David Gordon Green on Why He Casts Comedic Actors for Dramatic Roles


David Gordon Green has had a perplexing career as a director.  After winning critical acclaim for dramatic films like George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, and Snow Angels, Green made a complete change and directed a string of comedy films (Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter) and episodes of Eastbound & Down.  While his latest film, Prince Avalanche, stars a comedic actor in Paul Rudd alongside Emile Hirsch, it seems to strike a perfect balance between his earlier dramatic films and later comedies.  He spoke to The New York Times about why he feels comfortable with comedic actors.

Green admits, “I usually cast comedic actors, even in dramatic films.”  He explains why he tends to do so by pointing out, “I can relate to people who are drawn to comedy, and I can work really well with them. Avalanche was written and designed to be a movie that could cost as little as it could, and so that was part of the creative challenge but also part of the reward. There was nobody going to their trailer between setups, so we’re sitting in chairs, cracking jokes. It was like summer camp.”

He adds, “And the beauty of comedians is — and sometimes we accept it more than in others in terms of their career transitions — that there are these great notes of accessible emotions. Sometimes it’s anger, sometimes it’s sadness, and sometimes it’s absurdity, these little moments of tenderness beyond just making us laugh. I like having an actor that’s so comedically respected like Paul, and an actor that’s so dramatically respected like Emile, and then really throwing a curveball to the crowd in terms of who’s doing what.”

Leave a Reply

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Star Timothée Chalamet: “What scares me is being boring”
"At a certain point I was able to come to grips with the idea to just 'be.'" - Timothée Chalamet
‘Phantom Thread’ Star Lesley Manville: “It’s so easy to make someone bad look good on film. In theatre, there’s no hiding place”
"Filming is different. You’re getting a moment right. You can go in and create something very good, very quickly. That’s a different challenge to having five, six weeks to rehearse a play.” - Lesley Manville
Chadwick Boseman on ‘Black Panther’ and How He Refocused His Career
"As soon as I came to L.A., things immediately shifted for me." - Chadwick Boseman
Bernadette Peters on Returning to Broadway and Why She is Still Trying to Improve Her Craft
"You have to do your best to fulfill the role, not fulfill yourself" - Bernadette Peters
Ellen Pompeo: “Acting, to me, is boring”
"Anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that's a f*ckin' skill." - Ellen Pompeo