During this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Paul Schneider and Angus McLachlan, the star and writer/director of the new film “Goodbye to All That,” spoke on their movie, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and more.
Marvel.com: To begin, tell fans a brief synopsis of what the film is about if they’re not aware.
Angus MacLachlan: Paul Schneider plays a man who is married and has a nine year old daughter and his wife, played by Melanie Lynskey, unceremoniously [notifies him] that his marriage is over. So he’s stunned because he’s a clueless character. And then it’s about him navigating his life after that via Facebook and Match.com, Okcupid, meeting an old girlfriend played by Heather Graham that he hasn’t seen in 15 years, and then meeting some new women, one played by Ashley Hinshaw and one played by Anna Camp. This is a man who has been married for maybe 12, 13 years, and the world’s different. Now there [are] all these kinds of outlets. So there’s a real motif about how the Internet and those kinds of outlets have changed how we meet people and connect or reconnect and either get intimacy or want intimacy. And it’s him balancing that with being the father of a nine year old daughter.
Paul Schneider: It’s a film about a guy in North Carolina who’s got a wife and a kid. He’s not developmentally disabled but he’s sort of oblivious in a way and he’s a graphic artist. It’s sort of logical, we all know visual artists who are great at their jobs and are sometimes not great, not very punctual people, sort of “head in the clouds” kind of people. He is sort of thrust out into the modern technological world [with] all these portals to meet other people and spin out into the dating world. He meets women along the way and he has varied trysts and learns what he likes, learns what he doesn’t like, and learns about how he’s fulfilled and in what ways is he lacking. And in essence, it’s a film about people’s need to be seen. People need to be validated. The people in your life that you love, they need to be validated. It’s an interesting film and it sort of harkens back to family drama films like “Shoot the Moon” or “Kramer vs. Kramer” or “An Unmarried Woman.”
Marvel.com: Angus, what was that experience like, directing for the first time?
Angus MacLachlan: Well, I loved it, although it was really, really scary. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done—and I’ve done a lot of stuff. But that’s probably the scariest thing because there was so much unknown in it. I felt very comfortable dealing with actors because I was an actor for a number of years. But there [are] a lot of technical aspects to filming that I kind of knew but I never went to film school to be a director. But I had a fantastic director of photography named Corey Walter and a great [assistant director] Scott Larson, and they were just fantastic. There’s a great quote by Kenneth Lonergan, who did “You Can Count on Me,” [that] says, “Other than being miserable and terrified the whole time, I loved directing.” Something like that.
Marvel.com: Does being an actor in the past make you more compassionate to what the actors are going through when they’re filming?
Angus MacLachlan: Oh, definitely. I feel like a lot of the director’s job for actors is to try to make them feel safe and comfortable so that they feel like someone’s really out there watching out for them. And one of the illuminating things in directing and then editing the film is how much, in editing, a director can shape an actor’s performance. They can make them look not so good and they can make them look sometimes better than they knew. Not just physically look better but come across better.
Marvel.com: I wanted to get your take on what you think about movies like “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” and “Thor,” things like that?
Paul Schneider: Every now and again I’ll be asked a question, “Do you ever think you’ll be cast in a big, action, comic book movie?” And I just think, how much fun would that be and how much could I learn? I went to film school and I studied editing and then I got into acting, and I love movies, and music, and photography and I know what I know but on that movie set it would be like film school all over again.
Obviously, the design has to be right. You’ve gotta have the right designers making suits that look good and making sets that look good, and making weapons and vehicles that look good. It’s like with the artist of any comic book, you’ve gotta get into that art. But in terms of Marvel and tent pole movies and huge spectacle movies, I’m thrilled and amazed by the expertise and agility with which they give information. These are fast moving movies and I’m amazed when I see a film like this and I feel like we’re going a hundred miles an hour and I still get everything that’s going on. I’m really thrilled, screenwriting wise and structurally, how the filmmakers for Marvel films, how they can express and entertainingly get that much information across and keep the audience right where they need them to be. It blows my mind.
Marvel.com: Last question, what else do you have upcoming? You’re always working.
Paul Schneider: I’m not always working! That’s a massive misconception. I work so infrequently, actually, to tell you the truth. Upcoming for me is like a soccer game on Sunday night, in my little league that I’ve joined and the Champions League semi-finals are coming up. I really want Real Madrid to keep moving on. I’m involved in a television show called “The Divide,” that Richard LaGravenese and Tony Goldwyn came up with. And a couple other projects that I would love to talk about and probably shouldn’t.
I always had a recurring nightmare that I would make certain decisions in Hollywood—as if I live in Hollywood, I live in Brooklyn—but make certain decisions in the film industry and then find myself backstage at a favorite show of mine and I would get to meet a drummer or a favorite band of mine and all of a sudden they would stop and say, “Wait a second, you’re the dude from the Verizon commercials, right?” and I’d sit there and just melt in front of them. Like, backstage meeting Ian MacKaye or whomever. I remember that recurring nightmare and how it made me feel and I just thought to myself, money or not, celebrity or not, which, in my opinion, is all fake and fairy dust anyways, but I still have to wake up in my brain everyday and I’m just trying to make that as good a relationship as I can.
“Goodbye to All That" will be in theaters soon.