Justin Long plays a man hunting for love in "A Case of You." Credit: Getty Images
Justin Long is on a mission to restore the good name of romantic comedies with "A Case of You," a film he produced, co-wrote and stars in about a guy (Long) glomming on the Facebook-posted interests of a girl (Evan Rachel Wood) to woo her. And since Long is calling the shots here, he and Wood won't be standing back-to-back on the poster.
As a producer, co-writer and star, you're wearing many hats here. I would imagine the writing came first?
Yes, the writing came first. [Laughs] Once it looked like it was taking some sort of shape that people were responding to, that's when I set about to maybe get it made, and we became producers. And I realized why producers always seem so stressed out and anxious. [Laughs] And then we shot it. We raised the money, and I acted in it.
Yes, I noticed. What was it about this point in your career that made you want to take on writing and producing as well?
I'd been reading a lot of the same thing, and I just felt like it was time to exercise a little bit more control over what I was doing. Writing and producing seemed like the best way to do that. They're also not making the kind of mid-level movies that they used to make. And I love smaller stories and realistic, independent movies, and so I just felt like I wanted to have a more integral part in attempting to make things like that.
I don't want to call this a "romantic comedy," in case that's a pejorative…
A pejorative, yeah. [Laughs] The unnecessarily expensive ones that all have some sort of heightened conflict, that all look really nice but sort of plastic-y — I think those are the ones that have made that term pejorative. I call them "back-to-backers," when the poster always has two people back-to-back, and the guy's pointing at the girl like, "I don't know about this one!" And the girl's like, "Are you kidding me with this guy?"
What was your approach to avoiding that with this film?
I know it's such a cliche answer, but we did truly just try to write what we know. We wrote about a conflict that seemed like it could be relatable with the advent of social media and dating. Certainly when we started writing it that was very fresh. [Laughs] I think it continues to be. It's really changed the playing field introducing tools like Facebook and Instagram. It's just going to change the whole thing. Human interactions are just going to be completely nullified. On one hand it's kind of useful — you can save a lot of time, maybe? Because it does take time to go on dates. That's a night of your life. Those are very precious hours. [Laughs]