Bob Castrone talks about his latest film, his directing style, and his pleasure of working with an incredibly talented cast!
Hey, what’s up, everybody? This is Matt Brunhofer from FilmFad. This week the latest Chris D’Elia comedy, “Flock of Dudes,” opened nationwide in select theaters and on iTunes on Friday, September 30th.
I got the chance to interview the film’s director, Bob Castrone, and I talked to him about the movie’s origins, his background in the industry, and even asked for some advice he could give to aspiring directors and writers out there.
Full interview available down below!
Accroding to IMDB, “Flock of Dudes” is the first feature film you’ve directed, but you’ve mainly worked in television as a producer, writer, and director, how did you get your start there?
“I started in TV Production right out of college, working at MTV and then VH1. In 2005, I started a website with Brian Levin and Jason Zumwalt called thepostshow.com, where we decided to put comedic shorts on the internet and hoped people wanted to watch online videos. This was right before YouTube. We started it up, and then when people began looking to the internet for content, we already had 40 videos. Ya’ know, poorly produced and shot videos, but kind of funny, online and that really opened a lot of doors for us in the industry. We signed a deal with superdelux.com, which is a part of Adult Swim and Turner, and began making online shorts full-time. I was still working at VH1’s “Best Week Ever” during the day and making the shorts at night. Ultimately directing, producing and writing these videos kind of became a full-time job, so I was able to leave TV and come do that.”
“Well, it’s been a crazy journey. We wrote the first draft in 2007, when we moved to L.A. At the time, Brian and I were living together in New York when we started writing it. We were just a part of this group of guys that would go out all the time. Our friends would show up and then their friends would show up, and before we knew it we were just twelve dudes walking from bar to bar. And we just realized how ridiculous we looked and how impossible it would ever be to have a meaningful conversation with a member of the opposite sex.
So, we would joke about leaving our friends and breaking up with them, and that was really the beginning of the idea. Since then, since that first draft, Imagine read it and came on board and helped develop it with us. Then Lionsgate optioned it, where we rewrote it for Lionsgate for a couple years. When they decided they didn’t want to make it, Lionsgate’s Microbudget division stepped up and said they wanted to make it, so it almost happened there. Then finally in 2012, the rights reverted back to us. And we were still passionate about the project, so we decided to make it ourselves.
At that point, we had more connections out here and a little more experience. So we were able to rewrite the script and go find a producer, Aaron Kaufman, who helped walk us into a financier’s office to get us the money to make the movie ourselves.”
Nowadays, audiences don’t expect a comedy to have a genuine heart. How were you able to inject such wonderful honesty and charm into the quirky and vulgar world of “Flock of Dudes?”
“Oh, I like that question. Well, I think just from a writing perspective, I think you could put characters into any insane, kind of quirky, situation as long as their reactions are real. And I think that just coming from that base allows us to have more ridiculous moments in the movie, but grounded in a way where the characters are more believable. And they’re not celebrating this absurdity in ways that nobody I know would ever celebrate it.
So, I think that coming from this place of making sure characters were real, it also allowed us to explore more of the relationship side of how people really feel about their friends or growing up or girlfriends or potential girlfriends. That was always an important element of the movie to us. Some of my favorite movies are “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Something About Mary,” which are love stories that masquerade as big, dirty comedies.”
But then they are more realistic on top of that, to be honest.
“Right, right. Trying to do it at a studio, or at least when we were trying to sell it to studios or we were getting feedback from certain people around Hollywood, it’s funny how quickly so many of them wanted to take the heart away before anything else because it muddled what the movie was in genre terms. At least for them, where they’re used to dude movies being dude movies and a rom-com is a rom-com. Trying to have a dude movie with a romantic element, where our guys sort of care about each other, it definitely confused some people, which is why we ultimately had to make it independently to make the movie we wanted to make.”
How was it directing this incredibly talented cast, which includes Hilary Duff, Ray Liotta, Eric André, and Chris D’Elia?
“The cast as a whole, it was incredible. It was our dream cast, being able to have so many hilarious comedians and great actors working together and doing it. Ya’ know, the scenes with all the guys together was a fun… was like going on a ride where I had to remember it was my job to keep the ride on track. Because they would take it to places, because I wanted them to make the characters their own and really say the words the way they wanted to say them, but when you start letting some of the guys who are the best in the world at improve keep going, then you never know where you’re going to end up. Sometimes you’re ten degrees removed from where you started and other times it’s perfect and you’re hitting the characters jokes that you want to provide.
I mean, it was so much fun.”
It looked like a lot of fun. It looked like everybody was having a great time making the movie while they were acting in the movie.
“The crazy thing about making this movie is we shot it in 18 days. We never had any rehearsals or chemistry reads or auditions. It was really we got to set… Brett Gelman was cast the day before we started rolling, so it really was like making sure they came off like friends that cared about each other, giving them that opportunity to maybe we’d have to do a scene over and over again just so they could find their characters, because we were figuring out who their characters were while we were rolling. So it was really kind of landing in the right places in 18 days with an insane schedule to shoot 105 pages.”
It definitely worked out wonderfully. I can’t give this movie enough praise, to be honest.
“Ah, thank you!”
I was generally surprised. Like I was going to check out this comedy. Comedies have been kind of weird lately, ya’ know up and down. Then I checked this one and said, “Oh my gosh. I love how honest this movie is. It was real and I could relate to it, and I think that’s probably my favorite part about it… how I could relate to it.”
“I love hearing that. Ya’ know when you’re making something like this you never know how it’s going to go over. “
For aspiring directors and writers out there, what’s the biggest piece of advice you could ever give them?
“For writers, I would say don’t be precious with what you’re writing. I think that “Flock of Dudes” taught me how much a script evolves as you write it and rewrite it and rewrite it again for the 100th time. I meet so many writers who are scared to show somebody the first draft of their script or they’re nervous about how to finish a script. The best advice is to do it and show it to everybody you can because you’re going to rewrite 90% of it. And then maybe when you show up on set, you’ll lose a location and you have to rewrite it in that moment, which is just the real experience.
Just know it’s a living thing and that you’re going to keep on working on it. Never get to in your own head about it.
For directing… I’ll pass on a piece of advice I got which was, “Always have an answer, because you’re working with people who are coming to you with questions, and they want you to have an answer. Even if your answer isn’t right, have an answer.”
It really helped when ya’ know… because of course you don’t know the answer to everything, but if somebody who is a professional in their field making movies is asking you a question and it’s your first time answering that question they still need you to answer it. So showing indecisiveness or not having a vision is more damaging than having a wrong answer.”
So my last question is, do you have any future projects you’re excited about?
“Yeah! Bryan, Jason, and I have written a couple of other movies that we’re excited to get out there now. We’ve been waiting for this moment.
I’m the head writer of “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser” on Comedy Central, which is a show I’m super proud of. Hopefully it will be coming back soon.
Other than that, ya’ know I’m just out here. You never know what comes next in this town, so I’m enjoying this moment!”
Defintely, definitely. It’s a very well deserved moment. On behalf of FilmFad, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview me here. And once again congratulations on “Flock of Dudes.”
“You would be absolutely shocked how not busy my schedule is. But thank you so much! Thank you guys for the review. I mean that really like… my biggest concern with the movie was making sure people saw it for what it is. I know we’re going to get people that don’t get it or snobbier movie fans that don’t want this kind of movie in their life.
It’s so awesome to read a review like FilmFad. It really put us all in a good place.”
Oh that warms my heart, and I’m sure it’s going to warm my editors’ hearts as well! So I will definitely pass that along.
Once again, I want to send out a big “THANK YOU!” to “Flock of Dudes” director Bob Castrone for sitting down with us here at Film Fad and answering our questions.
Make sure to go check out “Flock of Dudes,” which stars Chris D’Elia, Eric André, Hilary Duff, Ray Liotta, and many, many more. It’s in select theaters around the nation, and it’s also available on iTunes.
You can also check out my review of the movie here.