Carrie Pilby

Director Susan Johnson

<em>Carrie Pilby</em>

Carrie Pilby

It wouldn’t be fair to constrict this film to the list of coming-of-age films about young people finding their way through the trials and tribulations of adulthood. Eighteen-year-old Carrie Pilby has already graduated from Harvard but regardless of her know-it-all-attitude, she doesn’t have a clue how to cope with any sort of relationship. The film’s witty dialogue and very real life lessons are universally resonant to any person at any age. See facebook.com/CarriePilbyTheMovie.

What inspired you to create a character like Carrie? Is any of her personality based off real people?

The film is based on the novel Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner, whom I believe has said that the character of Carrie is based off of several people she’s met over the years in New York City.

Who is the film geared towards? It’s a coming-of-age film, but a lot of her relationships are with older people.

I’m really hoping that the film is not limited to the “coming-of-age” genre. When we were developing the script, we heard from fans of the book who ranged in age from 12 to 80, men, women, straight, LGBT. The novel was published in 8 languages around the world, and I’m hopeful we can reach those fans and make the majority happy with our interpretation of Caren’s beautiful book.

What was your goal with creating this type of film?

I have judgment issues (laughs). Like so many characters with a strong moral compass (Holden Caulfield, Howard Roark, etc.), Carrie sees the world in black and white, right and wrong. She doesn’t yet know that her role in life isn’t to be the moral guardian of everyone on the planet. The concept of “acceptance” seems to come harder for some than others, and for Carrie, it rules her life. I wanted to make a film that was accessible, relatable...and if I did my job correctly, people will leave the theater with just a little more confidence in themselves and others.

What was it like working with such a diverse cast, from Nathan Lane and Vanessa Bayer to Gabriel Byrne and Bel Powley? What was the chemistry like on set?

We spent an entire year casting this film but knew we wouldn’t start shooting until we found the perfect Carrie. Bel is incredibly talented, and I was confident that she wouldn’t get lost in a cast of very accomplished actors. She’s also incredibly funny, so I knew she could keep up with the likes of Nathan & Vanessa. We only had 20 shooting days for the entire film, shot over the holidays, in New York City, and Bel was in every scene. The schedule didn’t allow for much of the cast to get to work together - or even meet for that matter. Each week was a different storyline within the film, basically, but I think I can speak for the entire cast in saying that we had a great time making this movie.

Do you believe it is possible do the wrong thing and still be happy?

That’s just it though! Who gets the final say on what is “wrong”? Happiness takes work, for most of us, and commitment. And for a lucky few on the planet, happiness is a choice. I believe that the less we look to others to be the source of our happiness, the better off we will be.

Do you have plans to release it to a wider audience?

Yes! The film comes out theatrically in the U.S. on March 31 of this year, and around the world through 2018. Please spread the word!

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