Director(s): Kirk Jones
Writer(s): Kirk Jones
Release Date(s)Dec 4, 2009 - Wide
Read our review.
Based on the 1990 Italian film Stanno Tutti Bene, Everybody’s Fine follows Frank Goode (Robert De Niro), a retired widower, as he tries to reconnect with his children. He slowly discovers that the picture of the family that his wife drew for him didn’t always reflect the reality of their situations.
After seeing writer-director Kirk Jones’ Waking Ned Devine, the producer’s new the English artist had the write touch for the film. They sent him a DVD of the Italian original.
Says Jones, “I had been looking for my first US-based project for some time but was keen to write and direct as I had done before. This would mean that I would arrive in the States with a project that I was inherently connected to, instead of attaching myself to a studio developed movie that had already passed through the hands of a dozen writers. I wanted to keep things simple and write the script alone as I had done with Waking Ned Devine.”
He adds, “Finding the right project is like buying a house, you instinctively know that it’s right for you from the start and within minutes of watching the original Italian version I had really connected with it, it intrigued me, moved me emotionally and it made me laugh. It’s such a simple, passionate story.”
Jones connected to the script and realized the universality of a father who works to provide everything for his children but in turn ends up missing the details of family life. Says Jones, “Any father can relate to the conflicting instincts that are experienced by Frank in this story; realizing he has spent too little time with his children and family because it was necessary for him to work long hours to provide security for them. It is interesting to note that with all of the technological developments in recent years, balancing work and family remains one of the most challenging dilemmas facing modern parents. Frank worked double shifts at the wire factory, leaving for work before his kids got up and returning after they went to bed. Nothing has changed, the addition of computers and email and texts and cell phones has simply promoted the idea that we are always contactable, always working, covering different time zones, never completely relaxed or focused on the importance of home and family.”
Jones knew that he wanted De Niro for the father but remembers that the first meeting was a little nerve-wracking. Recalls Jones, “I was a little nervous because I was meeting arguably one of the greatest actors to have lived but more importantly I was very aware that I would only get one shot at the pitch. Within minutes I was completely relaxed in Bob’s presence. I looked at him and knew without a doubt that he was Frank Goode, I just hoped that he realized it too.”
The meeting went well for Jones and De Niro. “I liked Kirk a lot,” De Niro recalls. “When he showed me this whole presentation of photographs, I could tell there was something special about him and that this would be a special project from the standpoint of working with him, no matter how it turned out. Then I watched Waking Ned Devine and that was it. From there, we simply figured out when we could start.”
You can see the results of their collaboration when Everybody’s Fine opens in North America on December 4th, 2009.
Read our review.