The Iris Interview: David Cross on It’s a Disaster and his directorial debut Hits.

its-a-disaster

Today marks the release of the indie film It’s a Disaster on DVD and Blu-Ray in Australia. Before the end of last year, I caught up with David Cross, star of the film – alongside the likes of Julia Stiles and America Ferrera – to talk about the release of the Todd Berger helmed film, as well as David’s directorial debut in Hits, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

How are you going there David?

Yes, hello. Hi!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us down here in Australia, I know we’re a long, long way away…

My pleasure.

Are you at home at the moment? How’s the weather treating you?

Yes, I’m in Brooklyn, New York. It’s just started getting cold. But it doesn’t get too bad here. Though I have a higher tolerance than most people, especially displaced West Coast people who start bitching the minute the temperature drops below 50F.

I understand you’re feverishly finishing work on your directorial debut Hits!? How is all the production going?

It’s good! We’re winding it up… we’re in the really boring part now where we’re doing sound mix and graphics, colour grading and stuff like that. You have to do it, but for me it’s not the fun part. But yeah we’re getting ready for Sundance. So that’s in literally five weeks.

That came along quickly!

Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise actually. We were originally supposed to deliver on March 2nd, but this one snuck in under the wire so we’ve had to shave five weeks off the production time. So a lot of work at the moment…

Well best of luck with that, hopefully we’ll be talking more about it soon…

Definitely.

For now we’re here to chat about It’s a Disaster, which is being released on DVD here in Australia. Having had a chance to see it, it’s such an enjoyable script with great performances. You sort of get the feeling while watching it that you want more people to see it! Is that something that everyone involved in the production feels as well?

Yeah, well that’s what got me interested in it – the script. When that was brought to me, I had literally been back home in the US for 2 days. I had spent nine months in the UK on another project, had a great time there but really missed being home and was wanting to get back. And my wife’s friend – well, my friend too, but I know her through my wife – America Ferrera, she’s in it, and she was brought into it by Julia (Stiles), and she was the one who sent me the script.

And I told her, “dude, I JUST got back from nine months, I’m not going to LA for the next month and a half to do this.” But I said I’d read it, and two hours later I called her back and told her I was in. So, I went straight to LA and I started the process of working with the director and meeting everyone – and it was great. I really, really dug the script. I liked the naturalness of it. I liked that it was funny and how it was funny, it felt very real to me.

And then a lot of the actors who I met for the first time, I thought they were fantastic, and I’ve worked with a couple of them since on other projects. Really great… a really really fun experience.

So the film premiered in June – how has the reception been from your point of view?

For the most part good, I mean I don’t read every review by two-thirds of reviewers seemed to really like it. And maybe a third didn’t care for it that much, and then I know at least one reviewer who hated it.

There’s always one!

Yeah, and I mean hated in a way where you’re like ” wow, we saw completely different movies”. But there was only one, it was some New York publication, I can’t remember who… but for the most part people have liked it, and I think what they liked, which was the same thing that drew me to the project and you liked… that it wasn’t genius clever, but it was clever that there was this other, bigger thing that was happening, but the way that it was just outside the doors and you never had to see it. Which was good, because there was no budget to show it. But that wasn’t what it was about. It was this other idea… and I thought it was well directed, written and edited.

The end of the world topic has been successful at the box office this past year thanks to films like This is the End. This came before it… do you think anyone saw this one or heard about it and went: oh, we want to approach that subject too!

Oh no, a movie like This is the End was probably percolating as this one was being shot. Projects like that take so long from beginning to end, especially a big budget, Hollywood movie – it can be up to a two year process. Yeah I don’t think that had any influence on that.

As a lower budget film, It’s a Disaster has been given life through a Video-on-Demand (VOD) release alongside a limited theatrical release. Do you think this is a model we’ll be seeing more of?

Yeah I think so. In fact, I’m a convert to that idea, because I remember when I heard about the plans for this movie, I remember thinking that this was… I remember being disappointed. It sounded like they weren’t that hot on it. But they were saying “trust us, trust us… this is the new model.” And I was doubting it. But I was definitely proven wrong. It’s done very well that way, it was a smart thing to do. So what do I know?

It’s a Disaster is available today on DVD and Blu-Ray.