Real life couple Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”) and Emily V. Gordon wrote a semi-biographical film about their unique love story. Nanjiani stars in the film alongside Zoe Kazan who plays his American girlfriend. The film features bickering parents and a serious health scare that threaten their relationship. We had a chance to interview producer Barry Mendel (“Trainwreck”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”), Nanjiani and Gordon and catch a glimpse of Judd Apatow!
How do you find the balance between work and your relationship?
Kumail: Tough question. If we bring up work at home we have to be like ‘hey can we talk about work stuff now?’ We can’t do it before it going to bed. It can get really easy to get personal and work relationships into one thing and you don’t want that. When we’re at home she can be like ‘hey can we talk about work stuff’ and the other person has to be like ‘yes we can’ and then we talk about it.
Emily: That’s a great question. We have a lot of rules. Don’t ever talk about work in bed.
This film is different kind of rom com than we’re used to seeing on the big screen is that what attracted you to be a part of it?
Barry: I didn’t even think of it as a rom-com when I started working on it I just heard Kumail tell the story of how he met his wife and there were things that were funny in it and there were things in there that were intense and challenging but it just real. I thought of it as a real story and it’s up to people such as yourself and the fourth estate to decide what it is. I was attracted to the story and thought it was a very inspiring story of love overcoming obstacles that were truly difficult to overcome.
What is like working with Judd Apatow and how has your relationship changed over the years after working on several projects together?
Barry: This is the fifth time we’ve worked together but this is the only second time that we’ve just been producing. He directed three of the films and then we produces “Bridesmaids” together and then we produced this one together and it’s been a ball. He’s fun and very creative and he really pushes you to do your best work and I like that and being pushed.
Can you tell me what Director Michael Showalter brought to the film?
Barry: Michael is a super-talented guy who you probably know his face from “Wet Hot American Summer” and he’s a great writer and director. We saw his movie “Hello, My Name is Doris” with Sally Field and we just really dug the movie and knows Kumail from way back. He knew Kumail when he was going through this experience with Emily so he has a grasp of comedy and drama and a relationship with the people who the movie is about. He also directed some episodes of “Love” for Judd. We had a fortunate amount of people we could’ve chosen to direct this film but Michael rose to the top and was the right guy for it.
How does it feel to bring this film to SXSW?
Barry: SX has been a good luck charm for us and we world premiered “Bridesmaids” here and “Trainwreck” and so we’re hoping lightning can strike three times. It seems like when people like a film here they really are vocal about it and they tell people about it and so we’re hoping people like the film and we’re hoping that if they do they will tell people about it.
“The Big Sick” was acquired by Amazon Studios and will be released by Lionsgate on June 23.
Updated to include release date and trailer.