Sundance Interview: John Wells, Director Of The Company Men

When I hear the name John Wells, I think of paramedics hurriedly rushing onto the scene of an accident, arriving just in time to barely save someone's life. I fondly recall verbose walk-and-talks in the halls of the Bartlett White House. And I remember following the romantic lives of skilled doctors in a Chicago E.R. In short, this man is partly responsible for some of the most thought-provoking, thrilling television ever produced.

Wells directed a movie called The Company Men that premiered at Sundance this year. With an all-star cast featuring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones, The Company Men follows the lives of three men as their company is torn apart amidst a recession. The film is a personal portrait of job loss, and while its scope is relatively small, the talent of the performances is not. Affleck, Cooper, and Lee Jones all manage to cpature the pain and humiliation of economic struggle with pathos and humor. The stories feel personal and subtle, even to a fault; few things particularly "dramatic" happen during the movie, and while the film can occasionally feel aimless, its depiction of joblessness also feels deeply rooted within vagaries of our reality. Thus, while there were no helicopter crashes or gun-shot wounds in The Company Men, Wells proves that as a director, he can smoothly make the transition to film (a medium he's already very familiar with as a producer) and tell a story with nuance and skill. You can click here to hear a couple more thoughts about the film or watch the film's trailer.

After the break, I chat with John Wells about what inspired him to make The Company Men, true stories of job loss, and whether or not The Company Men is really an independent film.

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