Andy Fickman and Kristen Bell take their 10 year working relationship to the screen yet again in his upcoming romantic comedy, You Again, also starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White, and Odette Yustman. The director is no stranger to Disney and has a heavy background in theatre (specifically musicals) incorporating much of that “energy” into You Again. Very excited about his cast and his message, we recently sat down with the director to discuss this picture and his upcoming projects.
Check out the interview below…
Everyone’s interested in your longstanding relationship with Kristen Bell – when did you first work together?
Andy Fickman: I met Kristen, who I affectionately call KBell, in 2001. She was a student at NYU and I was casting a musical in New York called Reefer Madness which we eventually did for Showtime.
Allegedly you experienced some difficulty tracking her down to audition…
AF: I’d be told by the Nederlanders that I had to see this girl, she was on my list to audition and she didn’t show up! So then I thought, okay – sometimes people miss auditions. Next day, back on my list at 4 o’clock – didn’t show up. Third day, names on at 4 o’clock – I’m thinking, not only do I never want to meet Kristen Bell but I’m never going to hire her. I’m gonna start websites called “I Hate Kristen Bell.” We start callbacks and the producers are, like, “I know this is last minute but Kristen Bell is here.” She walked in and said “let’s just cut to the chase, when are we gonna start rehearsals?” She walked over to the piano, started singing, and as much as I resisted I couldn’t escape my falling in love with her and her talent. I cast her pretty much on the spot. We’ve been together for 10 years – theatre and film.
What initially drew you to the project other than an opportunity to work with Kristen again?
AF: When I read the script I was fascinated by what I found as a very universal story. When I mentioned about peoples’ high school past to my mom, who couldn’t remember what she had for dinner, immediately she remembered who have her a hard time. When I started meeting actors, Sigourney, Jamie Lee – everybody had somebody from their past that they remembered. The subject material was really fascinating because I feel like it crosses all sorts of demographics.
I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but you’ve complied a pretty impressive list of cameos in addition to the already great cast - how did you pull it off?
AF: There was a nice good will going in the town – we had a lot of people wanting to be involved. It was a dream cast for me, everyone we went after we ended up with. It all came together.
Odette is the only relatively new actress in the film and apparently she was up against some high profile actresses…
AF: We had a ton of name actors who had really done a lot of comedy – we had a hit list and Odette was the dark horse. She hadn’t done comedy, she was coming off of Cloverfield and The Unborn. From the beginning, the first time we did the chemistry read and put her and KBell together there was something special. We kept bringing her back and back and back – everybody fell in love with her. She really, truly earned the role. By the time we did the final chemistry read I don’t think there was any discussion from anybody.
Do you have any projects in the works?
AF: A couple things. I’m developing a movie at fox called Us And Them with Billy Crystal – it’s Billy getting back to that great comedy that everybody loves Billy doing. Developing a musical…a lot of fun things. I come out of theatre so for me every time I can get back to doing theatre it grounds me as a director. For me, it’s the light force.
The film opens nationwide September 24th!