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

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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.”

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