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As we’ve proven mathematically with Vulture’s infallible formula for predicting the quality of Judd Apatow movies, the chances of a film being a hit increase greatly when there’s an unlikely indie auteur at the helm. It worked when Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers) directed Superbad, and we predict it will hold true for David Gordon Green, whose credits prior to the stoner comedy of the year, Pineapple Express, include two beautifully shot (and slow!) small-town love stories, Snow Angels and All the Real Girls.
But Mottola hasn’t returned to the Apatow lair, and at last night’s after-party for a special screening of Pineapple Express, sponsored by Three Olives Vodka and held at Tenjune, Green told us he’s not coming back either. His next career move? “I’m going to take a nap and a dump,” he said. “Then sit back in a hammock and have some root beer. Maybe eat chicken.” We’re not exactly sure why directors bask in the Apatow glory for one film only (prolonged contact high? The crippling effects of being too close to Apatow’s genius? The fact that directing an Apatow hit immediately bumps one’s asking salary out of the budget range for any future Apatow hit?), but tradition dictates that Apatow’s comedy factory will have to tap a new indie director for its next awesome film.
So who would Green pick as his successor? Tom McCarthy, director of The Visitor and The Station Agent. “He’d do great. He’d be a great fit,” said Green. According to Green, directing an Apatow movie requires a love of “improvisation and collaboration – being able to loosen up and have a good time and let the cameras roll and stuff, and pray for happy accidents.” Duties might also include, as Green discovered, abstaining from pot smoking in order to maintain a position of authority, and taking care of crazed young Method actors like James Franco who actually ram their heads into trees to maintain realism. In some ways, Green says, Apatow saved him from his film-school precociousness. “It’s therapy. For me it was a dose of therapy,” he said. And as Green racked his brain for more names to throw our way, we began to wonder if naming McCarthy was really the compliment it at first seemed. “I’m trying to think of the real stiff directors, that do heavy, dramatic movies and need to loosen up a little bit,” he said. As for Green, he admitted that Apatow had only loosened him up so much. His munchie of choice: “a really big salad.” —Jada Yuan‘Pineapple Express’ Director David Gordon Green on Which Indie Auteur He’d Like to See Do an Apatow Movie Next