Addicted To You: Mike Cochnar Interview. Sex addiction is a serious issue but as writer/director Mike Cochnar explains, his new comedy Addicted to You handles it not only uniquely but cleverly.
You only need to do a quick google search to see just how much of a real problem sex addition is – -but I don’t believe it’s ever been the subject of a movie before. Has there been any?
In general, our movie is unique in how we tackle the subject of Sex Addiction. There are a few films and tv shows that take a stab at it in various ways. Love on Netflix is a great example of this. They sort of showcase it as a subplot to the main story line. In Addicted to You, we use sex addiction as the crux of the entire film, though our main character’s addiction is entirely wrapped up in a giant lie.
What did you learn about it during the scripting process?
Addiction is a very serious subject. We did a lot of research on addiction, sobriety, and the struggle that everyday people go through on a daily basis. We also were given advice from friends who were familiar with addiction first hand. It was important to have that understanding so we could keep our characters grounded in reality.
This is a comedy though, first and foremost, but the themes are handled really delicately and respectfully too. That was obviously important to you?
Yes. Knowing that the theme was sort of a trigger wasn’t an accident. But, we also wanted to be respectful. The character arc of our protagonist starts off as a very shallow man. But as the story moves forward, you start to see him change in a profound way. So, even though he isn’t a true sex addict, his life ends up changing because of the influence the group has on him. So, how do you make that funny? A great line from Judd Apatow is, “people should look at comedies as dramas, when they’re writing”, and that is very true. We focused on the characters, their goals, the dialogue and the relationships. The jokes came in later. And we did a lot of joke revisions.
When did you begin working on the film?
I had been working on the screenplay for a while by myself. We started getting serious about it in 2016 when I brought a few of the key players into the fold. This included my eventual co-writers Choni Francis and Steev J Brown. By the end of 2016 we had a full script in hand and teamed up with our eventual producer, Rebecca Herrick.
We cast the film in the beginning of 2017 and were shooting in the Fall. Because it was a side gig for all of us, the post process took the longest. We spent over a year editing the film. In 2019, we entered the film into festivals and were able to win a few awards, including Best Comedy Feature at the Silicon Beach Film Festival where we had our West Coast Premiere in June of 2019. Since then, we have been prepping it for its digital and DVD release with our distributor, Leomark.
Any filmmakers inspire the tone of the flick?
I mentioned Judd Apatow before. And he is by far one of the most influential filmmakers for me. At the end of the day, we made an indie Seth Rogen movie with a fraction of the budget.
Did you frame or shoot certain scenes as a homage to those films or filmmakers?
With us making a bromantic stoner comedy turned romance, we absolutely wanted to not only play with some of those classic norms, but it was oddly important to include a few shout outs to the comedy movies that came before us. For example, we have a weed smoking montage that turns into a crazy animated acid trip. We also show male nudity, which is obviously important to the plot. Haha.
There is one scene in particular where we throw in joke after joke referencing rom com films as sort of a nod to those classic movies. One of my favorites was, “did you wake up today realizing your life was being directed by Rob Reiner?”. Also, our entire first scene in the film is a shout out to Say Anything, where John Cusack holds up the boom box. Our protagonist, Luke, mimics this move as a kid and gets his heart totally broken by rejection. It’s one of my favorite scenes.
The film features three amazing performances – if any of the actors break out after this who do you predict it’ll be?
I have no doubt that a lot of our talent will do amazing things. I was so pleased with the cast that we pulled together and the chemistry they had on screen. First of all, Warren Burke who plays Mr. Adams in the movie is an absolute force of comedy. He’s brilliant and always “on”. He has already started blowing up with a Netflix show and stopped returning my calls… just kidding!
Cat Alter is one of my favorite people to work with because she always understands fully what you are wanting her to do. It helps that I started writing sketch for her years ago, but she has such a personality that she brings to her performance that literally makes the movie work. One of the biggest surprises even for me was the performance of Choni Francis.
I’ve known Choni for a number of years and he was my co-writer of the movie. We ended up writing him a very heart warming scene where his character, Jackson, has a total heart-to-heart moment with the bartender. It is one of the best scenes in the movie, because it is all raw insecurity and truthfulness being told and you can see him hit every one of those beats. Choni knocks it out of the park.
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