Writer/director Lorene Scafaria started her writing career by using her talent to win free pizzas back when she was in grade school. It was the first thing I asked her about when we spoke on June 14, 2012. It was a puckish start to a conversation that considered what it would be like to face the end of the world, as did her characters in SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, an unlikely but deeply moving romantic comedy. We moved on to being a first-time director, how her father’s death while writing the screenplay informed the final product, and why Herb Alpert is the best choice for the last song ever.
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD is a story about acceptance, denial, lost mail, and making every moment count as it imagines what happens to people when they know that the world as we know it will be ending in less than a month, and facing the prospect that nothing really matters anymore, or perhaps things matter more than ever. Steve Carrell plays Dodge, whose wife has left him, whose friends have become unhinged, and whose melancholy is invaded by both an abandoned dog that is relentlessly upbeat, and by his next-door neighbor, Penny, who spills the chaos of her messy life into Dodge’s quiet desperation. The three find themselves on an unexpected road trip where the shock of seeing how their fellow creatures are coping, or not, with what’s happening, is less important than the shock of how important the bond they form becomes. The film co-stars Keira Knightly, Connie Britton, Oswalt Patton, Rob Corddrey, Adam Brody, Melanie Lynskey, Gillian Jacob, T.J. Miller, Derek Luke, William Petersen, Martin Sheen, and Nancy Carrell as the wife who leaves Dodge at the start of the film. Scafaria directed from her own screenplay and this is her feature film directorial debut. Her previous work includes adapting the script for NICK AND NORA’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, writing and recording the song 28, used by Drew Barrymore for the closing credits of WHIP IT, and, while still in grade school, writing book reports on books she made up in order to win free pizzas.