INTERVIEW with Matthew Glave on FUNNY STORY

Matthew Glave is a versatile film actor who’s been in showbiz since the early 90s. He made his mark as the flashy jerk, Glenn Guglia, in The Wedding Singer (1998), he was respected as Colonel Scott in ARGO (2012), played the concerned father in Baby’s Day Out (1994), and was seen in Damien Chazelle’s First Man as Col. Chuck Yaeger. Glave has also had an extensive career in television with appearances in a variety of shows like Better ThingsMad Men, and American Horror Story.

His latest film, Funny Story, directed by Michael Gallagher, premiered at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival and received a range of accolades in subsequent festivals among audiences and critics. So, when presented with the opportunity to discuss with Matthew why this film seemed to resonate with audiences, we couldn’t pass on it.

Funny Story, in theaters and video on demand (VOD) May 24th, is a charming yet painful tale about the mistakes we make, the hearts we break, and the necessary steps we take towards forgiveness. (Read our spoiler-free review HERE!) When asked about his expectations regarding the emotions within the script, Matthew replied

“I expected it, absolutely. I thought that this was a sad movie that was funny… and that’s kind of the beauty of it. People do stupid things.

Glave plays Walter Campbell, a man who can’t quite break his habit of selfishness. He is estranged from his oldest daughter Nic with whom he aims to make amends by coming clean about a secret he is withholding from her. In his approach towards playing such a complex character, Matthew didn’t want to overthink things.

It was difficult, but I took it one day at a time. At the same time, I didn’t feel that I had to go looking for something or be a certain way. Like Walter, you have to just be present and committed as honestly as you can. There’s no extra overthinking because Walter doesn’t seem like a person who does. Everything’s right in front of him, and so he just does/goes after it. He’s been enjoying the fruits of his labor and he does what he wants, the way he wants, when he wants, which kind of ruins his family.

Emily Bett Rickards, Jana WinternitzMatthew Glave, & Michael Gallagher at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival | Courtesy of the Slamdance Film Festival

Simply put, Matthew jumped right in.

I honestly just walked right into it. And it seemed simple in that way.

And that certainly paid off. Even when it came down to exploring the Campbell family dynamic onscreen, or how Matthew would approach the film’s climax, all he could do was go for it.

Part of the beauty of it was it’s a small film, shot in 15 days – and how it worked out was I read the script on a Thursday, talked with Mike [the director] on Friday and began shooting the following Tuesday. There was really no time to over analyze the storyline; rather just show up and be present. I couldn’t over analyze how I should be, I just was for better or worse, and I think it worked out and how it should have been.”

Funny Story currently sits at a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences seemed to truly love the film during its festival run(s). I asked him what he made of that, and this was his reply:

Well it’s a surprise film. You fall into a rhythm as if we’ve been here before, but they [the characters] keep doing things that you don’t expect. And it’s sort of surprising in that way. Everyone is sort of just trying to catch up to what’s going on, which makes it a lot like real life. Nothing is given to you… And it’s also a lean movie, meaning there’s not a lot of “extra” anything. It doesn’t spell anything out for you. It doesn’t go out of its way to try to sweeten things for you to sway your emotions with music. It just is. With that, you lay your feelings out in regards to what you would do in these situations. This template allows [the audience] to consider if they would have forgiveness in their soul or how much they would judge. And it’s been interesting because different audiences have had a wide range of feelings about it, and I love it. I welcome all interpretations of the ending.”

While some of Michael Gallagher’s choices in the film resulted in ambiguity, one thing was certain: this feature contains a variety of strong women characters. As the lead actor surrounded by these group of women, Glave reflected on how his life experiences put him in a great position for this role:

Well…I’ve been around strong women my whole life. My mother is very strong and my grandmother was a riot. My wife is so wonderful and very feisty! It’s great. She’s made me a better person. Then, I have 2 teenage daughters that are complete handfuls in the best way. And so I’m surrounded by strong women all the time. But this was new in that they were strangers to me, but they were all SO good and individually unique. And that’s what I really loved about my time working with them. Every one of them was completely real in that I felt like I knew them, which made my job easy. They were great and stellar in this movie – all of them.”

Yes. They were!

Matthew Glave as Walter Campbell in Funny Story (2019)

Even though he was around so many great women, Matthew Glave’s character, Walter Campbell either didn’t recognize that or he didn’t care. Essentially, he took selfish to an unexplored level. But that’s life. We sometimes come across people who are estranged from their families for whatever reason or only care about themselves. So, I asked Matthew if he had any advice for anyone dealing with the burdens of selfish loved ones or holding back secrets.

Yes… Well it’s funny because I can talk about this all day. But there were people that came up to me during the festival circuit last year that had very strong opinions. Some came up to me and said ‘I would not have told her.’ And I thought that was interesting. I even met a psychotherapist who had seen the film who said it was the wrong idea. But my take on it/my advice is that you must always go with the truth. Put the truth out and let it all explode! It has to be honesty because if you aren’t honest, it’s going to eat away at you like a virus. When we lie and hold it in, it just slowly eats away at you and becomes like a sickness. And then no matter what, you’ll sleep well at night, even if its alone or blows up your family – like Walter. Accept the consequences but realize like Walter, his daughter, or whomever is being told the lies, deserves a life outside of people who lie. It’s certainly not a great, noble act, but it says a lot to admit and say to the ones you hurt “you deserve a life without me because you deserve a good life, and i love you.” So basically, go with honesty is my answer on that. Always go with the truth.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As Matthew Glave mentioned, this film brings many surprises to its audiences. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises when I watched was witnessing Glave sing. Not only that, he was great! So of course, I just had to know if he’d ever considered singing as a career!

“Uh… No. And this is important. I called Michael [Gallagher] after I read the script and said ‘there’s a nude scene, and I’m a little uncomfortable. And he goes “well we can shoot it tastefully.” And i said ‘Well I’m talking about the Karaoke! (laughs)... And just for the record, nothing sells a movie more than a naked man in his 50s! But seriously, the karaoke scene was incredibly hard. It was my first time doing it. Thank you, though. That was the hardest part of the whole thing!”

Seriously… I’d attend a concert!

In between playing a terrible husband & father, singing karaoke and making a plethora of questionable decisions on screen, Matthew Glave still found a way to play his character with the utmost charm. It was a fascinating decision, but a great one at that because that’s how life is. There are good people who do bad things, but we love them anyway, especially if they’re family. With playing such a multiplex character in this funny story, I asked Matthew if he had any plans or desires to take on different personalities on the big screen.

That’s a great question. I’m always drawn to people with different behavioral patterns, whether they have multiple personalities or are manic depressive; something where the brain causes them to function through a filter if they’re not really seeing the outside world in the right way. I’m always fascinated by that and how people formulate how they make their decisions and what filter they’re looking through. Sometimes people aren’t thinking properly (for whatever reasons) and have some depletion in their brains that keeps them from having real affection or acting in certain ways. That would be great to tackle.”

Could we be seeing Matthew Glave in a fascinating character study soon? We at PCR sure hope so. But for now, enjoy his great performance in Funny Story – in select theaters and VOD today!

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