“Derek DelGaudio’s ‘In & Of Itself'” is finally hitting the big screen. The Hulu special will run at the IFC Center in New York from May 28 to June 3, marking the first time audiences can see the film version of the stage show in an actual theater.
“In & Of Itself” was originally slated to premiere in person at SXSW last year. But then the pandemic hit, and although the film was indeed first seen in 2020 through SXSW, it was screened virtually. It won SXSW’s Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, before premiering on Hulu this past January.
The theatrical run is part of Hulu’s For Your Consideration campaign for “In & Of Itself,” which was directed by Frank Oz.
“This is the very thing we’ve wanted for a year and a month,” Oz said of finally being able to see “In & Of Itself” in a theater. “We were so excited about the SXSW showing. We really have never seen it with a whole audience.”
In Los Angeles, “In & Of Itself” will also be screened in a theater, but just for one night: The American Cinematheque will host an in-person screening and pre-taped Q&A with the filmmaking team on Tuesday, June 15 at the Aero Theater.
The stage show, written by DelGaudio and directed by Oz, first premiered in Los Angeles in 2016. It then moved to the Darryl Roth Theater in New York, where it played from 2017-2018. It ended after a 72-week run and 560 shows.
The autobiographical show features DelGaudio on stage, telling the story of how an encounter with a man who called himself the “Roulettista” led him on a quest to discover his own identity, and what that even means. Along the way, DelGaudio’s skills in card tricks and illusion are utilized to tell this deeper, more personal story — which involves several surprising interactions with the audience along the way.
“It was Derek’s idea to shoot this,” Oz said. “And Derek really directed it with me. And it was the same process that we had when Derek and I created the theater show. It was going down a dark alley, thinking, ‘that’s a good idea,’ hitting a brick wall, then going back going down another dark alley, hitting a brick wall and seeing some light. It was just constantly failing and trying and succeeding and failing and trying and, we think, succeeding.”
“In & Of Itself” was also produced by Glenn Kaino, Vanessa Lauren and Jake Friedman and executive produced by Stephen Colbert, Evelyn McGee Colbert, Daryl Roth and Tom Werner. The Colberts got involved after seeing the show and being moved by DelGaudio’s tale.
“It was something very personal and it’s a difficult thing to get the feel of what things mean, how things are best done,” Oz said. “Derek and I know more than anybody, but by God, Stephen really got it. He really had some good ideas, he really got what we were going for underneath. Because what you see is not what’s really happening, what’s really happening is underneath the stuff you don’t see.”
In his review of the film, Variety’s Peter Debruge raved, “For those who weren’t fortunate enough to catch Derek DelGaudio’s solo show ‘In & of Itself’ during its 2017-18 Off Broadway run — or at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse, where it debuted a year before — director Frank Oz has fashioned a stand-alone film version for Hulu, and to DelGaudio’s credit, the essence of his act remains intact, sparking awe, introspection and tears of connection, even when watched alone.”
Oz said he and DelGaudio have been gratified by the positive reaction to the Hulu run. “For Derek and I and everybody worked on it, it’s just so incredibly satisfying that they get it,” he said. “It’s all autobiographical, and they get what what Derek is talking about the need for people to see other people, the need for identity not to be just one thing… we had no idea it was gonna affect people this much. That was extraordinary. We’re kind of taken back and feel responsibility. It was so wonderful that it actually connected to people to that degree.”