Josh Radnor brings 'Liberal Arts' to Sundance and talks 'HIMYM' cast contract extensions
PARK CITY - Two years ago filmmaker and actor Josh Radnor arrived at the Sundance Film Festival with his debut feature "Happythankyoumoreplease." The dramatic competition dramedy was a crowd pleaser and was quickly acquired by an upstart distribution division of Hannover House before the end of the fest. Unfortunately, the story stopped being a happy one after that. Hannover House turned out to be a financial mess and "thankyou" didn't hit theaters until over a year after it debuted at the festival after Anchor Bay came in to give it a defacto release. Radnor, who most recognize as Ted on "How I Met Your Mother," is being much more discerning regarding his second feature, "Liberal Arts."
The first and so far only film to generate a standing ovation at this year's festival, "Liberal Arts" finds Radnor playing mid-30's New York City college admissions officer who returns to his Ohio alma matter to honor a retiring professor (a fine Richard Jenkins). During the trip he meets a young undergraduate girl (a much sunnier Elizabeth Olsen than "Martha Marcy May Marlene") and sparks fly. He returns to NY thinking the flirtatious weekend won't amount to much until a romantic correspondence ensues. Questioning the viability of a May/December romance from their first meeting, Radnor's character has to decide just how far he's going to take this potential relationship.
Less than 24 hours after the film's premiere, Radnor sat down for an exclusive video interview to talk about his latest endeavor. Refreshingly candid, Randor discussed the inspiration for the film, casting Zac Efron in an almost unrecognizable role, seeing "Martha Marcy" after shooting "Liberal" with Olsen and the picture's warm reception so far. The 37-year-old also weighed in on the fate of "How I Met Your Mother."
The CBS comedy hit is enjoying its best ratings ever, but the show was always intended to go just eight seasons. It seems unlikely CBS would agree to let the audience favorite go even if numerous members of the cast (Radnor, Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders) have burgeoning careers on the big or small screen outside the show.
"We'll probably get into that in the summer," Radnor says. "When people get restless with 'I've get to get off this TV show because all these other things are happening' you forget like all these other things wouldn't be happening without that TV show. You gotta remember where you came from."
You can watch the entire interview embedded at the top of this post.
As for "Liberal Arts," the picture has not been picked up by press time, but you can bet it will hit a multiplex near you sometime later this year.
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