The problem I run into when writing introductions is deciding what to include and what to leave out when listing the interviewee’s previous credits. In the case of John Krasinski and Margo Martindale, there wasn’t much I wanted to leave out (the woman has won THREE Emmys after all), leading me to crack a joke about being out of time at the end of my intro. The two went with it before we got into the mechanics of making THE HOLLARS as a film that is both wildly funny and deeply moving. While Krasinski, who directed as well as co-stars, talked about how Jim Strouse’s script was the starting point, as well as casting people who get it. Martindale talked about the buoyancy that Krasinski brought to his directing duties that allowed her to be in the moment. The duo, who bantered like the close friends that they now are, went on to talk about improv, bonding, and the power of using long takes instead of quick cuts in establishing characters.
We finished up with Martindale talking about the difference between creating a character over several episodes of a television arc, and in a feature film, and a preview of the television shows that they have coming up.
THE HOLLARS is a film about the choices we make, the unexpected jolts life hands us, and how the magical combination of pretzels and ice-cream can help soften the blow. Krasinski plays John, the prodigal son of the Hollar family who flies home from New York to his small mid-western home town on short notice when his mother, Sally, played by Martindale, has a seizure and is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Plunged into the drama that is his brother, Ron’s, mess of a life, and his father, Don’s penchant for bursting into tears, John is also coming to terms with his own failed dream of becoming a graphic novelist, his impending fatherhood, his newfound frenemy who is also his mother’s nurse, and his high school girlfriend who hasn’t forgotten him. Finding the link between comedy and tragedy, THE HOLLARS sweetly celebrates the idiosyncratic way that loving families work with, against, and around each other with sharp insight, sly wit, and enormous compassion. The film co-stars Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copely, Charley Day, Anna Kendrick, Josh Grobin, Randall Park, Ashley Dyke, and Mary Kaye Place as the relative that works for free. Krasinski directed from a script by Jim Strouse. His previous work includes nine-years as Jim Halpert on The Office, playing an environmental activist in PROMISED LAND, which he co-wrote with Matt Damon, saving a whale in BIG MIRACLE, making his feature film directorial debut with BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN, which he also co-wrote, and storming a diplomatic compound in 13 HOURS. Martindale originated the role of Truvy on stage in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, kept a heck of a secret from Meryl Streep in the film, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, on television, she plays a character very much like herself on BOJACK HORSEMAN, strategized politics on THE GOOD WIFE, handled spies on THE AMERICANS, kept a heck of a secret in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, and won an Emmy for playing Mags Bennett, a marijuana matriarch on JUSTIFIED.