Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz
[Image: Roadside Attractions]

You might have heard, but a few years ago the United States Of America elected a President that quite a lot of people have quite a lot of problems with. 

Donald Trump’s election victory, which came just a few weeks before Thanksgiving, 2016, was undoubtedly the catalyst for millions of arguments that holiday. 

At the same time, it sparked Ike Barinholtz with the idea to write and direct “The Oath,” which follows a politically divided family at Thanksgiving shortly after the U.S. government demands that all citizens sign a loyalty pledge.

I recently had the chance to speak to both Barinoltz and Tiffany Haddish, who play the married couple hosting dinner in “The Oath,” and both were happy to explain how they avoid such disputes that are at the heart of the drama-comedy. 


First of all, though, Barinholtz openly admitted, “I will literally cry sometimes, like, ‘God dammit I am leaving my daughter to a pack of wolves that is just getting bigger.’ But at the same time you can’t let that dictate.”

“You don’t want her looking back when you are dead going, ‘Oh God. Daddy was always mad about the news.’ You have to find those moments with them and be happy with them and only them. It is finding that balance and trying to do better.”

“I like to try to change the subject and not even go there,” Haddish added. “You know your family members.”

“And if you know that this person gets really hostile about those kind of things then I try not to talk about that. But if it does go there, and things start to escalate, I try to crack jokes or I just remove myself from the whole situation all together.”

Barinholtz wasn’t always able to back of political arguments, though.  “I actually was like my character. I am getting better.”

“I was really the guy who was consuming too much news, reading every article, every Twitter thread, every MSNBC piece, Fox News piece, I was watching it all, and letting it dictate my life. I would just want to talk about it at every party and dinner.”

Barinholtz put all of this aggression and division into the screenplay, which Haddish insisted “resonated with my spirit,” even if the character of Kai was a “lot quieter, a lot more still” than she is accustomed to playing.

“But it was the family dynamic and how everyone communicated, for me it was like every family. I have lived with a lot of families and seen how families argue, and they all argue the same. All families are crazy.”

“The movie is not really about politics,” Barinholtz explained. “It is about family and them reacting to this modern, political world that we live in, which is so absurd and heightened and funny.”

“The worst thing that this comes off as liberal porn, where all the liberals are great and the red people are assholes but they learned a lesson. That’s not life, that’s not America. I really wanted to reflect what we are seeing in America right now.”

“The Oath” is in cinemas on October 12. 

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