Dan Fogelman has opened up about the inevitable comparisons between his sophomore film as a writer and director Life Itself and his smash hit television show This Is Us, admitting that he completely understands the connection between the two.
“Obviously there is a tonal space that I like to play in with all of my stuff. Even if it is with animated films like ‘Cars’ or ‘Tangled’ and all the way through to ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ and ‘Me, Earl and The Dying Girl.’”
When it comes to “Life Itself,” which revolves around three different generations of a family and how they’re connected, Fogelman added, “Obviously the link people will make is that there are a lot of different storylines and they’re all sort of woven together. That’s a natural comparison.”
“‘Life Itself’ was built and constructed as a film. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. I wanted to tell a story that had a finite point on it because I was making a finite point.”
“The scope of it is really big and obviously the darkness in it is really dark. Those are the differentiations.”
“People have attached it to the television show and aspects of the television show, and some people have not. It sort of becomes a litmus test for people.”
“If you watch my show and hate it you’re probably wired slightly differently than those that watch it and love it. That’s OK.”
“If that is the comparison that people will make with the film that’s OK, too. I think it is different enough that that won’t be the case. But I understand it.”
Despite his huge success and obvious proficiency with “This Is Us,” Fogelman admitted that “Life Itself” presented a unique set of challenges.
“As a writer I like to challenge myself. This is obviously a very challenging script to figure out and construct and to organize.”
“I enjoyed that challenge of figuring it out and putting the puzzle together. As a filmmaker my hope is, I got into this to make stuff that affects people.”
“You can affect people in different ways. You can make them laugh, make them scared, make them surprised. You can make them feel something emotional and cry.”
“I wanted to make a film and tell a story that people engaged with for 2 hours in a theatre. That snapped its fingers at you and says, ‘Pay attention or you are going to miss some stuff.’”
“I want it to shake you in a way that you’re not familiar with and surprise and overwhelm some people, too. I wanted to put this in a movie theatre and see how people took to it.”
You can take in “Life Itself” for yourself now, as it has finally been released into cinemas.