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James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski & Rachel Dratch Love Their Dads

James Morosini in I LOVE MY DAD.

James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski & Rachel Dratch

Love Their Dads

by Jay S. Jacobs

The new film I Love My Dad rides on a particular nightmare of modern social media life – what if that cute girl you met on Facebook turns out to be your father?

This is based on a true occurrence in the life of writer/director/co-star James Morosini. He plays Franklin, a young man who is a depressive and just out of rehab who has become estranged from his father Chuck (Patton Oswalt). Franklin does not answer Chuck’s calls and has blocked him on social media. So, in desperation to see how his son is faring, he starts a fake social media account to sort of spy on his son.

Chuck uses pictures and posts from a sweet local waitress named Becca (Claudia Sulewski). Little does he imagine that his son would fall for this woman he met online. Therefore Chuck is put in the awkward position of needing to be this young woman to keep track of how his son is doing, but at the same time having to deal with pretending to be in love with his own son. He even brings a woman he was dating at work (Rachel Dratch) into the scheme, without letting her know what was going on.

As you can imagine, this isn’t likely to end up well. Still, I Love My Dad is a sweet, funny and strangely poignant look at the lengths a slightly deluded man will go to be a part of his son’s life.

The day before I Love My Dad was due to premiere in theaters – and a week before it would be released On Demand – we caught up on zoom with writer/director/star James Morosini and co-stars Claudia Sulewski and Rachel Dratch.

Patton Oswalt and James Morosini in I LOVE MY DAD.

Is there anything more disturbing than the idea of being catfished by your own parents?

Claudia Sulewski: No. (They all laugh.)

James, I hear that this is based on something that really happened to you. Why did you think that this would make for an interesting movie?

James Morosini: I love stories where someone is doing the wrong thing, but for the right reasons. The thing I love most about movies is that you're able to really explore a perspective exclusively. I love antihero stories, because we can see why someone is doing something that from the outside would just seem insane or creepy. We're really able to humanize that behavior, and bring empathy to that behavior, which was an exciting challenge throughout.

Claudia and Rachel, what was it about this script that intrigued you and made you want to be a part of it?

Claudia Sulewski: I think just reading the script. Watching these two characters snowball into this chaotic, huge high stakes situation. Personally, reading the sexting scene, just had me think I need to see how this is going to be shot [and] executed. James did such a great job of dancing right on that line of going a little bit too far, but not too far enough. Getting to be a part of that process was just way too thrilling. That was my moment. (laughs)

Patton Oswalt and Rachel Dratch in I LOVE MY DAD.

Rachel, your character was dragged into the catfishing as well, although she didn't realize that she was at the time. Why did you find that interesting to play with?

Rachel Dratch: I liked that the part was funny, but also grounded in reality. I liked the whole story. It was really appealing to me. I love psychological stories. I just liked that it was it was not as broad as the stuff I usually do, even though I enjoy that. It was a stretch for me. That appealed to me.

In a lot of ways, what Chuck is doing is all so cringy, and yet the audience really does hope that Franklin and he can work things out. Was that interesting to do both as a filmmaker and as actors as well?

James Morosini: I loved the idea of telling the story from the perspective of the catfisher and the catfished. I see it as this emotional chess game. I wanted to see if I could get an audience to root for this plan to work out, but then also be rooting for Franklin and Becca's relationship, even though we know that it's probably not going to work out. I just I loved the tension that created. It was so fun to invest everything I had into that.

Claudia Sulewski and James Morosini in I LOVE MY DAD.

Claudia, you're sort of playing two different characters. You're playing Becca, and then you're playing fantasy Becca. What was that like for you as an actor, to play two different versions of the same character?

Claudia Sulewski: It was such a dream to play into that and really give this distinction between the two because imaginary Becca has so many layers to her. She is playing the imaginary how a girl walks and talks in Franklin's mind. Also being that vessel for Chuck and letting those moments pour out when Chuck is just trying to connect with his son in the most awkward way. Getting to play that contrast between real and fake was so fun, especially towards the end. Just leaning into that confusion that real Becca has because she's so not a part of anything that is happening. Playing into that ignorance and just foreignness was really fun.

What was Patton like to work with?

Claudia Sulewski: Patton was a dream. He is the most delightful, just funny and caring human and added so much levity on set. It was so fun to watch the difference of him having to shoot these really intense suspenseful, dramatic, emotional scenes and being able to just completely flip it in between takes is really fun to watch. I mean, he's a pro.

James how about for you – both as a co-star and as a director?

James Morosini: I've been a fan of Patton’s for as long as I can remember. I think he's a brilliant comic, but he also has tremendous heart. He brings both of those qualities to everything he does. He and I both just love movies and so it was it was fun to just hang out with him, talk movies, and find creative ways for our performances to play off one another. It was an intense experience both acting and directing opposite each other, but super rewarding.

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: August 6, 2022.

Photos © 2022. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. All rights reserved.


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