For years, we’ve been hearing about the digital-versus-analog divide.
In “Kodachrome,” out Friday, Jason Sudeikis plays Matt, a struggling A&R executive who’s stuck between these two avenues personally and professionally. Matt’s trying to keep his head above water in a fractured industry, and it all eventually catches up to him when his estranged father’s nurse Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) shows up at his doorstep to tell him his father has terminal cancer.
After this reveal, Matt is persuaded to take a road trip with his photojournalist father (Ed Harris) and Zoe to develop rolls of Kodachrome film before the last standing lab closes for good. What results is a touching father-and-son story wove through the memories that photography and music evoke in these characters.
Jason Sudeikis spoke with amNewYork about his own memories about music and photography.
I loved how the film dives into how music is an entryway into someone’s past.
100 percent — that connected with me. The line that Lizzie has, that you can tell a lot about someone by the music they listen to. It’s one of the nice things about art. The art that you appreciate is a permanent tattoo on your soul and psyche. It defines you in a way that you don’t realize in the moment, but then when you look back at someone’s DVD collection, you say, “Oh, so you were a really dark kid.”
If you were filling a time capsule with records or CDs, what would people find in there?
It’s pretty darn eclectic and I have my friends and parents to thank for that. My mom’s car was show tunes — “Dreamgirls,” “La Cage aux Folles” — and my dad’s car, it was Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bruce Springsteen. In my own headphones, it was hip-hop until I fell in love in high school and it became Harry Connick Jr. and Frank Sinatra. If I had to be specific, Harry Connick Jr.’s “We Are in Love,” Ben Folds’ “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” Eminem, or Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill,” and Kanye West’s “808 & Heartbreak.” Some albums will always be time capsules.
Any significant memories that come to mind with those albums?
There’s no artist that I’ve seen more in concert than Ben Folds, but the thing about him is that I realized I’ve been a fan of his since I lived in Kansas, and then Chicago and New York. So he was a musical older brother to me without me realizing it. He would have an album come out, I would listen to it, and it wasn’t until three years later that I had a little more life experience that I really understood that he meant. Getting to know him, he’s a lovely guy to talk about music with. It’s a very profound moment when you think you have a song like “Cologne” on lockdown and the fella that came up with it reveals it’s not at all what it was about.
You have photography in common with the film. You shoot with a Leica, so when did you get into photography?
I always loved it. The first Leica I got was the Leica Monochrom. I checked it out and that was the one. It was the first time feeling a Leica in my hand, and I was marveled by its compatibility with 100 years of lenses and the whole culture behind it. It was astonishing the quality of the photographs outside of my questionable ability. When I was taking pictures, I said, “Jiminy Christmas, this little camera is a work of art!” It’s been a fun discovery process.
So, you’re on the analog side vs. digital?
Well, it all coincided with this part of me that started to play pinball more than video games. I started buying more vinyl. I’m all for technology and the advancement in it, but I like the delayed gratification of the things I grew up with.
The photography community is so huge and there are meetups and forums that bring people together. We see that community in the film. Is that something that appeals to you about photography?
I’m a benefactor in those communities in all the endeavors that I self-teach, whether it’s pinball, cameras, sneakers. Those forums that you’re talking about — and those groups of people that find each other and are so open to helping people — I’ve lurked on all of those and learned numerous things from people about photography than I’ll ever know.
You’re back on “Last Man on Earth.” Did you know Mike was going to make an appearance, considering he was believed to be dead?
I knew I wasn’t dead. Will [Forte] is one of my best friends, but he’s also one of the most original, dark, comedic minds that I’ve ever had the luxury of working with. He left it open-ended and so I was like, hey when the call comes, I’ll be ready to do it. It finally did and I just follow his lead and try to keep up with him.
“Kodachrome” is now playing at The Landmark at 57 West and is streaming on Netflix.