Saturday, March 7, 2009

Check This...'Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody?'

On this week's Check this is 'Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody?', written by Miranda July and starring John C Reilly, the short tells the simple story of a questionnaire that simply poses the question, Are You The Favorite Person of Anybody?, its directed by Miguel Arteta.

Taken from here's an interview with Miranda July and Miguel Arteta discussing the concept and making of the film:
Miranda July: What happened was this: I had just finished shooting Me and You, and was waiting for my editor to finish the first rough assembly so I could begin editing. In the meantime I felt like I was in so deep with this movie stuff that I was never going to write another short story ever again. But then I wrote these three dialogues, and even though they weren’t too substantial, I felt relieved that I had produced something somewhat literary. I read them to Miguel, and he said, “I want to shoot it this weekend.” I read them through and saw that I had indeed written something more like a script than a short story. Miguel called up Mike White and John C. Reilly, and Chuy Chavez was still in town, shooting a documentary. He lived in Mexico City and was the DP on my movie and two of Miguel’s previous movies. All these casting choices were Miguel’s, and I thought they were really smart. I was especially excited to see Chuy act after working so intensely with him as a DP. Miguel also cast me and I was thrilled at the prospect of just being an actress, after writing, directing, and acting in Me and You. I remember walking away from John C. Reilly at the end of my scene and wondering if I was off camera yet. But no one yelled cut and I said to myself, “I’m just an actress, I’m gonna keep on walking until someone tells me to stop.” I walked practically to the next neighborhood before anyone noticed I was gone. And when my scene was done, I left, which was a great feeling. A few months later I saw the finished thing and realized that it was perhaps slightly crazy to have made a short movie during my one week off. But it turned out okay.

Q: Why do you make films?

Miguel Arteta: Because I’m a blunt person with blunt thoughts and staging actors within a frame is the only way I know to capture a little subtlety.

Q: Why did you want to make this film?

MA: I love Miranda’s writing. She told me that as a girl, when strangers passed her by in the street, she would picture herself as that person and then ask herself, in that stranger’s voice, “Am I someone’s favorite person?” This script is gorgeous because it makes you wonder, what is your story? What is the quality of the relationships that define you? After years of having my head up my ass, due to living and working in LA these questions were a welcome gift.

Q: In Chuck and Buck You presented a beautiful, yet fairly disturbing portrait of someone (Chuck) being someone else’s (Buck) favorite person. Is it a good thing to be someone’s favorite person?

MA: Sure. And then usually that person wants to be with you in order to create another person that might become their next favorite. It can be just another person in themselves they are looking for, someone they hope to like better. If an actual baby comes, what are your chances of remaining number one? Sometimes even your pet can steal your title.

Q: True. Is it good to have a favorite person?

MA: Yep, but it would be better if we never said it out loud.

Q: Yeah. Who is your favorite person?

MA: My favorite person is married and lives in Brooklyn.

Q: How long did it take to set up the shoot? Did you do any rehearsals? Did you send John C. Reilly and Mike White the script or did they just wing it?

MA: Miranda wrote it on a Saturday morning and we shot it the next Tuesday. I faxed the dialogue to the actors on Sunday. They said their lines word for word, except for Mike White who kept forgetting to say “My girlfriend might like one.”

Q: Miranda says that after her scene, when she walked out of frame, no one yelled cut so she just kept walking into the next neighborhood. Why didn’t you yell cut?

MA: I knew this could be the last time I directed her, so I didn’t want to yell cut

Q: That makes sense.
Check This... is a weekly feature showcasing what we at Flicks News consider essential short films to watch!

To view past shorts we showcased click here.