His new feature film Are You Here, though very different than the 60’s of "Mad Men," also focuses on complex characters struggling within their world. Weiner talked to Deadline about what it was like to get an independent film made, attach talent, and how audience feedback changed his final cut.
Weiner was very open about wanting to do the film his way, which meant securing the right talent in order to get it made, a process that took eight years. “Everyone always knew it was an independent film, and everyone knew I had to have control over it. So, we did what everyone (indie filmmakers) does. We sought to secure talent,” he said.
The film’s premiere at Toronto Film Festival last year was well received, but it did offer Weiner insight into some changes. “There’s a lot less music in it and the movie is longer. I slowed it down a little bit. It seems like one would want the movie to move faster, but I embrace the fact that this is a film that is an emotionally-layered, heavy story. In addition, when your composer (David Carbonara from "Mad Men") says that there’s too much music in the movie, you should listen,” he said.
Weiner’s goal is to create flawed characters that he relates to without judging their actions. “In ways I don’t want to reveal, I’m vicerally connected to the story. I don’t have their problems, but I know people who have their problems. There’s a lot of me in them, including Amy and Laura’s characters. I try not to judge my characters, and there are four who are very flawed,” said Weiner.
Though the film is graced with the comedic talent of Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler, Weiner warns audiences that the film isn’t meant to be a comedy. “Like most of what I do, this is a genre-less film,” he said. “Laugh where you want to laugh.”
Are You Here opens Friday, August 22nd.