By: Gabrielle Bondi
An adaptation of Bob Glaudini’s play, JACK GOES BOATING is a rather quaint film.
The film is about Jack (Hoffman), a limo driver who is a bit socially inept. Later, in the Q&A, Hoffman described him as not being afraid of people but as someone who has “a difficult time taking the risk with someone.” Jack’s best friend is Clyde (John Ortiz), a fellow limo-driver. Clyde’s wife, Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sets Jack up on a date with her co-worker, Connie (Amy Ryan). This story is very much a relationship piece. While Jack and Amy’s relationship slowly grows at their perfectly awkward pace, Clyde and Lucy’s relationship, full of infidelity and disrespect, crumbles.
After a promise to take Connie boating in the summer, Jack starts taking swimming lessons with Clyde as the instructor. The swimming scenes are some of the best of the movie. They show the strength and trust of Jack and Clyde’s friendship.
Hoffman uses many close-ups throughout the movie. He says that it is not particularly part of his filming style, but he used the technique to get the audience closer to the character. He wants people to analyze the character’s expression and try to figure out what they are thinking. Also, Hoffman uses New York City as his setting well. He does not let it outshine his characters, but let’s the city compliment them. (More about Hoffman filming in New York City in video below)
The music fits the film perfectly, and fans of the band, Grizzly Bear will be very happy. If you are a fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s work, you’ll definitely enjoy this film. This is the kind of material he would direct, and he directs it in the way you had expected.
-Q&A with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz –
Hoffman is not new to directing. He started directing theater about thirteen years ago. His theater troupe, LAByrinth, produced the stage version of “Jack Goes Boating” off-Broadway. Along with Ortiz, his fellow artistic director at LAByrinth, he starred in the play.
He found that directing a feature film was an extension of what he was already doing. Having worked with many great directors (Coen Brothers, Anthony Minghella to name a few), he gathered a great amount of knowledge, and it influenced his work. When asked about how he acted as a director, Hoffman replied jokingly, “Engaging… Hopefully inspiring. Brought my B-Game along.”
However, he found that switching between the roles of director and actor difficult. He said that as a director had to be more commanding and open to people, exactly opposite of his character. It was necessary for him to take a moment for himself before scenes to prepare his mindset for the role.
When asked about tackling another directing job in the future, he said that he would like to, but for that time not to act in it. Also, he explained that he would want the same kind of environment he had directing this film. He explains that most times everyone on set is very separate, not much interaction happens. For this film, he had a relationship with everyone involved on this set and that is what made it very special for him.
Check out the video below to see Philip Seymour Hoffman discuss filming in New York City and explaining more about the movie.
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JACK GOES BOATING will be released September 23rd in the US.