“Brittany Runs A Marathon” is not your average Hollywood film.
In fact, it is quite the antithesis. Based on true events, the story follows Brittany (Jillian) as she finds the courage to work past her own personal body image issues by way of running the New York City marathon. Paul Colaizzo flips the script in this stellar film that will leave you walking away with a new sense of self. Knockturnal caught up with Paul Colaizzo himself, Michaela Watkins and Micah stock to go in-depth on the behind the scenes of the making of hit Sundance Acclaimed film. You can catch the full interview below:
The Knockturnal: Congratulations on the film.
Paul Colaizzo: Thank you so much.
The Knockturnal: You describe this film as a love letter to your best friends. What is it like seeing events that you’ve lived through and kind of put together over the years, come to life on screen?
Paul Colaizzo: I mean, it’s surreal. When I had the idea for this film, I hadn’t had a play produced and it was just sort of an idea that anyone would actually see it was not even in my consciousness. And now that we’re here and we’re getting ready to show it to the world, I’m hopeful and excited that they fall in love with Brittany as much as I have.
The Knockturnal: Was it difficult kind of translating these real-life events into one screen?
Paul Colaizzo: Well, you know, the work that, the movie is a work of fiction in a lot of ways. It was inspired by my best friend’s story, uh, and my love for her desire to take control of her life. And there are milestones from her journey that I put in this as well. And her DNA is all over the main character of Brittany. But as far as the story itself, it’s very different from her real-life experience. And so, it’s not so much a recreation of anything. It’s, it’s a story made for the audience to experience as a whole.
The Knockturnal: And this is your directorial debut. What advice would you give to other, you know, young directors who are kind of trying to get their, their films out there and have their stories told?
Paul Colaizzo: I don’t know. I never know how to answer that question. All I know is that people will tell you that it’s hard and it is hard, but you don’t need to worry about that. You just focus on the work and just stay focused on the work. That’s what I do. So maybe that’ll work for them too.
The Knockturnal: When I left the theater, it was just a very inspiring kind of go-getting mentality that I was left with. What would you want audience members to take away from the meeting?
Paul Colaizzo: I want people, when they watch the movie to first think, I know that girl, and then to think, wait, I am that girl. Whether they’re a man or woman or any age. When people, when they watch the movie to I know that girl and then to think, wait, I am that girl. I want them to identify with the character and then when they leave the theater, I want them to think, if I work hard enough, I could be that girl. You know? The idea is we’re taking someone who’s a sidekick and turning them into the lead of their own story because that’s what they want for themselves. They don’t want to be the comic relief anymore. They want to be the lead in their own story. I think everyone can relate to that. We relegate ourselves to roles of sidekick and put ourselves on the sidelines because that’s what culture tells us to do or that’s what we tell ourselves to do because of fear or avoidance or shame and reality. You know, we all are heroes. Brittany’s the heroes hero of the story. She’s also her a villain and we have our villains inside of us too.
The Knockturnal: It’s definitely reflected in the film. Her relationship with her roommate is kind of, it’s the anti archetype of the sidekick than being flipped and turned around and the main dude, what’s up your sleeve?
Paul Colaizzo: I’m working on something right now. Uh, it’s very different than this, but also I’m a, as my friend says, I’m continuing to unfreaking by someone. We’ve made a freak. So I’ll be excited to share that when I’m ready.
The Knockturnal: You guys did so well playing the job of Brittany’s confidence and best friends. What was it like filming, creating that bond off-screen so that I could translate on-screen?
Michaela Watkins: I had known Jillian for a while because we do you know, sort of sketch and Improv in la together and, I worked on her show. She had a show called Idiot sitter which is a big, broad comedy. I was so excited to see her take on this kind of a role and, it was just great. We got to be there for it. But, um, I met Micah on set and, I felt like we’d always known each other. And it’s interesting because the characters would never be in the same room with each other. The three characters couldn’t be more different.
Micah Stock: Yeah, it was like they were all becoming new friends in the movie and we were coming to your friends on the screen. As dopey as it sounds.
The Knockturnal: Yeah, no, it’s so interesting you mentioned that because you guys are kind of like her Yin and Yang. And created like the perfect balance for her. So how did you approach the script in the reading?
Michaela Watkins: I think there’s like a maternal quality to Catherine. She can’t mother her kids because of her circumstances and I’m sure she’s sort of looking for an outlet to do that because it feeds, the caregiving part and it’s also healthy for her- if somebody who’s going through hell likes to reach out and help somebody else’s really healing. I think she sees a lot of herself in Brittany even though they are very different. Because she doesn’t think she’s worthy of love and acceptance. She thinks she’s a bad person.
The Knockturnal: Yeah. Your character, I think she projected a lot onto Brittany in wanting to help her in terms of helping herself. And then your character said he definitely, he had a lot of like Seth isms and really, really good quotes and advice that he would kind of guide her throughout the film. Were there any moments or set the Seth-Isms that stuck with you in the film?
Micah Stock: Yeah, I mean I think that the balance of when you have a friend and when you love someone you hold them accountable. And I think, but you can do it with kindness. And I think Seth, you know, throughout times in the film he holds her pretty accountable. He says, listen, you know, you have to recognize that though your life has been hard, is not the only life. And you know, if you’re comparing yourself to people in these outward ways, you don’t know what’s really going on. And Catherine and Seth even have these internal lives that are complicated and difficult of their own rights.
The film hits theaters this Friday.