[GIFF 2021] Brothers Justin and Christian Long Talk Their Feature Directorial Debut LADY OF THE MANOR
Interview by Sean Boelman
The 2021 Gasparilla International Film Festival opened with a special screening of the new comedy Lady of the Manor, the feature directorial debut of Justin Long (Dodgeball, Jeepers Creepers) and his brother Christian, which was filmed locally in the Tampa Bay area. Before the screening, we at disappointment media got the chance to talk with the filmmakers about their debut and experience filming in Florida. Check out what we learned below!
One of the unique things about this film is that it is a collaboration between the two brothers. There are clearly certain pros and cons to working with one’s sibling on a film, and here is what Justin and Christian Long had to say about that:
“I think we just have very similar sensibilities and we get along as friends. So I feel like we just see things very similarly in terms of comedy in terms of creative things,” says Christian Long.
“Trust, I trust you. It's like any other relationship. It's usually the simple things, you know, those are the important ones,” says Justin Long.
The film follows a stoner who, after getting a gig as a tour guide in a historic manor, befriends the ghost of the former lady of the residence. This is what Justin and Christian Long had to say about coming up with this story:
“You know, we really love buddy comedies from the '80s and '90s. And I don't know, besides, it came to us we realized it was such a good opportunity for that type of buddy comedy, but with two women, and we just felt like we hadn't seen that in that way. So we just wanted to, you know, sink our teeth into that,” says Christian Long.
“But, you know, though it involves a ghost like Christian said, we wanted first and foremost, we wanted it to be an odd couple comedy, and a ghost comedy second. And then when we started attracting these actors who we loved, I mean, we were such fans of God, Melanie Lynskey and Judy Greer. We had seen them in so many things, but never seen them do something like this. And so that was part of the thrill was getting to just watch some really great actors be funny,” says Justin Long.
Comedy can be a very difficult genre to pull off because of its unique complexities, especially when it is a filmmaker’s first film. This is what Justin and Christian Long had to say about tackling their directorial debut:
“It's just our favorite genre. And especially for these times right now, I feel like I want to see, just personally I love movies, and as an audience member, I want to see comedies. And like Christian said, they're the movies that we grew up on. We grew up on the classics. What About Bob? and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Odd Couple. You know, great odd couple comedies,” said Justin Long.
“I don't think we're aiming for directing a drama,” said Christian Long.
“It'd be disappointing,” says Justin Long.
If their debut is any indication, we can look forward to seeing more great things from these two brothers in the future. But for now, everyone can make sure to keep an eye out for Lady of the Manor, which comes out everywhere on September 17.
The 2021 Gasparilla International Film Festival runs from June 10-13 in Tampa, FL with in-person and virtual options available.