"Hoot" Director Wil Shriner on What It Takes to Be Funny
- Tuesday, May 02, 2006
CW: What’s your favorite moment in the film?
Wil: I have two. One is the moment when the boy and his father are walking on the beach and his dad says, “Where is your good judgment?” The father plays it very stoic. He understands that he is becoming a man, and that he’s finally becoming independent in his thinking. It’s the bond that every boy and his father would love to have. I also love the scene where Brie’s on the floor and looks up and says, “I’m not going to call you Roy.”
CW: Do you have a sense of how people are reacting to the film yet?
Wil: Well, my daughter – she’s 16 – has seen it 5 or 6 times, which is the true test. But I enjoy seeing the audience react to a film. I’ve always worked live in front of audiences as a comic, and there’s something really immediate seeing people laugh. Yesterday it played in Orange County, and it really played to a lot of laughs. It’s fun when the alligator comes out of the toilet. I thought that moment had been spoiled by the trailer but there was this little old lady sitting next to me and she jumped about a foot out of her seat. That’s a great wake-up moment in any movie, good or bad. You know, when you’ve maybe just nodded off.
As a judge of where the funny is, as a sitcom writer, I know where the funny is. But it’s harder to predict the big jokes and the small jokes. Sometimes it’s the opposite of what you would think. I always wanted the big applause laughs. But I’ve learned that it’s not the volume of the laughter that matters. One audience can be very loud, another very boisterous. Unless they get up and walk out, you can’t assume they didn’t enjoy themselves. It’s just the way different audiences react to comedy.
CW: Who’s your favorite comic?
Wil: Comedy comes from point of view, and there are many different styles. I always found that pure monology [from “monologues”] is the purest. And for my money, there will never be another comic as good as Carson. I did 10 shows with him.
CW: What’s your next project?
Wil: I have a couple of movie ideas. I want to do a romantic comedy. And Carl [Hiassen] and I have some interest in making “Flush” a movie. I’m ready for a break, though. I’m moving to Florida.
Directed by Wil Shriner and starring Luke Wilson, Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson and Cody Linley, "Hoot" (New Line Cinema) is rated PG (mild bullying and brief language) and opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 5, 2006.
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