Producer Judd Apatow (GIRLS, LOVE) worked with SILICON VALLEY’s Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon to bring THE BIG SICK to life–this summer’s romanic comedy hit loosely based on the real life relationship between Nanjiani and Gordon. Apatow talked to Indiewire about the process of making this very personal project a reality:
You don’t want to water people down, you don’t want to make movies by committee. So my job as a producer is to be tough on the script and ask a lot of hard questions, make suggestions where I can. But I’m always listening to what feels right for (Nanjiani and Gordon), I never want to create a situation where they’re doing something that they don’t agree with. Because sometimes, just because people are polite, they will take a note they don’t agree with and ruin their scripts. I tried to be sensitive at all times to whether or not they were loving the direction we were all going in.
We made a point of not setting the movie up at any studio. We developed it for years with no one getting paid, because we wanted it to be completely independent. And when we all thought the script was in good shape, we connected with FilmNation, who was excited about the script, and allowed us to make the film purely without any adjustments being made to appease anybody.
It was just gonna be as good or as bad as we all made it. No one was forcing us to do anything. It was a $5 million movie, and we kept it small because we knew it was the type of concept that didn’t scream of being commercial. It was about a woman being in a coma, it’s about immigrants, it’s something you don’t see that often. We always knew it had the potential to be very commercial, and it did turn out to be commercial, but there was nothing about it in advance that would make you assume that. We tried to make sure that process was protected, so no mistakes would be made.
To read the full piece, go to Indiewire: Judd Apatow on Kumail Nanjiani: ‘I’ve Never Worked With Anyone Who’s Worked Harder’