy and has this kind of interesting concept. How did you decide how you wanted to work it in?
SC: I wanted to sort of keep the focus and the humor on her reaction to it all as opposed to the sexy jokes, you know? But I did like the idea of the store and that it’s run by an older couple and how it didn’t faze them at all. Especially to someone from suburbia who might be a little uptight and have certain ideas about sexuality, I thought it was something really smart and funny about the script. We kept it very fluid too though. I worked with the writer on it, and then the actors were free to bring themselves to it. A lot of the scenes with John and Emma were improv, they just made it up.
JM: That was actually going to be my next question, about what they both brought to their parts. Did you have your eye on either of them?
SC: I did, I had my eye on both of them. I had met Emma and instantly thought that she was just fantastic and loved her. She’s so great and so smart and funny and sweet. She really got the character and wasn’t afraid of making her a little unlikable and a little bit shrill maybe. There are times where you want to strangle her but you really love her too, and I thought it was great that she was able to do that and didn’t mind. It was a really brave performance. And then John, I’d always loved John. I’d never met him or knew him, we just had a friend in common, but I was really lucky that he said yes. We had a great working relationship and they just really made those scenes sing. They worked hard on them, spending hours just improving and going over stuff. They were very instrumental in it all.
JM: I feel like if this had been a movie in the 80’s it would have been John that’s playing the Emma role…
SC: Yeah, exactly!
JM: He’d be halfheartedly working in a porn shop, etc. It would have been a teenaged High Fidelity almost, with him as the Jack Black character.
JM: You always look at him as a teenager still, he’s so iconic, but he brings this interesting world weariness now to his parts. He’s amazing in High Fidelity doing that.
SC: Yeah, definitely. I love High Fidelity.
JM: He’s always interesting to watch.
SC: I think so too.
JM: There’s something about playing a poet too that I think actors like.
SC: I agree. And you know, he’s just an incredibly brilliant guy and a really great actor too. He brought this sense of realism to this guy. He was really just fantastic. It was like working with Daniel Day-Lewis or something. He was so available and we just got along really well. We’ve been talking about doing some other things together and I really hope that we’re able to.
JM: He’s always so good. A few years ago with Grace is Gone, he really deserved to have gotten Oscar attention for that one.
SC: Yeah, I think so too. God, he was so incredible in that film.
JM: I’m crossing my fingers that you get to work with him again. Do you have anything else that you’re working on?
SC: I do have some things with him, but my next project is going to be this movie called Chemical Pink, about a female body builder in the early 1990’s.
JM: Nice. That definitely sounds like something different, and I’m always into that.
SC: Me too.
JM: Indeed. With Adult World too, you kind of get to do something different within the realm of the coming of age story, and I appreciated that, since you do a good job of it.
SC: Thanks! Yeah, there’s these sort of rules that you have to follow, but it’s also sort of fun to play with those rules.
SC: Well thanks man! I appreciate all of the kind words and your support.
JM: My pleasure! Best of luck with the release!
That was my talk with Scott Coffey, which I hope you found enjoyable. Adult World is in theaters now and on demand too, so be sure to check it out this weekend.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!