One of the more high profile films premiering at this year's Sundance Film Festival is The Company Men, written and directed by John Wells, and starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Maria Bello, among others. Throughout his very successful career writing, producing and directing for television, John Wells has won six Emmy Awards (most notably for his work on The West Wing) and he's been nominated over 30 times for a wide range of awards. While he's produced a number of films over the years (Motherhood, Gigantic and I'm Not There, to name a few recent ones) and scripted films like 2008's Invisible Man, The Company Men marks Wells' first time behind the camera on a feature film.
Cinematical briefly chatted up Wells as part of our exclusive Sundance Primer series in an effort to learn a little more about the film before it screens in the Premieres section at Sundance next week. (Additionally, you can check out the newly released trailer after the jump.)
Cinematical: Give us the "dude on the street" description of your film.
John Wells: What happens to three men in the year after they're fired from their jobs working for a major corporation, with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner.
Cinematical: You've established such a successful career on the small screen, what was it about this project that made you want to try your hand at directing for the big screen?
John Wells: I've been writing and producing small films for years. This one is based in part on what happened to a member of my family and as I researched and wrote it, it became increasingly personal to me. Hard to say when it happened, but there was finally a moment when I realized this was a story I wanted to tell myself.
Cinematical: Give us your one festival rule...
John Wells: In Sundance, always bundle up. You never know when you're going to be find yourself engaged in an interesting hour long conversation out on the street in twenty degree weather!
Scope out the first trailer for The Company Men below ...
And here's the film's description from the Sundance website:
One of the first casualties of a corporate downsize is Bobby Walker, a hot-shot sales executive who is living the idyllic life-complete with two kids and a mortgaged picket fence. His boss, and founder of the company, doesn't take Bobby's severance well, and he storms into the boardroom to demand a reprieve of the severe measures. He learns quickly that some choices are out of his hands, and this is only the beginning. We embark on a journey that is all too familiar in today's recessionary economy: one that will test friendships, loyalties, and family bonds.
John Wells explores the powerlessness of losing one's job while examining how anger, fear, and forced humility can replace the security of "normal." The inspired casting of great actors, lending their formidable insight to this timely story, makes The Company Men a tribute to America's unsung heroes: hard-working men caught in life's unexpected misfortunes
For more on The Company Men, including screening times, see its official page on the Sundance site or the film's official website.