Are you a fan of In Contention?
Sign up to get the latest updates instantly.
A little surprise happened at the art house over the past few months. Fox Searchlight's late addition to the September release schedule, "Enough Said," has become one of the biggest indie releases of the year.
At this writing, the Nicole Holofcener dramedy has grossed over $15 million domestic and is the eighth-highest grossing limited release (platform) of the year. In fact, over the next few weeks it should surpass "Fruitvale Station" for number seven and it has an excellent chance of hitting the $20 million mark. Throw in some strong reviews (79% on Metacritic, 95% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Searchlight now has potential Best Original Screenplay (Holofcener) and Best Supporting Actor (James Gandolfini) players (plus a Golden Globe favorite in Louis-Dreyfus in the best actress in a comedy or musical mix).
"Enough Said" is also the welcome big screen return of star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who hadn't appeared in a live action film in over a decade. On Wednesday, the actress took a break from shooting her critically acclaimed HBO series "Veep" to talk about the surprise commercial success of the film.
"Well, to tell you the truth I'm feeling exceptionally proud of the fact that this happened," Louis-Dreyfus says. "I mean, who knew this little film would have this staying, crossover power? God, it doesn't always happen like this. I'm kind of walking on air about the whole thing. I found out this week it's Nicole's highest grossing movie, which is great. And, by the way, in this marketplace right now, which is so competitive, that's the thing [that's so remarkable]."
In fact, "Enough Said" was a late addition to both the September release schedule and an unexpected addition to the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Searchlight took a chance that it would find its way while the film's audience -- moviegoers over 25 -- were flocking to rare adult-appealing films such as "Prisoners," "Captain Phillips" and "Gravity" and benefited from strong word of mouth. Louis-Dreyfus was well aware of what the movie was facing as it expanded nationwide. She admits, "To be honest, I was really scared about going out there with this movie at this time. And the fact we have this staying power has been kind of astounding."
Louis-Dreyfus has been working on "Veep's" third season for over a month, but she's gotten a strong amount of feedback from fans of the film during that time.
"People that have come up to me that I don't know, usually they are saying things like, 'I need a movie like this,' or, 'This is just the kind of movie I want to see,'" she says. "In other words, I know there is an audience that craves this kind of story, which is thoughtful, funny, a small story about big feelings that has an authenticity. That is the impression I get anyway."
She then adds, "It's very gratifying because it was made with a lot of love and a lot of heart. We really did put our hearts and souls into it."
With a cast that includes the late Gandolfini, Toni Collette and Catherine Keener (as well as a Los Angeles locale) you might have assumed "Enough Said" was more than a typical indie production budget-wise. That was hardly the case; Holofocener only had 24 days to shoot the movie and not a moment was wasted.
"On 'Veep' we do a lot of rehearsal. A lot," Louis-Dreyfus begins. "[On this movie] there wasn't a lot of rehearsal. Maybe a day and a half. So it was a lot of rehearsal that actors had to do on their own time and in their own minds. (Laughs.) And then sort of bring their work to the set and work it out there. But it never felt that hard because Nicole as a director is extremely relaxed. And then the script was very strong to begin with. It never felt like we were rushed. I mean there is always a feeling, 'Did we make the day? 'Are we going to make the day?' You look at the call sheet it's 10 pages tomorrow, but I like working fast."
The four-time Emmy Award winner also admitted that she's been personally touched by many moviegoers' reaction to the film.
"It was such a personal thing that you always wondered, 'Are they with me,'" she says. "'Do they understand her struggle that I'm trying to convey?' And I think there are many moments like that in the film. The fact that in the airport scene people tend to do a lot of crying? That's very gratifying, because I delved deep, so it's nice to move people like that. It was a very private kind of a performance and I'm glad people are responding, because otherwise I'd just feel embarrassed." (Laughs.)
"Enough Said" is now playing in limited release.