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[Movies] Director Jim Field Smith Talks About His New Film Butter
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.04.2012

Coming Soon interviewed director Jim Field Smith about his upcoming film Butter, which stars Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene and Yara Shahidi. Here are highlights:

On what made him want to direct the film: "I think it's rare to find a comedy now that's smart and edgy and has heart that isn't a formulaic buddy comedy or like a rom-com, so there was that element of it, but also, it's very hard to find a comedy that's set in reality, it's not a CG-driven movie, it's not animation, that's set in a world no one's seen before. I think the fashion is to make movies that are about relatable things like unemployed guy can't get a girlfriend, and there's nothing wrong with that, but when you find a script that is relatable in its themes and its ambitions and so on, but the world itself is completely new, as a director that's really appealing."

On butter carving: "In the Midwest, certainly it's genuinely a big deal. We actually shot at the Iowa State Fair, it's actually in the movie, and it's real. That is a real event, let me tell you. I've been to some strange events in my time but the spectacle, the shock and awe of the Iowa State Fair, I mean literally millions of people visit the butter sculptures every year. It's a genuinely huge event, and lines of people around the block in the main agricultural hall. It's impressive. So it is a real world for the people that are involved in it, so I think that's why it works. I think you can see how Laura Pickler has lost all sense of what you would call reality, because that is her world, and she is the queen bee. Anything that gets in the way of that, for her, that's destroying her whole way of life and yet for people in the movie who are not involved in it like Julie and Ethan, played by Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry, this sort of white liberal couple. They're like "What the f*ck is this world?"

On casting Jennifer Garner: "When I came to the movie and Jennifer was going to star as Laura, that kind of led the rest of the casting process, because one of the reasons Jen works so well in the role is she is sort of America's sweetheart, girl next door, and when you read that script raw for the first time, maybe not knowing Jen's involved, it's an incredibly unlikeable character, driven and evil in so many ways, but when you read it knowing that Jen's going to play that character and when you come to shoot the movie and edit the movie and show it to people, what you appreciate through that process is she brings a huge likeability and empathy to the character and so you watch it, and you think, "I can kind of understand where she's coming from." For me, that drove the rest of the casting process and I decided that we should be subversive with the casting wherever we could. I've been a huge fan of Corddry for a long time and we'd met up quite a bit and was trying to find something to do with him. I read the script and suddenly I thought, "This guy is Corddry." We should subvert who this guy is. He's a well-meaning academic guy and I knew that Rob could do it. I knew that he had this good dramatic side to him."

Butter is available on Video-On-Demand now and will open in New York City on Friday. It will hit other cities later.


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