Category: CBS Films
Taglines: …Beings friends has its benefits?
Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Kazan) meet at a party while creating refrigerator magnet poetry and feel an immediate spark- but it’s not to be because Chantry lives with her long-term boyfriend. When they run into each other a second time outside a theater after seeing The Princess Bride, there’s that undeniable connection again, so they do the responsible thing and decide to be friends. They form a fast friendship where they talk about everything from movies to sandwiches to disappointing Christmas presents, exposing all of their hopes, idiosyncrasies and insecurities to each other.
As their friendship evolves from playful banter into intimate revelations, it becomes increasingly obvious that Wallace’s feelings for Chantry go deeper than he would like to admit and she may or may not feel the same way. While she starts to question her feelings for Ben in light of her growing attachment to Wallace, Wallace turns to his impulsive best friend, Allan (Driver), for help answering some questions of his own. Should Wallace and Chantry’s friendship be squashed due to budding romantic influences or can they control their desires and simply enjoy the benefits of a platonic relationship? What if staying friends means Wallace is letting the love of his life slip away? What if he professes his love, falls on his face and loses his best friend?
What If is the story of medical school dropout Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who’s been repeatedly burned by bad relationships. So while everyone around him, including his roommate Allan (Adam Driver) seems to be finding the perfect partner (Mackenzie Davis), Wallace decides to put his love life on hold. It is then that he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan) an animator who lives with her longtime boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall). Wallace and Chantry form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship.
What If (released in some countries as The F Word) is an Irish-Canadian romantic comedy film directed by Michael Dowse and written by Elan Mastai, based on T. J. Dawe and Michael Rinaldi’s play Toothpaste and Cigars. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis and Rafe Spall. It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was a nominee for Best Picture at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards, and won for Adapted Screenplay.
The Fool’s Gold Sandwich
What It Is…
Fool’s Gold Loaf is a twist on the classic PB&J that was first made at the Colorado Mine Company restaurant in Denver, Colorado. It consists of a single, hollowed-out loaf of bread coated with a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, and a pound of bacon.
Why It’s Famous…
Fool’s Gold gained notoriety through its connection with Elvis Presley and his well-publicized love of food. Legend has it that one night in 1976, Elvis and his entourage boarded his private jet and flew from Memphis to Denver on a quest for Fool’s Gold. Upon landing, they were met on the tarmac with 22 of the sweet and salty sandwiches. Reportedly, it was Chef Nick Andurlakis who hand-delivered the sandwiches that night – then going on to open -Nick’s Cafe, where Elvis’ favorite can still be found on the menu.
Fool’s Gold in What If…
It’s no secret that food brings people together. In -WHAT IF, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Kazan) instantly bond over their fascination with the legend of Fool’s Gold, exchanging in witty, playful banter that becomes a staple of their friendship. What starts as a fun inside joke between two friends soon becomes a -token of something more as they are forced to realize the undeniable chemistry they share.
How to Make Your Own… Ingredients:
1 loaf of Italian white bread
1 jar of creamy peanut butter
1 jar of jam
1 pound of bacon
1 stick of butter
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F
2. Coat the loaf in butter, then bake it until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes
3. While the bread is browning, fry the bacon until crispy, then drain
4. Slice the loaf in half lengthwise and hollow out the inside
5. Fill the bread with an entire jar of peanut butter and an entire jar of jam
6. Arrange the crispy bacon slices on the sandwich. Cut and enjoy!
** Serves 8-10 people or one Elvis…
The Cast and Characters
Wallace is warm-hearted, overtly cynical but quietly romantic. His mind is a bottomless reservoir of anecdotes, observations, and semi-absurd theories. He dropped out of med school and now writes software manuals in a fluorescent-lit cubicle -not exactly what he imagined he’d be doing, career-wise. He believes in love, fate and doing the right thing – even if none of those things have paid off for him so far. He believes love is not an excuse for acting like a jerk – he’s not a fan of lying and cheating and manipulating and hurting other people. His heart got broken not too long ago but he’s getting over it – or at least trying. Wallace can talk for hours with strangers and is never at a loss for words, but he’s never met anyone with whom he likes talking more than Chantry.
Daniel Radcliffe relates to the character of Wallace as well as the wit and heart of the story. -One of the reasons I was so keen to make this film is in a part of the script Wallace corrects Chantry on her pronunciation of a word. At that point I knew I liked this guy, says Radcliffe of his character. -He’s slightly reclusive and not really that social but he very much wants to be included. He’s a very sweet guy but a bit misguided in the way he views relationships as black and white but that’s kind of an interesting thing about him. He’s an interesting, complicated and also very funny guy.
As romantic comedy is a new genre for the acclaimed but ever-versatile actor, Radcliffe was excited about jumping into the role. -Usually when I make a film there is always one scene where my character breaks down and has some terrible thing happen to him and with this film there wasn’t any of that, says Radcliffe. -It’s a lighter film for me – not necessarily emotionally – but in terms of the depths of pain and agony I have to go to. It was very enjoyable – I hope to do more comedies in the future.
I think Dan’s performance in this movie is really going to blow people’s minds, says Mastai. -He’s so funny and charming, emotionally open and quick-witted. I’m excited for the audience to see what he can do in this film – it’s such a juggernaut of a comedy performance. Dowse is equally excited about Radcliffe’s performance. -I think he’s totally accessible, beautifully flawed and immediately likeable as an actor, almost like a young Jack Lemmon, Dowse says. -People inherently end up rooting for him. Also like Lemmon he has the ability to mix comedy with great dramatic chops. It’s a rare combination in an actor. I think just how funny he is in this film will be one of the biggest things people will take away from the film. He’s great both with the scripted comedy and standing on his own two feet improvising.
The girl Wallace falls for is Chantry -a sweetheart, with an engaging curiosity and an off-kilter sense of humor. She can be a little antisocial, but when she loosens up and gets comfortable with someone, she can talk all night. She works as an animator, her dream job. Her life is great -if only everything would just stay exactly the way it is, but life keeps changing. She’s been in a serious relationship for five years with Ben -which is wonderful, mostly. But relationships, even wonderful ones, can get insulated. She didn’t realize how much she needed a little jolt of new friendship until she met Wallace.
Zoe Kazan, a successful screenwriter in her own right (Ruby Sparks), was immediately attracted to the comedy and sentiment in Mastai’s script. -In addition to being funny, I thought the writing was really balanced in terms of how it looked at the men and women in the story, she says. I immediately thought there was something special about the script. On playing the character of Chantry, she adds, -I think Chantry is a very likable person in that she has a black and white way of looking at the world. She’s not very ambiguous in the way that she thinks about her friendships, work or relationships. Because of that, other people rely on her – she’s more of a giver than a taker. She is also very honest and prides herself on that. She’s the kind of person I would want as a friend. I’m more of a grey zone kind of girl so it’s interesting to me to get to play somebody who looks at the world in such a different way.
In the film, Wallace and Chantry find themselves stuck in the occasionally tricky friend zone. -I think Chantry experiences something that might be familiar to a lot of girls – you meet a guy and you can tell that they like you and then you have a weird responsibility that no one talks about – how to handle it gracefully if you’re otherwise involved with someone, says Kazan. -I think Chantry feels a connection with Wallace right away. I think she wishes she had handled it better after the fact but I don’t think that she feels like she’s done anything wrong.
– Zoe has a great physicality to her that I love, says Dowse. -She’s really funny and smart. She’s also a screenwriter so she understands the story and process of making a film. There is some great improv that happens between Dan and Zoe that I think audiences will find really funny.
-Dan and Zoe together are even better than I imagined these characters to be, says Mastai. -They bring so much to the parts – they’re both so open. The vulnerability and intensity of their performances is more than I could have hoped for.
Ben, Chantry’s long-term live-in boyfriend, is sharp, grounded, thoughtful, and ambitious. He’s a genuinely good guy who wants to make the world a better place and sees his future with Chantry in it. He kind of seems perfect – but is he perfect for Chantry?
-I enjoyed playing the other guy’ in this film, says Rafe Spall of his character. -Sometimes the other guy in romantic comedies can be so unlikeable. As far as antagonists go, Ben is difficult not to like. He truly is a three-dimensional character who really loves his girlfriend.
Adam Driver plays Allan, Wallace’s best friend, who introduces Wallace to his cousin, Chantry. Allan is brash, opinionated and never hides what he wants. He goes after it, damn the consequences, and always says what’s on his mind – especially if it’s not what his best friend Wallace wants to hear.
-Allan is such a fast kind of paced character, someone who has kind of a strange code of ethics and who falls in love and is very committed early on, says Driver. -He draws these really weird comparisons and his mouth kind of operates a little bit faster than maybe his mind does.
-Adam Driver really brought his own sense of humor to the part, which is amazing, says Dowse. -Adam, the complete opposite of Dan, belied a great closeness and became a somewhat unreliable sounding board for this character. With Adam and Daniel’s characters, it’s a college roommate type of thing. It’s a last opportunity for people of different backgrounds to collide and stay friends. They are opposite in most ways but similar in their own way – they share a sense of humor and in some ways a common outlook on life. Together they’re hilarious.
Mackenzie Davis plays Allan’s passionate girlfriend, Nicole. Maybe everyone else is uncomfortable talking about what’s really going on with Wallace and Chantry, but not Nicole. She’s found her man in Allan and wants everyone else to be as happy as she is. She calls it like she sees it and she sees immediately that Wallace’s feelings for Chantry are anything but casual. -The Nicole/Allan story works as a foil to the Chantry/Wallace relationship in that they adopt an almost hazardous approach to following your heart – they are confined neither by convention nor morals in following what they want while Chantry and Wallace are almost crippled by their obligations to people external to their feelings for each other, – says Davis.
-I think both couples act in the extreme, with the healthiest approach being the average of their relationships. Davis was initially attracted to the project because she enjoys that WHAT IF is a romantic comedy that resists any expected outcome for Chantry and Wallace to get together – it keeps you guessing until the very end. -It’s a pretty realistic portrayal of a relationship that feels very romantic even while admitting that things are not propelled by feelings alone, she says. -Sometimes you have to wade through the mud and deal with the casualties. In contrast to the slowly developing Chantry/Wallace pairing, the Nicole/Allan relationship progresses at Mach speed and is so passion-fueled that it almost scares them. -They have a very instant carnal connection that, I think in their minds is beyond words, that it’s very guttural and carnal and that’s the only way that I think they express it, says Driver.
The actors dove right in to playing the intensely passionate couple. -Adam Driver is so funny and wonderful in this movie and really bizarre, says Davis. -He’s so smart and such a good actor and it was such a wonderful experience to get to work with him and improv with him and, laugh and have him make me laugh all the time. Driver was equally appreciative of his on-screen girlfriend. -Mackenzie is beautiful and very smart and very good. She’s very focused, free and comfortable, he says. -Our first day that we met we hadn’t even been introduced until we shot that scene at the karate match where we’re like fully in our relationship, just making out like crazy, says Davis. -And so we kind of had to forgo any formal getting to know you phase and just be like, Well, we’re in it.
Dalia is Chantry’s flirty, sardonic little sister. She is hyper-protective of her big sister but also just a little competitive with her and is always looking for the next rebound from the last romantic disaster. Dowse credits Megan Park for bringing a specific mania to Dalia that acted both as a threat and a cautionary tale for the single life.
-I loved Dalia, and when I first read the script I really understood her. I think she’s really hot and cold like a lot of people in their early 20s, says Park of her character. -She’s a bit more sarcastic and darker than Chantry. She loves her sister and wants the best for her but she’s also there to challenge Wallace. She’s really funny – I loved playing this part. Dowse was blown away by the overall level of comedic and dramatic talent in the group of actors who make up the core cast. -Each character drew different things out of Wallace and Chantry, he says. -Their individual relationships with the could-be couple reveal unique sides of the story and create many memorable moments in the film, both touching and hilarious.
Directed by: Michael Dowse
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Jemima Rooper, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Meghan Heffern
Screenplay by: Elan Mastai, T.J. Dawe
Production Design by: Ethan Tobman
Cinematography by: Rogier Stoffers
Film Editing by: Yvann Thibaudeau
Costume Design by: Lea Carlson
Set Decoration by: Mary Kirkland
Music by: A.C. Newman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, including references throughout, partial nudity and language
Studio: CBS Films
Releas Date: August 1, 2014