In a career that’s explored everything from fairy tale romances to obsessive fandom, “Being Charlie,” a character-based drama, may be the most personal project that Rob Reiner has made.
The director of “Misery” and “The Princess Bride” teamed with his son, Nick Reiner, on the story of a drug abuser (Nick Robinson) who falls in love with someone he meets in rehab (Morgan Saylor). It’s a film made by a father and son that, in shades of art imitating life, explores the fraught relationship between Charlie and his father (Cary Elwes).
“Being Charlie” premieres at the Toronto Film Festival Sept. 14. Both Reiners spoke to Variety about the fight to get funding, the benefits of working with family, and Donald Trump’s political future.
Was it hard to get this movie made?
Rob Reiner: It’s always difficult to get financing for any film. I’ve made close to 20 movies and not a single one would get made by a studio today, and that includes “A Few Good Men.” To finance them, I’d have to do it independently.
Do you despair about the future of movies?
Rob Reiner: I do. What’s happened is that the studios only make one kind of movie — these comic book movies. That’s pushed aside the kind of movies that I used to make, the romantic comedies, the dramas, the thrillers. They used to make all different types of pictures, now they only make one kind of movie and the audience is shrinking. “Breaking Bad,” “Rectify,” “The Wire,” they’re all on TV. People who want to do creative work are going there.
How did you develop this project?
Nick Reiner: I spent a lot of time in these programs. No one had ever told it in the way I had experienced it, in ways that highlighted the ridiculousness.
What did you learn from each other?
Rob Reiner: Something would happen in the script and that would trigger stuff that was going on with us. He had written things between the father and the son that had happened. I had said to him, “I’d rather you hate me than you be dead in the street.”
Nick Reiner: Our relationship grew making the movie. Towards the end of shooting, we were doing a scene, and I said, “Why doesn’t Charlie go up and hug his dad.” That meant a lot to my dad, because it was sort of like I was accepting him back in.
Would you work together again?
Nick Reiner: I love working with my dad, but I need to be independent and do my own stuff.
Are you supporting Hillary Clinton for president?
Rob Reiner: She’s the one that’s the most qualified. She may be the most qualified person to ever run for office, including her husband and Barack Obama. This stuff she’s going through with the emails, she’ll get past it and she’ll win. She’s in Clinton World, they attack you for anything.
Will she run against Donald Trump?
Rob Reiner: He’s not going to be the nominee, but if he was, it would be a dream for Democrats. Two thirds of his support comes from white supremacists who think Barack Obama is a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country. We’re in silly season.