Meet My New Therapist, Jason Sudeikis


Kodachrome is a movie I’ve been dreading to talk about. This isn’t something that one usually says to the star of the movie during an interview, but these are unique circumstances. First of all, I saw Kodachrome back in September at the Toronto Film Festival (and it’s on Netflix as of right now) and I really enjoyed it. I certainly wasn’t expecting to cry during a movie starring Jason Sudeikis, but cry I did because there’s something about movies about fathers and sons that always get me.

In Kodachrome, Sudeikis plays Ben, who is reconciling with his dying father (Ed Harris) as they, and his father’s caregiver (Elizabeth Olsen), drive from New York to Kansas on a mission to get a roll of Kodachrome film developed at the last developer to still do that before they close up shop forever. It’s one of those movies that when you walk out it makes you think, You know, I want to work on having a better relationship with my father. (Well, at least until you see the next movie at a film festival and your thoughts change to You know, maybe Tonya Harding got a raw deal?)

Then, in November, my father died suddenly. And since then I’ve thought a lot about this movie. At the end of the film, Ben receives a kind of closure that I wish I could find. I haven’t given up though. And I think about the ending to this movie a lot.

Poor Jason Sudeikis, he didn’t quite know what he was getting into here. I’ve always enjoyed my experiences with him and, over the years, we’ve developed what I would call a good professional relationship. It’s because of that, and the fact that I think he’s really terrific in this film, that I decided I wanted to talk to him about it – but I also knew a lot of personal baggage was going to come out given the subject matter, and it certainly did. Sudeikis, for his part, never shied away from the topic, even as I was profusely apologizing once it got “heavy.” At times it felt like Sudeikis was my personal therapist – to the point that I considered not including good chunks of this conversation in the printed interview, but in the end decided to go ahead and run it. Because maybe someone else out there going through something like this will get something out of it. (Anyway, all of this is here to say that I know there’s a lot of “me” in this interview and that’s certainly never the goal, but that’s the way it turned out.)

Jason Sudeikis: How are you doing, dude?

I’m alright. How are you?

I’m okay. We’ve been out in LA, so…

I saw you were on James Corden’s show. What else are you doing out there?

Well, I’m doing some work on a situation comedy and I’ll leave that vague. But also Olivia [Wilde] is directing this movie [Booksmart], so by proxy we’ve missed the horrible New York winter. I don’t mind the snow…

But in April?


A friend of mine lives near you now and he said he saw you outside looking at the eclipse when that happened.

Oh that was my favorite thing about the eclipse. We were all out there and people were all sharing the different homemade devices. Our friends brought over the best thing. He made something beautiful like you’d see on Mr. Wizard. It felt like a sci-fi movie and everyone was outside staring up. It was great.

We were driving to Vermont and pulled over at a rest area McDonald’s and it was the same thing. Everyone in the parking lot looking up. That’s what an alien invasion would look like.

That’s exactly right. Though, people would probably have their fucking phones out.

Well, I tried that, but it didn’t work.

[Laughs.] Okay, me too. We tried like five different cameras and we were like, argh, that didn’t work!

How will I ever remember this eclipse without this picture of bright white?

I know! Oh well, we tried.

I saw this movie at Toronto and really loved it…

Did you rewatch it?

I haven’t. But there’s a lot of the band Live in this movie. In Toronto I used valuable pre-bought international data to download “All Over You” right after I saw this.

Oh hell yeah. I remember seeing them in Sandstone in Kansas City. What was it called after that?

I didn’t know it wasn’t still Sandstone.

It was called something else. Now it’s a corporate name.

I saw Van Halen there during the flood of ’93.

I saw Beastie Boys there. I saw Harry Connick Jr. there. I saw the H.O.R.D.E. fest!

I saw Bryan Adams there.

Oh wow. Nice! But back to Live, that was a good use of your data.

I could have just waited to use wi-fi, but I needed it right then for the walk back to the hotel.

Exactly. There you go. These modern times.

I may be forgetting, but I don’t think I’ve cried during one of your movies before.

That would make sense.

Well, you could say something like, “Oh, you didn’t cry during Titanic,” or something and I would say, “Oh, yeah, I forgot you were in Titanic.”

[Laughs.] Yeah, right. Well, I would think the only one that would even come close for some folks would be Race, the Jesse Owens movie.

Oh, that’s a good point. See?

But potentially. But I mean something even written and made with the potential intent for that emotive response, I don’t think there’s anything else.

So, I’ve been kind of dreading talking about this movie and it’s why I didn’t watch it again, because my father died since I saw this movie and even now thinking about the ending to this movie I start welling up, if that makes sense…

Oh my gosh, it makes more than sense. It hits me in my heart. Yeah. I don’t blame you. I don’t know if I could have done this movie if my father… I mean, he’s still alive at this point. Yeah, I don’t know if I could have done it in that situation – either portrayed it or gone near it.

Though I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It hits a lot of beats that are very true. And I think every father and son have some baggage between each other…

Oh, sure.

It wasn’t where we hadn’t talked in years, like in the movie. But I was one of these people who suspected he voted a certain way in 2016. He never told me, but I didn’t go home for the holidays and now I regret that. I did see him one more time, so thankfully that wasn’t it. But this movie does a great job of capturing that type of thing…

I’m glad to hear that. I know, it’s one of those things that you don’t wish that perspective on anyone – because how hard it is to lose someone. And yet, the same thing with having kids, the thing I’ve said to people who are new parents and ask, “What can you tell me about it? Does your life change?” I go, yeah, but what you need to know about it is that all the clichés are true. So there are people who are going to look at this movie who maybe haven’t gone through what you’ve gone through, and what you’re currently going though, and so their arms and heart might not be open to what might seem rote, or cliché, or typical, or hack, or whatever the fuck way they want to put it, but yet it’s how it really goes.

It’s the only thing we know for sure, that none of us are going to last forever, including the people that you love, and are supposed to love, and used to love, and should love. And there’s nothing more cliché than that. We’re all going to go. So I wish it on no one, especially people I like — and also people I don’t like — for them to get this movie because of something like that. But at the end of the day, I’m mostly just happy you got to see him beforehand.

Well, yeah, I’d never forgive myself. The part of the movie I think about a lot is when your character, at the end, gets one last gift from his father and it brings a sense of closure. I am searching for something like that so bad. Like one last message. Sorry for the “too much information” here…

Dude, come on. We’ve looked each other in the eyes, we’re all right. I feel you, yeah.

I would just love to have that moment that your character gets. I hope that makes sense.

Yes, 100 percent that makes sense. I wanted it for my character as I was reading it. Then as it is delivered, yeah, I know what you mean.

Sorry this got heavy. I knew this movie would bring a lot of this out…

Well, don’t watch Coco

Wait, really?

Oh yeah.

I have a screener right here I was planning on watching. I had no idea.

Well, maybe going through it with cartoons may by enough of a diagonal move away from me and Ed Harris driving to fucking Kansas. It might be less bleak!

All right, what do you have coming up? You’ve been doing a lot of interesting things lately. I hope this continues.

Oh gosh, if people making those interesting things — both paying for them and writing them and directing them – want me to be part of them, happily. Even, in my mind, it’s all been interesting. And that’s not me being defensive, that’s the way I have to look at these things because those are the kind of choices I try to make.

It’s just the shift. If someone goes from drama and then does a comedy, that is also interesting.

Oh yeah, it’s just me responding to the stories. And there are a few things coming up, nothing that I can speak about — and it’s not for being coy or secretive, but you know just out of superstition of all things getting ironed out in like whatever lawyer realm or whatever realm. So, yeah, there are things I’m interested in… and that’s all I try to do. [Laughs.] For better or worse.

Well, sorry again for the heavy conversation. I know it’s a lot.

Oh, no, I was going to thank you for your candor and sharing that with me. It makes all the sense in the world and you don’t have to worry about it with our roles as interviewer and interviewee. And, as man to man, I feel you more than maybe most.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.