Lynn Shelton has built a career around writing and directing well-received independent films such as "Your Sister's Sister" and "Humpday."
Her latest cinematic release, "Laggies," out Friday, notably finds her directing a movie script that she didn't write for the first time.
"Laggies" was written by novelist Andrea Siegel and follows 28-year-old Megan (Keira Knightley), who, after her high school boyfriend proposes to her, takes refuge in the house of 16-year-old teen Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz). It's there that she also meets Annika's dad, Craig (Sam Rockwell), a single father.
amNewYork spoke with Shelton about the film.
What drew you to Andrea's script?
I'm used to just self-generating my own material, so I wasn't looking for a script to do, but a lot of scripts just come my way and it's very rare that I feel enough of an affinity with, not only a personal connection with the content, but also an affinity with the writer's voice. I read this script and I felt like this is a movie I could have written. It seems like the things that are important to Andrea Seigel, the writer, there's a lot of things that crossover with things that are important to me. ... It's a nice balance of drama and comedy and how the humor comes out of a really character-based place.
You don't often see these kinds of films starring women.
The narrative has a female protagonist getting to explore territories that I've seen men get to do a lot -- which is basically, I guess you could reductively say a quarter-life crisis, somebody being lost and realizing, Oh, I don't know what I want to do, but I know what I don't want, which is to be in lock step with all of the people around me who are pressuring me to follow these incremental steps toward what adulthood is supposed to be, this very conventional path. ... That's the kind of journey that you find men get to explore and very rarely women.
Was it challenging directing someone else's script?
It was more of a challenge and it was more of a different experience than I was expecting. I guess the challenge was that as I read the script at first, I felt like this is so in my wheelhouse. It feels like territory I would explore. I just felt so simpatico with Andrea's authorial voice. She gave me her blessing, she wasn't all precious or hovering. ? It ends up being this blending of our two voices and so that was really interesting.
What made Keira right for this role?
Well, the Keira that I was casting, and sent the script to and hoped would say yes, was the Keira I remembered from the very first time that I saw her onscreen, both 'Bend It Like Beckham' and then not that long thereafter that first 'Pirates ' movie. I just remember being so struck by her effervescence and her physical comedy.