'Big Fan' director mines untapped resource: Staten Island
Here is more stuff from my interview with "Big Fan" writer/director Rob Siegel (see post below).
(A review of the movie, which portrays an obsessed Giants fan and sports talk radio caller from Staten Island, nicely captures its vibe here.)
Siegel on whether the film might have appeal beyond indie circles:
"I like movies that make smart guys feel tough and tough guys feel smart. That's the way I look at 'The Wrester' and this. Look, 'The Godfather' is an art film. 'Goodfellas.' 'The Sopranos.'
"For dudes, New York-based stories about Italian-Americans tend to be where they get their art house fix without realizing it. That's kind of what this is.
"But it's built to play also to the indie film snobs. It subverts or just sideteps entirely certain sports movie cliches, which is on purpose.
On WFAN being an inspiration for the film:
"I love movies about guys who, the way I see them, could have been callers on WFAN. I'm a sucker for outer borough movies . . . Staten Island is an under-exploited borough for those stories."
On his decision to leave as editor of The Onion to go into filmmaking:
"I'm much happier. My gastro-intestinal health has improved dramatically. I definitely feel good about the decisions I've made."
On the fine line he walked in trying not to make the main character seem pathetic:
"I won't name names, but I don't like directors where you're watching their stuff and you get the feeling they hate their characters and they're using them as punching bags, where there's this icky, bullying quality.
"I didn't want it to be a comedy of condescension. I really do like him."
On the appeal Patton Oswalt has among Staten Islanders because of his role as Spence on the sitcom "King of Queens:"
"You walk around a supermarket on Staten Island and he's like a rock star. They call him 'Spence.' Like, 'Hey, what the hell are you doing here, Spence?' . . . It was like the Beatles just showed up."