When most filmmakers complain about production they usually refer to budgets, lighting, getting the camera in the right position and coaxing the perfect performances out of their actors. But for Jay Baruchel the problem was much more innate, because before he could order the cast and crew of his directorial debut ‘Goon: Last Of The Enforcers’ around, he first had to come to terms with his own crippling social anxiety.
The ‘This Is The End’ and ‘Man Seeking Woman’ actor made this admission to me when I discussed ‘Goon: Last Of The Enforcers’ with him over the phone, specifically noting his own personal issues being around large groups of people. When I suggest that must have been a big hurdle for him to overcome on set, Baruchel admitted, “It really was, and for whatever reason I didn’t flag that part, and I didn’t see that one coming because I’d been on sets since I was 12-years-old and I was 33 when we shot the film.”
“Being on set is one of the few places where I am really at ease. But I realised that because I am an actor I am constantly afforded these little bubbles of privacy to sort of f*** off. As a director you’re not afforded many of those, and nor should you be. I had never experienced a blocking from the other side, which is where the whole of the cast and crew line-up and the director guides you through the scene. I’d never been the poor bugger just standing there with 100 people staring at you and waiting, and so that was the real ‘hump’ to get over.”
Baruchel admitted that he could easily handle the technical aspects of the production, not just because he has grown up on sets, but he also did a ridiculous amount of homework, too. “I was so prepared in everything except my social anxiety, so that was the biggest thing,” Baruchel freely admitted.
However, Baruchel was able to overcome these issues, creating an open set where he invited the thoughts, views, dialogue changes and shot ideas from every single member of the crew. At the same time, he made sure to learn from the “cautionary tales” he has personally witnessed during his prolonged period in show business. The result of his genial efforts, ‘Goon: Last Of The Enforcers,' is now available for viewers to behold in theaters and VOD. You can read my review of 'Goon: Last Of The Enforcers' here.