One of the things that I love most about the BFI London Film Festival is the interviews that they put on. They always provide great insight into the film-making process and the industry itself, as well as giving rare access to some very talented people. This year’s event continues that tradition. Last Friday night I saw Edith Bowman interview the writer, Will Reiser, about his new film ’50/50′, which is based on his experience of being diagnosed and treated for cancer. The film’s title refers to the odds of survival that Will was given.
Being interviewed alongside Will was his best friend, the very funny actor and writer Seth Rogan. Not only is Seth in ’50/50′, he also produced it with his writing partner, Evan Goldberg – which was a first for both of them.
Promoted as ‘The YouTube Interview’, Will and Seth were asked a combination of Edith’s questions, questions from the audience and questions submitted in advance by YouTube viewers, with the whole thing streamed live on the channel on the night.
The guys explained that when Will was going through his treatment, there weren’t any films that they could reference that treated cancer with an element of humour. So when Will was eventually given the all-clear, Seth and Evan pushed him to write the script. As Will talked through his writing process, it became clear that producing the first draft of the script was cathartic for him, helping him to move on, mentally, from his experience.
The banter between Will and Seth during the interview revealed how close they’ve become since they first met at writers on ‘Ali G in da USA!’, in 2004. Their shared need to see the humour in everything not only helped them through Will’s cancer, but also makes them a great comedy partnership. I couldn’t get a ticket for ’50/50′ during the Festival but from the clips that were shown it looks like it’s going to have me crying almost as much laughing when it’s finally released in the UK. I can’t wait.