April 14, 2018 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
“Boy Band” is not a film about the Jonas Brothers or *NSYNC. “It’s a movie with drugs and cyborgs and Questlove playing an alien,” says Joel Moss Levinson, the film’s director. But despite all that, he says, “it’s actually got a core of emotional honesty.”
Just from that explanation, you probably get the idea that Levinson is a funny guy. This movie, which he made with his brother Stephen, shows people “what we could do when our sense of humor was given a chance to breathe,” he says.
No sibling rivalry here. The two complement each other. “Stephen is a writer, I’m a director,” says Levinson. “He continues to try to come up with spur-of-the-moment jokes, I try to incorporate them into what we’re shooting. We’re really lucky that our dynamic lines up so well.”
[This project] “was a dream come true,” he continues.
Yes, audiences will laugh while watching the film. But there is a serious side. Levinson says that the film is an “allegory for the evolution we are all as men facing in the 20th to 21st century transition.” He explains that things that worked before (in the 20th century) “don’t cut it anymore, and we have to evolve if we want to survive in the 21st.”
It’s a struggle, he says “as we attempt to become better representatives of our gender.”
He sees a bit of himself in the film’s characters. “I, like a Boy Band member, was continuing to do things into my thirties … without really evolving and doing it for diminishing returns, just like them.” Decision time—either continue doing the same old thing, or try something new, even if it means stepping out of the comfort zone.
The film takes place in Dayton, Ohio, where the Levinson brothers grew up, and nearby Yellow Springs, where Levinson lives now. Two cities, Levinson says, that “are filled with wonderful, creative people, dirt cheap locations, and other total awesomeness I was excited to showcase.”
He wanted to prove a point, that “there are different kinds of comedy movies that deserve to get made, and they don’t all have to be funneled through the executive decision making of Los Angeles or New York.”
Bonus—shooting in Ohio stretched the budget two to three times further.
Since Dayton is about a four-hour drive south of Cleveland, the Levinson sibs will have friends, family, investors, cast, and crew driving up for the World Premiere screening here.
Levinson admits that during the screening, his nerves may be evident, “until I hear the first laugh,” he says. “After that, I’ll relax and just ride it.”
He’ll be paying attention to what jokes get laughs.
“Here’s hoping it makes people laugh and brings them along for a very weird ride,” he concludes.
—Anne M. DiTeodoro
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