I'm not sure I need to explain why I'm hoping my comedy about grassroots politics will have an interesting life during this 2012 election cycle of super PACs, super media and super political spin. When I started the movie, Grassroots, I couldn't have predicted an Occupy Wall Street Movement and the issues it's raised, nor the surreal Republican debates, Romney's etch a sketch journey and the Democrats' gentle drift towards the Tea Party.
So far this election has been more comedy -- or tragedy -- than reality. But comedy and tragedy often share the same stage. Not to mention when real life hits, it never hurts to laugh. It clears the head, allows us to get back up and go at it again.
I'm hoping out movie does a little of that.
Because it's the idea of "too big to fail," that really gets to me -- takes the wind out of my little boat's sails, makes me feel like a failure. And even though "too big to fail" wasn't around when I started making Grassroots, the idea of a bully rationalizing his right to run a playground was.
All the big guys subscribe to it, always have, always will. Because they don't want to feel it's a ridiculous fantasy. They don't want to believe (or have us understand) that there were excellent reasons that monopolies were broken up during the depression; that empires collapse; that nearly every company goes belly up in the end.
And isn't it funny in this era of "too big to fail" that Hollywood (my town), trots out one massive super hero after another as if in lockstep. I guess they too want us to believe that only super heroes, super PACs and super powers can clean up this "mess" we know as human beings, trying to live out their lives with some grace and dignity.
Yes, the only answer is to laugh and laugh and then get up and take 'em on again. And that subject is serious.
So I'm hoping our little movie, Grassroots, helps -- made on a wing and prayer with Jason Biggs of American Pie fame, Joel David Moore of Avatar, Cedric the Entertainer, Lauren Ambrose, Cobie Smulders (yes, just seen in that super-super power Avengers movie), plus Tom Arnold, Emily Bergl, DC Pierson, Chris McDonald and more).
We'll start showing the film in Seattle, which is where our true story of a couple of little guys going after the big dudes, took place, closing the Seattle Film Festival. Then rolling south and east in theaters hopefully near you, taking part in what I know can be a growing awareness that, sure, you gotta vote for some big guy to live in the White House (funny how it's always a guy), but you also gotta look way closer to home where there are a lot of little guys and little women (a classic book) who are not too big to fail. In fact they're just the right size to understand and fight for your issues, the "little issues" for friends, family, kids and neighborhood -- like education, environment, infrastructure, equal rights, fair playing field and so on...
Today Grassroots, the movie, is heading out into the world with this first video introducing a comedy, coming your way this summer, just like the election -- whether you like it or not. But hopefully you'll like it and Jason Biggs and Joel David Moore, more than just the stars of Grassroots... much more, as this video more than proves.
Follow Stephen Gyllenhaal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stephgyllenhaal