Lawrence Sher Reveals Why He Chose ‘Father Figures’ as his Directorial Debut

     December 20, 2017


Lawrence Sher has cut his teeth working as a cinematographer with writer/director Todd Phillips on each of his films (The Hangover trilogy, War Dogs, Due Date); yet Sher’s directorial debut, Father Figures, is a far cry from Phillips cynical and biting style. Instead the film follows more the Judd-Apatow route – raunchy, crude humor on the surface hiding a sweet saccharine streak underneath. So, yes, on the surface Father Figures is about two twins (Ed Helms & Owen Wilson) testing a group of men who may or may not be their father because their mother slept around a lot; but underneath such a crude set-up lies the heartfelt message that the family you ‘choose’ runs far deeper than mere blood.


Image via Warner Bros.

In the following interview with director Lawrence Sher, he reveals why he chose Father Figures as his directorial debut, how the script changed during development and how many incidents in the film are taken directly from his real life. For the full interview, watch above.

Lawrence Sher:

  • What was it about Father Figures that made Lawrence Sher want it to be his directorial debut?
  • Has Sher ever lied to his family or children?
  • How much did the script for Father Figures change once Sher came on board?
  • Sher reveals how the train crash sequence in the film is based on a real life experience.

Here’s the official synopsis for Father Figures:

Owen Wilson (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Zoolander 2”) and Ed Helms (“The Hangover” films, “We’re the Millers”) star in the Alcon Entertainment comedy “Father Figures,” marking the directorial debut of veteran cinematographer Lawrence Sher (“The Hangover” films).


Image via Warner Bros.

Wilson and Helms are Kyle and Peter Reynolds, brothers whose eccentric mother raised them to believe their father had died when they were young.  When they discover this to be a lie, they set out together to find their real father, and end up learning more about their mother than they probably ever wanted to know.

The film also stars J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”), comedian Katt Williams, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-actor Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames (the “Mission Impossible” films), Harry Shearer (“The Simpsons”), and Oscar nominee June Squibb (“Nebraska”), with Oscar winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”), and Oscar nominee Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) as the twins’ mother.


Image via Warner Bros.

Sher directed from a screenplay by Justin Malen (“Office Christmas Party”).  The film was produced by Academy Award nominee Ivan Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Ali Bell (“Draft Day”), and Academy Award nominees Broderick Johnson and Andrew A. Kosove (“The Blindside”).  Serving as executive producers were Tom Pollock, Scott Parish, Chris Cowles, Chris Fenton, and Timothy M. Bourne.

Sher’s behind-the-scenes team included director of photography John Lindley (“St. Vincent”), production designer Stephen H. Carter (art director, “Birdman”), editor Dana E. Glauberman (“Draft Day”), and two-time Oscar nominated costume designer Julie Weiss (“Frida,” “Twelve Monkeys”).  The music was composed by Rob Simonsen (“Foxcatcher”).


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