Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted a talk with Swiss Army Man directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. The film is now playing in New York.
What is the basic moral concept of the story?
Daniel Kwan: It’s basically about a suicidal man has to convince a dead man that life is worth living. They then go on an adventure together, using that dead man’s body’s magical powers to survive and talk about life on the way.
Daniel Scheinert: One of the things that we had backlogged while pitching for things like music videos and things that we had been doing is our arguably more insane, but it works more so in the longer form, ideas. Just go on an adventure with us and we’ll find out. Some people were kind of scared by that and some people kind of became our curtains. This movie is kind of insane and people were okay with that.
Why did you make that jump from music videos to a full length production and why now?
Daniel Kwan: I think we always wanted to make narrative stuff. We always followed the path of least resistance. Who will pay us to make a thing? We’ll make that. We always wanted to make a full feature film, a lot of people are inspired as kids, “that’s cool, maybe we’ll make one some day.” It took as long as it needed to take, we didn’t want to rush it. At some point, someone is going to want to pay us to make one of these scripts we write. Most of our ideas are mainly so we have something to pitch while we hangout with producers who ask, “What do you think about doing the next G.I Joe or something?” and we go, what do you think about this movie? Swiss Army Man was something that we originally pitched as a joke but also because deep down we wanted to make it. Eventually one producer just told us, why don’t you just actually make it? We actually pitched it, and he said, that sounds great! Write it. We were like oh no! We have to write it.