×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Piedmont: Comedy helmer connects with Ferrell

10 Directors to Watch 2012: Matt Piedmont

Age: 41
Homebase: Venice, Calif.
Inspired by: David Letterman, Bill Murray and Martin Scorsese — the first two for their self-referential humor, the latter for his grace with tender cinematic moments.
Reps: Agents: Daniel Rabinow, Gregory McKnight (CAA); Manager: Simon Millar (Rumble Media); Lawyer: Warren Dern (Sloan Offer Weber Dern)

The synopsis of comedy vet Matt Piedmont’s feature debut reads like a grand joke: Will Ferrell stars in a Spanish-language shoot-’em-up about a lowly Mexican ranch hand taking on a drug cartel. The film, “Casa de mi padre,” is also a Gary Sanchez Production, meaning its star is heavily involved behind the scenes. Plus, as Piedmont points out, “We robbed Will of his magical shining gift: the English language.”

It’s a lot for any rookie director to take on. But Piedmont shrugs it all off with a laugh. “When I’m on the set, it’s like I do the opposite of worry about the film,” he says. “I’m open to what happens on the day; sometimes things change completely. It was very calming.”

Piedmont’s embrace of the crazy is what makes “Casa” so compelling. The film mixes the wacky premise with plenty of Velveeta: The spirit guide to Armando (Ferrell) is a stuffed tiger; the female lead’s body double is literally a mannequin; occasionally, characters hang out in front of painted-on backdrops. And some scenes, like emotional moments between Armando and his perpetually disappointed father, are played entirely in earnest.

Between this, his Sundance-winning short “Brick Novax’s Diary” (shot entirely using action figures) and the forthcoming “King Dork,” Piedmont enjoys combining the silly with the sweet.

Piedmont cut his teeth on six years of writing for “Saturday Night Live,” where he met Ferrell and Andrew Steele. The latter brought him on to direct the interstitial segments of HBO’s “Funny or Die Presents” variety show, for which he presented homages to old IBM commercials, in addition to his own series called “The Carpet Brothers.” Steele penned the “Casa” script, and since Piedmont was friendly with Steele and all the Gary Sanchez folks, he was the natural choice to direct.

To prepare for the film, Piedmont watched a lot of old Mexican films and vintage spaghetti Westerns. However, he stayed away from telenovelas, because even though “Casa” seems to resemble a soap opera, “I didn’t want to simply spoof stuff. We all agreed that would have gotten old in 10 minutes,” he says.

10 Directors to Watch
Zal Batmanglij |

Valerie Donzelli | Gareth Evans | Philippe Falardeau | Mike ‘Mouse’ McCoy & Scott Waugh | Gerardo Naranjo | Matt Piedmont | Michael R. Roskam | Lynn Shelton | Benh Zeitlin

More Film

  • Mara Watkins Nabhaan Rizwan Steven Wouterlood

    Diverse Talents Pepper Variety's Fifth 10 Europeans to Watch List

    Variety has unveiled its fifth edition of 10 Europeans to Watch, spotlighting 10 rising talents from across the continent who are poised for breakthroughs in 2019. The selection includes emerging actors, directors, showrunners and cinematographers from six countries whose dynamic talents are being showcased on screens big and small, and on both sides of the camera. [...]

  • Glass Movie

    Box Office: 'Glass' Shines Overseas With $48.5 Million Weekend

    After autobots and aquatic kings have dominated foreign markets over the past few weeks, a different kind of hero has risen to the top of box office charts. M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the new champ overseas, pulling in $48.5 million from international territories. The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” debuted [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    'Roma' and 'The Favourite' Lead London Critics' Circle Winners

    After ruling the U.S. critics’ award circuit, “Roma” continued its dominance on the other side of the pond, as the London Film Critics’ Circle announced its winners tonight. A week after landing seven BAFTA nominations, Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexico City memory piece landed film of the year and director of the year honors from the group [...]

  • M. Night Shyamalan Should Stop Writing

    The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)

    Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that [...]

  • Andy Vajna Dead: 'Rambo' Producer and

    Andy Vajna, 'Rambo' Producer, Dies at 74

    Andy Vajna, executive producer of several “Rambo” films as well as “Total Recall” and several “Terminator” movies, died Sunday in Budapest after a long illness. He was 74. The Hungarian National Film Fund confirmed his death, calling him a “dominant figure in the Hungarian and international film industry” who was responsible for the development of [...]

  • Glass trailer

    Box Office: 'Glass' Dominates MLK Weekend With $47 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million. If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday [...]

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content