Jonathan Levine interview

“Music inspires you to keep making images,” director Jonathan Levine says. The director of The Wackness50/50, and the new Seth RogenCharlize Theron rom-com, Long Shot, constantly finds himself inspired by music. Whether he’s writing or thinking of the mood for a movie, music is on his mind. His love for music was evident from the start of his career with The Wackness, but his movies that followed have been packed with songs that fit just right.

With Long Shot, he was mostly inspired by music with a “nostalgic bittersweet” feeling. Even if some of those bands and artists that influenced him didn’t land a spot on the soundtrack, like Bon Iver or David Gray, they were instrumental in Levine thinking of the bigger picture. In the case of the Long Shot, he wanted to create feelings of nostalgia, so the soundtrack has the likes of The Cure, Boyz II Men, Bruce Springsteen, so basically artists Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) and Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) grew up listening to. Even those big names, though, don’t even begin to cover all the heavy hitters in the movie’s soundtrack, which also features Frank Ocean’s “Moon River” and Aretha Franklin’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Recently, Levine talked to us all about music in his latest film, as well as the music that shaped his taste, songs he’s used and wants to use in movies, his obsession with Springsteen, and more about the music a part of both his career and life.

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Jonathan Levine Interview

Put Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron in a rom-com and that’s automatically a funny combination. Long Shot goes there, but there’s also much more to it. It’s also about politics, particularly about women in politics, and about the media and journalism. The Wackness, 50/50 and Snatched director Jonathan Levine directs the script by Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah.

Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a liberal blogger who quits when conservative Wembley Media buys the site he writes for. Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Theron) used to be Fred’s babysitter, so she hires him to write speeches for her Presidential campaign. Romance does ensue, but against the backdrop of double standards for women, hypocritical self-righteousness, and classic ‘90s references.

Levine spoke with /Film by phone this week about his latest movie, which was formerly known as Flarsky. Long Shot is in theaters today.

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Warm Bodies TV Series

Remember Warm Bodies? It was the original zomcom, focusing on Nichols Hoult as a zombie known only as “R,” who is slowly becoming more self-aware and less undead-like. When he encounters a living girl (Teresa Palmer) from a nearby group of survivors, she’s the only one who sees that some of the zombies seem to be turning less monstrous as time goes on. Now the unique horror romantic comedy will get a TV series adaptation from Lionsgate. Read More »

Long Shot trailer Seth Rogen

Long Shot premiered to rave reviews at this year’s South By Southwest Film Festival. It’s a smart, funny, charming movie that features surprising chemistry between stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron – but this new trailer would like to remind you that the film also has its fair share of physical comedy.

Rogen’s character, a journalist named Fred Flarsky, takes two huge spills in this trailer that would have sidelined a normal human for the rest of the movie, so it’s a good thing Flarksy is also a superhero named Long Shot who’s invulnerable to pain! (He isn’t.) Read More »

Red Band Long Shot Trailer

Seth Rogen gets his own Pretty Woman in the form of the raunchy romantic comedy Long Shot.

The comedy from 50/50 director Jonathan Levine follows the Knocked Up star as a journalist named Fred Flarsky who gets recruited as a presidential campaign speechwriter for US Secretary of State, Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron). She needs some humor and charm to change the public’s perception of her, and Flarsky has no problem bringing that to the table. But he’s also bringing some unrequited feelings with him from when Charlotte used to babysit him as a kid. Surprisingly, romance ensues in the red band Long Shot trailer below. Read More »

The Long Shot Review

Jonathan Levine’s Long Shot is a sufficiently safety-wrapped package of vocal demands for change structured around equally predictable rom-com beats (watch the trailer). Not the worst thing in the world by any stretch of emphasis, mind you. Cutesy Hallmark signatures are traded for shared gender relationship roles, highlighting women’s ongoing strife in daily global environments while romance flourishes under often redefined subgenre frameworks. Liz Hannah and Dan Sterling’s screenplay says less about “Red vs Blue” headbutting and chromosome-focused stereotypes than perceived, but still provides a comedic outlet for strong performers who attract “unlikely” lovestruck charms.

Oh yeah, did I mention Long Shot tempts us with the idea of Charlize Theron leading America into a brighter tomorrow? As they’d say in the meme world, “You have my sword.” Read More »

Long Shot - Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen

Director Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies) is back with a new Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron comedy called Long Shot. If that title doesn’t sound familiar, you may recognize it from its earlier (and arguably more memorable) title: Flarsky. The title was changed to signify that it wasn’t primarily the story of Rogen’s character, Fred Flarsky, but more of a two-hander where Theron’s character is equally as important. “I’m only half the story,” Rogen explained. Check out the first Long Shot trailer below. Read More »

‘Coming to America’ Sequel Now Has A Director

Coming to America

After almost 30 years, an Eddie Murphy classic is about to land itself a sequel. Murphy’s 1988 comedy hit Coming to America is poised for a follow-up with a script rewrite from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and directorial duties falling to Jonathan Levine. If you’ve been wondering what Prince Akeem Joffer has been up to all these years, you’re about to find out. Read more about the Coming To America sequel below.

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Jonathan Levine interview

So far, Jonathan Levine has directed a coming-of-age movie, a zombie romance, a horror movie, a buddies night out film, a heartbreaking comedy, and now, an action-comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. With five features under his belt, the Snatched director has shown an interest and skill in making a variety of movies.

His newest film, which is written by Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters), is his biggest movie to date. Five features into his career and his priciest movie yet isn’t a comic book movie or a sequel – it’s an Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn comedy. Levine has stuck to telling mostly original and heartfelt stories. The director told us about how his previous work, including his last comedy, informed Snatched.

Below, check out our Jonathan Levine interview.

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snatched review

The world of comedy has changed vastly since Goldie Hawn’s last big-screen appearance in The Banger Sisters in 2002. Largely, comedy has progressed in the last 15 years, but Hawn’s return is not the banner occasion she deserves. Snatched, in which she plays the neurotic mother of a selfish wild child played by Amy Schumer, is mostly lazy and turgid. There are laughs stranded throughout, amidst a vast ocean of squandered potential.

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