David Wain on ‘A Futile and Stupid Gesture’ and How It Landed at Netflix

     February 7, 2018

One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director David Wain’s great new movie, A Futile and Stupid Gesture. The film chronicles the life and career of National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney (played by Will Forte) and doesn’t gloss over his troubled life. If you don’t know Doug’s name, he co-founded National Lampoon with fellow Harvard students Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman and helped grow it from a local college paper to a hugely successful nationwide brand. He also worked as a writer in Hollywood on films like National Lampoon’s Animal House and Caddyshack. The film also stars Domhnall GleesonJoel McHaleEmmy Rossum, Martin Mull, Natasha LyonneThomas LennonJoe Lo TruglioSeth GreenMatt Lucas, and many other faces you’ll recognize. For more on the very funny film which is now streaming on Netlfix, read Matt Goldberg’s review.


Image via Netflix

Shortly after seeing the film I got to sit down with David Wain and producers Peter Principato and Jonathan Stern for an exclusive interview. They talked about when they first heard about National Lampoon, how the film landed at Netflix, the way the film breaks the 4th wall, putting together the killer cast, what they learned from friends and family screenings that impacted the finished film, upcoming projects, what’s the proper order to watch Wet Hot American Summer if you’ve never seen it, and so much more.

Check out what David Wain, Peter Principato and Jonathan Sternhad to say in the player above and below is a list of exactly what we talked about during the interview.

David Wain, Peter Principato and Jonathan Stern:

  • When did they first hear about National Lampoon?
  • How tough was it to get financing for the film? They reveal how it landed at Netflix.
  • The way the film breaks the 4th wall and how the film acknowledges it’s going to tell the story in a non-conventional way.
  • a-futile-and-stupid-gesture-joel-mchale-chevy-chase

    Image via Netflix

    How did they manage to get this killer cast?

  • How did they pick the scenes they wanted to recreate from Animal House and Caddyshack?
  • How long was the first cut compared to the finished film? David Wain talks about how this was a very unusual post-production process.
  • What did they learn from friends and family screenings that impacted the finished film?
  • How the National Lampoon guys were offered a show before SNL.
  • Have they talked about doing commentaries with Netflix?
  • What’s the correct order for watching Wet Hot American Summer if you’ve never seen it?
  • What was it like working with Netflix?
  • They talk about their upcoming projects.
  • What’s the last great movie they saw and the last TV show they binged.

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