Magazine article Screen International

Gregori Viens, 'And Punching the Clown'

Magazine article Screen International

Gregori Viens, 'And Punching the Clown'

Article excerpt

And Punching The Clown is a look into the life of a satirical songwriter Henry Phillips as he struggles to guide his way through his life.

Permut Presentations, Tilted Windmill Productions, and Whitewater Films produce the film in association with Lola's Productions, Kandoo Films & Tunnel Post. Paradigm represents worldwide sales on the film.

How did the idea of a sequel came about?

That's been around for a little while. The first movie [Punching The Clown] was kind of an underground hit. It was at Slamdance [2009]. A lot of people downloaded it illegally. Then we were on Netflix for a while. We had a nice following there. It was enough that we had high profile fans in the comedy world like Sarah Silverman and a few others. And so, after about a year or so we tried to make a series. We were working in development with a big cable network. We were excited about the idea, but ultimately we failed to make that series. It really was similar to the story of what this film is. It was our inspiration for it - the idea that somebody whose attraction is that he's losing all the time. We'll never know why we didn't succeed, but it didn't work out and it gave us the personal inspiration and momentum to say we'll make a feature and we'll base it on this. There's a lot of truth to what's going on in this sequel. Possibly more than the first one, which was about some over-the-top craziness, this one is a little more grounded in reality.

Would you say Henry is pretty much playing himself?

I would say he's more savvy in real life. But he is like this in the sense that he's not aggressive and he's not confrontational. He does perhaps tend to make mistakes - more than one. I do, too. And a lot of people I know do, too. Maybe that's why we feel close to him. He's very flawed. He's not a hero, of course. He's a comic. A road musician. A satirical songwriter. He's been on the road forever. That is his real car we used in the film.

Well, he was great in it. The whole cast was great. Was JK Simmons on board before or after his Oscar?

It was before he won the Oscar. Just before. It was at the time of the Golden Globes and all that. One of our biggest supporters in our first film was Mike Judge. …

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