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TRUST THE MAN

Bart Freundlich Embarks on a Comedy
Having written and directed a number of films including the drama THE MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS, about the uneasy reunion of an emotionally crippled family over a Thanksgiving weekend, and WORLD TRAVELER, which focuses on a young man who leaves his wife and child to go on an intense, soul-searching road trip, writer-director Bart Freundlich has established a reputation as an intelligent and accomplished independent filmmaker. Among his friends; however, he has also earned some well-intentioned nagging.

"My friends were always riding me because all of my films are usually so dark,” says Freundlich. "They had really been pushing me to write something funny to kind of get out of this dark stage.”

Producer Tim Perell, who previously produced Freundlich's WORLD TRAVELER and MYTH OF FINGERPRINTS, had also encouraged Freundlich to write a comedy for several years. Perell wanted Freundlich to explore his comedic side since "he's one of the funniest people I know.”

What took the talented filmmaker so long? "Everybody knows Bart is funny,” says production designer Kevin Thompson, who has also been a friend of Freundlich's for ten years. "I think he hesitated because he knows how hard it is to do a comedy.”

Inspired by the films of Woody Allen and David O. Russell, Freundlich embarked on a journey to his lighter side. "I had been writing TRUST THE MAN over the course of four or five years,” says the 36-year-old filmmaker. "I had been jotting down little tidbits for a comedy. This movie is something that just grew out of these four characters that I wanted to write about.”

What resulted was a funny, touching study of the ups-and-downs of two couples in modern day Manhattan that addresses several issues that often arise in romantic relationships.

"For me, this movie is about learning how to let go of the need to control everything in your life. It's about trusting that things are going to work out if you're just true to every moment,” explains Freundlich. "It's also about what buffoons men can be, and how they're just so different from women in their thinking. Women have to be patient, and men have to catch up. There's always a jockeying for position, control and power between men and women, and it can be very funny.” "The film reflects how people are flawed,” he continues. "Those flaws make you human and emotional, and also hysterically funny sometimes.”

"One of the biggest challenges in writing TRUST THE MAN was trying to avoid the clichés of the romantic comedy while embracing all the really enjoyable parts of the genre,” says Freundlich. "My idea was to begin the film as a smaller character study where the humor arose almost solely out of the relationships amongst the characters, and then to slowly loosen the reigns and have the film grow into a bigger, more ‘Hollywood' experience. So, by the end of the film the characters would, in a way, enter their own version of a traditional Hollywood romantic comedy.”

Freudlich explains, "My hope was that by combining what was ostensibly a character piece with a bigger more traditional ending, that an audience might experience both the satisfaction of knowing the characters on a real three dimensional level (as you tend to in an independent film) and the glory of seeing everything fit together perfectly (as it so often does at the end of a big splashy romantic comedy).” "Occasionally ‘real life' presents these huge moments where you have the opportunity to make a big, glorious, sloppy and brave statement about your life. I wanted to give my characters that opportunity.”

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