From a Precocious Little Kid to Feature Filmmaker: In Conversation with Josh Lawson for the release of A Funny Kind of Love
Titled ‘The Little Death’ internationally, A Funny Kind of Love enjoyed success at last year’s London Film Festival, The International Toronto Film Festival and was screened at SXSW in March.
The film follows five suburban couples who navigate their way through the bedroom as sexual fetishes, from the run-of-the-mill to the hilariously obscure, push their relationships to new boundaries.
For Maeve and Paul, toes are just the foothold of their desires, while next door neighbours Evie and Dan are all dressed up, but will role play expose marital flaws which they can’t pretend away? Across the road, Rowena and Rich’s intimate antics bring them close to tears, while just around the corner, Phil begins an affair with his own wife Maureen, but without her realising it...
An outrageous romantic comedy exploring the secrets, desires, qualms and kinks of sex, it really is A Funny Kind of Love.
Ahead of the release of A Funny Kind of Love, writer-director Josh Lawson sat down with The Fan Carpet to reflect on his creative journey so far that took him from a precocious little kid to feature filmmaker. In an illuminating conversation Lawson discussed the evolution of the industry in contrast to his own professional growth, his thoughts on the identity of the director and confronting structural and comedic challenges with his comedic anthology feature debut...
Why a career in acting? Was there that one inspirational moment?
Well I got into it really young, and I had an agent if you can believe it when I was nine years old. So I was one of those precocious little kids who always wanted to do it.
Why did I want to do it? I went to an all boys school in Brisbane and I can remember that the only way to meet and hang out with girls was to do the musical with the sister school. So even at a young age I remember thinking: well if I can act then I get to hang out with girls; that'll be fun [laughs]. But that doesn't quite drive me today, it was just what it was to be an actor early on.
Why did I want to do it? I don't know, it is one those things that I always wanted to do. I loved making people laugh; I was the class clown I'm sorry to say, but I just enjoyed doing it and I loved comedy. I was a real student of the classics. My dad used to show us Looney Tunes, which was just vaudeville, and I used to watch The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello. This was the sort of comedy I grew up on. So I loved the classics, and yeah I was just trying to do as much of it as I could, and I never stopped. It got to a point where I was old enough that I didn't have any other skills, and so I had to keep on going and make something of it.
You talk about starting out at a young age. How has your perception of the craft and more broadly film changed over the course of your career?
Well I think as we change as human beings, and as we get older, then you are right for certain roles at certain times in your life. There are roles that I always wanted to play, but I will never get the chance to now because I am just too old. There are roles that I can't wait to play, but I can't yet because I am too young. It works both ways.
But I suppose to answer your question the thing that has struck me having been in it for so long is not how I have changed, but how the industry has changed, and how fast it is now changing. It is changing exponentially very rapidly, and the advent of the Internet has changed a lot of things. It has changed how we release films; how we watch films; how we digest them, but it has also changed how we monetize film. The business of filmmaking has changed with illegal downloads being so prevalent that it makes making money out of films a lot more difficult. It also makes theatrical releases particularly for independent films very difficult because people are not going to the cinema as much as they used to. I have done so many odd jobs to make ends meat, and one of those jobs was a projectionist. This was back before they digitized things, and so I was threading film the old fashioned way like in Cinema Paradiso. So I have a great love for film... I love, love, love it. I love cinemas and I go all the time, but I am in the minority and sadly I think I am a bit of an old fashioned romantic now, which is such a shame. I used to go to my video store when I was a kid, and I used to have a collection of VHS tapes, hundreds and hundreds of my favorite movies. And then when everything went to DVD I had to get rid of them and I all but threw them in the trash because no one wanted them anymore. It is hard for the filmmaker to keep up with the trends. But I think what I have learned is that I have to try and be as adaptable as I can be, and not to hold onto the old ways, because even the new ways are going to be old in a matter of years.
A FUNNY KIND OF LOVE HITS CINEMAS ON MAY 8