Taglines: Fighting fit.
Recently divorced, newly rich, and utterly miserable, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) would seem to be the perfect test subject for a definitive look at the relationship between money and happiness. Danny’s well-funded ennui is interrupted by a momentous trip to the local gym, where he meets self-styled guru/owner Trevor (Guy Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders). Soon, their three lives are inextricably knotted, both professionally and personally.
Writer/director Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, 2013) returns with a fun, intimate fable that’s utterly grounded in real life. As wrinkles turn into complications, then blow up into full-fledged issues, the talented ensemble keeps the pensive tone light and the complex plot breezy. The end result is a charming shaggy-dog tale that’s been hitting the gym: taut, limber, and powerful.
Director’s Statement – Andrew Bujalski
So here I am trying to make something you might call a romantic comedy. An eccentric one, to be sure—one with a who’s-the-hero-here? structure that wouldn’t pass muster with the screenwriting gurus—and one, I’d like to believe, that’s rooted in character rather than the type of caricature that has given the genre such a godawful reputation…but yes, I must confess it, Results is a romantic comedy. Could it even, perhaps, be a “crowd-pleaser”?
I’ve made four feature films (Funny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, Beeswax, and Computer Chess) and no one has ever accused me of crowd-pleasing before. Though I always intend my work to be friendly and welcoming, it has also always been quite personal and focused on the lower frequencies in human interaction, and thus never particularly sported much in the way of mass appeal. But the films have found supportive niche audiences and made real connections with viewers, which has been more reward than I could have asked.
The pressures to “go bigger” have of course been there since the start—they are well-known to any filmmaker. While I have never believed, and will never believe, that a more “accessible” movie is necessarily more worthwhile, it has always nagged at me to wonder whether I might be able to tell a more conventional type of story that could stand up alongside the pop cinema that I’ve always admired. (Scratch pretty much any experimental or indie filmmaker & you’ll find a fan of traditional Hollywood storytelling—at its best, anyhow.)
It is daunting territory. I can’t tell you how many people have quoted me Biggie Smalls’ famous mathematical proof Mo’ money, mo’ problems. We all know how many pitfalls await creativity when the budgets go up. But I wanted to take on the challenge and see how I might attempt a foothold in the marketplace without denying or diluting my own voice…Which is how I (slowly) wound my way to the story that became Results.
I love non-professional actors. I love fresh faces. They had become my comfort zone. They were also my most blindingly obvious obstacle to a wider audience. So, to build this new project, I first had to ask myself the— I suppose rather perverse—question, How do I get strong, exciting performances from people who actually perform for a living?
I started to think about actors I liked, actors I knew, and what I might want to see them doing that I could really build a story upon. I’d met Guy Pearce a couple years earlier about another project, and I’d liked him a great deal. His engagement and commitment to his work, and apparent lack of ego about it, won me over entirely, and clearly there were warm aspects of his personality that were rarely exploited on screen…Kevin Corrigan meanwhile was an actor I’d been a massive fan of since the mid-90s (Walking and Talking!) and in more recent years, had struck up a little friendship with. He is the consummate “character actor” and, in that great tradition, has had a career both founded on and limited by a surface reading of his idiosyncrasies.
These two men, besides great talent and a certain fascinating inscrutability, had little apparent in common—the square-jawed, very private Australian and the laconic Bronx indie guy—and so their images began to mingle in my head, chocolate and peanut butter, and I laughed to consider them ever sharing the same universe. What would that universe be? And how I could I construct it as to allow them to show sides of themselves that an audience might not be expecting?
Guy became Trevor, an optimistic small-businessman and true believer in the transformative power of fitness. A guy who loves all his clients and knows they can succeed even when they don’t know it themselves. And Kevin became Danny, an unlikely client, a divorced stoner who has stumbled into money and has no idea how to spend it, except, as he figures well-off people do, on this brand of “self- improvement.” Lord knows I am surrounded by such self-improvement culture here in Austin, and I have always viewed it with a mixture of admiration (some folks do commit to bettering themselves and succeed) and snarky skepticism (the rest of us bozos go to the gym a few times…and find we’d rather just sit down with a beer and some tortilla chips). I saw a lot of humor in the culture and in the trainer/client relationships.
Trevor and Danny, while wildly different spirits, were both going to be rather quiet, introverted fellows—to make this thing go, I needed to put an explosive woman between them—another trainer who works her ass off as befits her natural temperament and doesn’t have any damn sympathy the laziness or self-deception, as she sees in so many clients. Does she believe in fitness? Sure. Does she believe in the cash-cow fitness culture? Not so much. That was Kat. But who was going to play this crucial role? I had no idea. Not only did I need to find a badass with exceptional empathic skills to land this very tricky character, but she needed to slip in and be right at home alongside two guys who had the advantage of having their parts tailored for them. Enter Cobie Smulders.
Because her work had been primarily in things that are wildly, insanely successful (The Avengers & its related tentacle-movies / the 9 year run of “How I Met Your Mother”) of course I’d never heard of her. But I was almost immediately made a convert. After chatting over Skype, I flew out to L.A. to run a screen test with her—we did one take and I thought to myself, “Well, I’d better make this look professional, so I’ll make up some direction and we’ll do another take”—but I knew that I’d found my Kat…and that this strange little movie just might work. – Andrew Bujalski
Directed by: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corriga, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker, Constance Zimmer
Screenplay by: Andrew Bujalski
Production Design by: Michael Bricker
Cinematography by: Matthias Grunsky
Film Editing by: Robin Schwartz
Music by: Justin Rice
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual content and drug use.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 29, 2015