One of the biggest Sundance hits of 2015 was a small-budget indie comedy about an aspiring high school filmmaker and his friendship with a sick classmate entitled Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
The film was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and serves as his second feature-length film. In addition to previously directing the 2014 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, more about Gomez-Rejon directed eight episodes of the hit FOX show Glee and a dozen episodes of FX’s hit drama.
During a recent interview with the filmmaker, cheapest I asked him about what attracted him to his new project and how he identified with the main character in it. Here’s his response:
I read the script. The script was submitted to me by my agent and at first, I was not looking to make a high school movie. It was never in my interest. You know there’s really no reason why but I love Jesse’s voice and I love the way he was writing these kids and it started to speak to me and I hadn’t really heard teenagers speak this way since a Breakfast Club, which is a movie that still holds up. It’s been timeless and it’s timeless in all the right ways.
Then [in the script], I got to the Bernthal scene about learning about people after they die and how their story continues to unfold. That really moved me because I had lost someone very close to me right before I read the script and I was a bit lost. You always feel like a child when that happens. Even though I identified with Greg [the main character] as a teenager and his high school experience was very close to my existence, [it was] the second half of the script [that] I really saw myself in and…I saw this as an opportunity to bury myself in this movie and make something that I could turn into a personal story, a way to put my feelings down and give them a shape.