Subscribe To One Huge Change Father Figures Underwent During Its Development Updates
Father Figures Terry Bradshaw Owen Wilson Ed Helms

In the new comedy Father Figures, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms star as a pair of fraternal twins who discover they've been lied to about their biological father, and go on a multi-state search for the man who impregnated their mother (Glenn Close). It's a path that leads them to encounter a wide variety of interesting characters -- but it's noteworthy that the original version of the script had some significant differences. As I recently learned during an interview with director Lawrence Sher, the idea at first was that each potential father the protagonists encountered would be a celebrity. The filmmaker told me,

There was a little more to the original Black List script that was like "every single person in her life was a famous person." For me what was interesting about the movie is how it dealt with family and brothers, and siblings, and the way we treat our family, and the lies our family tells us, and all these things. And uncovering these kind of lies. And it was important for me to make it feel a little bit more grounded and a little bit more real. And so instead of each person they met, each dad being more and more famous, which to me felt more like a "movie," I wanted it to feel like it was more about these brothers' story.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lawrence Sher earlier this month during the Los Angeles press day for Father Figures, and during our discussion learned quite a bit how the film changed over the course of its development. It turns out that the script by Justin Malen -- which made the Black List back in 2011 -- went through some pretty significant alterations with Sher's input, including a number of the major characters. In the movie, the potential dads are played by Terry Bradshaw, J.K. Simmons, and Christopher Walken, but with the exception of Bradshaw the initial idea would have had them playing extremely different roles.

Of course, it should be noted that Terry Bradshaw's character was originally going to be different as well. The initial concept of Justin Malen's Father Figures script was based on the idea that all of the potential dads were fictional celebrities, but when Terry Bradshaw came on board it was decided that it would be a better idea to have him just play himself in the film. Lawrence Sher explained,

We wrote the script, had the script finished, got Ed and Owen, got Glenn, and then as you cast the dads - outside of Terry, who was initially a guy named Jack Tibbs, who was basically Terry Bradshaw. A fictitious New York Giant... They weren't even real celebrities. And this Jack Tibbs was basically a combination of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath - in that vein. And as we approached getting close to the movie, we thought, 'Well, wouldn't it be even more interesting if it were actually Terry Bradshaw playing himself.

You can watch my full interview with Lawrence Sher discussing the major alterations to Father Figures by clicking play on the video below.

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