With one of the stranger titles I've ever seen at Sundance, HappyThankYouMorePlease strolls into Park City, Utah next week marking the debut of actor Josh Radnor as a writer-director. Fans of the show How I Met Your Mother are already familiar with Radnor's work on screen, and now he's looking to expand his repertoire to include the independent film universe. Not only does Radnor write and direct HappyThankYouMorePlease, but he also acts alongside a fantastic ensemble cast that includes Zoe Kazan, Malin Akerman, Kate Mara, Tony Hale, Richard Jenkins and newcomer Michael Algiere (pictured above with Radnor).
Cinematical briefly caught up with Radnor to ask him a few questions (like what's up with that title?) about the film in advance of its premiere later this month at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Cinematical: "Give us the "dude on the street" description of your film.
Josh Radnor: The movie's about relationships, people in New York trying to be a little happier and a little less cynical. Along the way there are some funny scenes and some touching scenes and it all ends with a song.
Cinematical: You have one of the more unique titles we've ever seen at Sundance. Is there a story behind it? Does it play into the film somehow?
Josh Radnor: The final song that Kate Mara sings in the movie is called "Sing Happy." It's a song from an early Kander and Ebb musical called "Flora The Red Menace." When I was writing the movie I knew I wanted to end the movie with this song, but I didn't have a title yet so I just called the file on my computer "Happy." Then I wrote this speech for Annie, the character Malin Akerman plays, which is about living with gratitude and releasing our ideas that there's a limit to the amount of happiness we can experience. So this notion of "Thank You, More Please" became a really important part of the story thematically. One night, for whatever reason, I saw the word "Happy" kind of mash together with "Thank You More Please" and become one long strange word. For a long time I just considered it a working title - I assumed I'd change it as it was just so deeply odd. But the title seemed to have a curious effect on people - they'd hear it and kind of tilt their head to the side and smile. Everyone said stick with it. And I'm glad I did.
Josh Radnor with Seamus Tierney, the Cinematographer
Cinematical: Give us your one film festival rule.
Josh Radnor: I've never been to any. I need one from you....
Here's the film's official description from the Sundance website:
Six New Yorkers juggle love, friendship, and the keenly challenging specter of adulthood. Sam Wexler is a struggling writer who's having a particularly bad day. When a young boy gets separated from his family on the subway, Sam makes the questionable decision to bring the child back to his apartment and thus begins a rewarding, yet complicated, friendship. Sam's life revolves around his friends-Annie, whose self-image keeps her from commitment; Charlie and Mary Catherine, a couple whose possible move to Los Angeles tests their relationship; and Mississippi, a cabaret singer who catches Sam's eye.
Written, directed, and starring Josh Radnor (CBS's How I Met Your Mother), happythankyoumoreplease boasts a wryly funny script and engaging performances from its ensemble cast. With honesty and humor, Radnor captures a generational moment-young people on the cusp of truly growing up, struggling for connection, and hoping to define what it means to love and be loved.
For more on the film and Radnor, check out this "Meet the Artists" clip from The Sundance Film Festival.
To check out screening times and to learn more about HappyThankYouMorePlease, please direct your attention to the film's Sundance Film Festival page.