Ruby Sparks Cast and Crew Interview
Ruby Sparks Cast and Crew Interview
The stars of Ruby Sparks, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, were joined by the film’s co-directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton to talk to View about the writing, acting and creation of the remarkable comedy drama. They explained to View’s Matthew Turner about the artistic processes that the film went through, as well as the casting, the acting and the writing that helped the film to evolve from script to a successful film onscreen.
'Falling in love is an act of magic'. Where did that line come from?

Zoe Kazan

I don’t know. That part of the movie we talked about so much and I have no idea how many drafts there are. I don’t even have that text in my draft that’s on my computer. I think I wrote it via Skype to you guys or something. I think it just came out of the ether to me, to be totally frank.

Valerie Faris

I actually remember when we were having that phone conversation. I think Jonathan and I were having a long speech about what it needed to be and what it needed to say and then I realised there was a long silence on the other end and then she was like, 'I think I have it! I'll call you back!' And then you wrote that.
Paul, until now, no-one had any idea of your aquatic skills. What was it like filming the underwater scene?

Paul Dano

Well, that was, I think, partially Jonathan and Valerie's idea or enhancement of the script, and I have to admit that when I first heard it I was like, 'What? What is this? We're going to have an underwater sort of almost a dance in the pool?' and I thought, 'How is this going to work?' and then Jonathan and Valerie showed us, standing on a platform, what they were thinking and needless to say, that little dance was very inspiring, it was actually one of the funniest things I've ever seen. And so, I even further thought, 'Okay, now I really don't know if this is going to work' and then Zoe and I got in the pool together and I was just trying to keep up with Zoe. And that was one of the things, when I first saw the film, I went, 'My God', you know, 'don't ever judge a book by its cover', because I thought it was very beautiful and had a wonderful spirit to it and then Jon and Val added the voiceover and this music to it and it ended up being so romantic and tragic and it's one of the most beautiful bits in the film. So, you know, I'm a fool.

Jonathan Dayton

I have to say, I really feel for actors, because there's such a leap of trust when you put yourself in a film and you don't really know how it's going to be put together and how it all will look in the end, so I appreciate that.
I imagine that it's a big positive to be a married couple and to be working together on a film like this. Can you take us through all the plus points?

Jonathan Dayton

Well, I was very glad to have a partner on this film in particular, because obviously it explores a lot of gender politics and it was such a luxury to not have to represent the opposite sex - there were representatives around me and beside me.

Valerie Faris

I think we've worked together our entire careers and we're the kind of people that like to mix work with personal life. There are clear divisions between the different aspects of our lives, but working together keeps us closer, yeah. It's not like that for everyone.
Zoe, at what point in the process did you realise you’d made an incredible declaration by sending out a public love letter to your other half [Paul Dano]?

Zoe Kazan

Well, I’m still dealing with the ramifications of that! I’m glad you read it that way. It was a lot of pressure to put on a relationship actually. We had been together for four years when we made this and it’s a long time to be together, but it’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things. So, I’m just glad we came through it and it made the relationship stronger. It could have done the opposite.
This film deals so eloquently with those elements of wish fulfilment, fantasy and reality and yet it’s far easier said than done; how did you all manage to walk such a fine line to make us care and yet adhere to the internal logic of the story?

Zoe Kazan

I want to credit Jonathan and Valerie for a lot of that. It’s easy for me to conceive of something like that, because for whatever reason, that’s how my brain works. So, I saw the internal logic of it, but when I started to show it to people, a lot of people said, 'Well, how do you intend to shoot the fantasy stuff?' And I would think, like, 'Mmm, I don’t think they were speaking the same language'. But when I brought the script to them [Jonathan and Valerie] they saw the same movie that I did.

In fact, I think they saw a better movie than I did and when we started talking about it, that was one of the most important things that we talked about. How do we keep it real and grounded and let the emotional content of the movie sing by not burdening it with a lot of fantasy elements? I rewrote the movie for nine months under their care and during that period of time that’s where a lot of the work was, in creating that balance.

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Content updated: 20/04/2019 01:28

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