I first met Greg Mottola sitting behind the monitor in video village on the side of a small suburban street in Northridge, California, where he was hard at work on his new film “Superbad,” and we hit it off immediately. He’s an incredibly easy guy to talk to, warm and smart and funny, and the same qualities that I see in him as a person are the qualities that I see in his films.
Something like “Superbad” or “Adventureland” or “Paul” could easily be plastic comedy noise machines that the studios specialize in, but Mottola imbues his films with a deeply-felt humanity. Even when they trade in high concepts, his films still deliver a very fundamental human punch, and it makes them stick in a way that many films can’t.
I spoke to him again during Sundance the year “Adventureland” came out, and at that point, he was already gearing up to work on “Paul,” and we talked a little bit about the challenges ahead, and not only for him, but also for whoever he was going to hire to bring the character of Paul to life.
Now that he’s on the other side of the experience, I was excited to sit down with him to discuss that process, and while I had some other things planned, that’s basically the whole conversation we had. That’s the way it works sometimes. You can sit down with an agenda, but if a conversation unfolds naturally, you’re not really going to control it, and that’s the case with this one.
I’m curious to see where Mottola’s career goes from here, but I’m confident that wherever it is, and whatever he ends up doing, he’ll find something in it that will feel personal and honest. I love the notion of his next film being “Important Artifacts and Personal Property From The Collection Of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry.” What a great title.
“Paul” opens everywhere this Friday.