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‘Imaginary’ Director Jeff Wadlow on His Key Casting Battle and Competing Imaginary Friends Movies

It’s been 20 years since Jeff Wadlow began his career in the entertainment industry, and he’s since created a name for himself as a highly reliable Swiss army knife. He can write, direct and produce across film and television, and he also has the added reputation of being an “idea guy.” When his career was at a crossroads in the early 2010s, he wrote his way out of it and sold spec scripts for what would become Kick-Ass 2 (2013) and Bloodshot (2020). And throughout the 2010s, whenever his next movie needed a bit of time to get off the ground, he’d put on his writer hat and join Carlton Cuse’s writers’ rooms for Bates Motel and The Strain.

The filmmaker is now back with his third Blumhouse horror film, Imaginary, which chronicles Pyper Braun’s Alice and the imaginary friendship she forms with her stepmother’s (DeWanda Wise) childhood teddy bear, Chauncey. One of the most difficult assignments for any director is to not only find a talented child actor, but also evoke a believable performance that doesn’t have to be manufactured in the edit. So when Wadlow saw the audition of 10-year-old Braun, he refused to take Blumhouse’s no for an answer.

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“[Pyper Braun] has young Dakota Fanning, young Drew Barrymore, young Jodie Foster kind of talent. And then we couldn’t get her [due to a contractual snag with her Nickelodeon show],” Wadlow tells The Hollywood Reporter. “[Blumhouse] said, ‘With these strike deadlines coming, we have to make sure we wrap in time. You can’t have her.’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t accept that answer.’ So they took a beat and went away, and then they … presented me with a plan that involved me making a couple compromises, which I did. So it allowed us to get Pyper Braun in the movie.”

Hollywood has always had a knack for knowingly and unknowingly developing and releasing similar material at the same time, be it Dante’s Peak and Volcano in 1997 or Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached in 2011. So, as a result of current overlap, Lionsgate’s marketing team had a bit of fun by creating an Imaginary spot in the spirit of the trailer for John Krasinski’s upcoming film, IF, which has its own imaginary friend concept. As it turns out, both movies were in post-production within a few steps of each other.

“They actually edited [IF] on the same floor of the same New York City building where we edited Imaginary. I walked by John Krasinski a few times and just kept my head down because I knew what was going on,” Wadlow says with a laugh. “But I’m sure there’s plenty of space in the market for both films. They are tonally very different, and it’s just exciting to know that we’re tapping into a zeitgeisty idea. The time has come for some movies about imaginary friends.”

Wadlow’s relationship with Jason Blum began as of 2018’s Truth or Dare, which, in true Blumhouse fashion, turned a few million dollars into nearly $100 million. Naturally, sequel talk started right away, and a meta idea was even greenlit until it fell apart on the one-yard line. The Truth or Dare sequel was going to be its own rendition of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, as all the actors, such as Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey, would play versions of their real-life selves in another supernatural game of Truth or Dare. Unfortunately, the film won’t be revived at this point.

“It is so dead. If you took a dead body and shot it, that’s how dead that thing is. But we had a script. It had been greenlit, and we were prepping it,” Wadlow says. “We were going to shoot it on the Universal lot during the pandemic. We were going to quarantine the entire cast and crew, and not leave while we were making the movie. It was the only way to safely make a movie at that time. But, ultimately, when they actually ran the numbers and started to talk about all the safety concerns that could pop up, they just realized it was not worth it.”

Below, during a recent conversation with THR, Wadlow also looks back on the challenges he faced during the making of Kick-Ass 2 and the eventual praise he received from one Quentin Tarantino.

You began your career with a slasher movie called Cry Wolf, and you’ve returned to genre material a number of times throughout your career. Do you feel most at home in this space? 

Yeah, I would say so, but I also love making action movies and comedies. I view genre the same way a chef might view different kinds of cuisine. I don’t think any one chef would say that they only want to make French food or Japanese food, but it’s fun to identify what the pillars are of a genre and not only check those boxes, but also try to offer a unique spin.

You’ve mostly been a writer-director, but you’ll sometimes just serve as a writer on a film or in writers’ rooms such as Bates Motel and The Strain. Is there any rhyme or reason to when you just serve as a writer?

And, sometimes, I’m also just a director and/or producer. I didn’t write at all on the movie I made before Imaginary, so which hats I put on just depends on the project. If I put all three on or just one, I always enjoy myself. When I’m working just as a writer, it’s fun to not have the crushing responsibility of figuring out how to execute the production. You can just spitball ideas.

I loved working with [Bates co-creator, The Strain showrunner] Carlton Cuse. I met him on Bates Motel, and I helped him crack that show with Kerry Ehrin. It was just the three of us on the first six episodes, and then he brought me back in for The Strain’s final season. I had just finished directing a movie I’d written, and there was a moment in my schedule where I didn’t have my next movie lined up. So Carlton said, “Why don’t you just come and be that big idea guy in the room, and just pitch crazy feature film-type ideas for this bananas TV show that we’re working on?” And I said, “Carlton, I don’t know. Staffing is not really my thing.” And Carlton, who has a very distinct voice that I love to imitate, said, “Well, Jeff, I taught you how to launch a show with Bates Motel. Wouldn’t you like to learn how to wrap one up?” [Writer’s Note: Wadlow’s Cuse impression is spot-on.] So I was like, “Okay, that’s a pretty great argument,” and I was thrilled that I did it because I had a great time.

In general, can you handle another director executing your script in a way that’s different from what you had envisioned? 

I have two responses to that. I think most people I work with would say that I walk the walk, but filmmaking is collaborative art. When I teach filmmaking in my hometown every fall through Adrenaline Film Workshop, I always say to my filmmakers, “If you just want to do what’s in your head, then write a novel or be an oil painter.” What’s beautiful about filmmaking is that it’s a collaboration, and when you’re done, you have something that no single person could have envisioned. So I get a kick out of writing something and having someone else direct it, because that’s a great example of that collaborative art. But the more base answer to your question is that I usually get paid pretty well when I write something and don’t direct it. I probably shouldn’t say that. (Laughs.) So there is sometimes a higher rate of return on time invested when you just write and then walk away.

So you and Jason Blum must’ve hit it off on Truth or Dare, given that you’re now releasing your third film together. Is that an accurate way of summing up your relationship?

Yeah, we are good dance partners, and I think Jason is the best producer in the business. He understands what it means to be a producer. I actually said this in my comments at the premiere last night, but a hundred years from now, they’re going to be studying his career in film school the way I studied Irving Thalberg and David Selznick. He’s a living legend, and he lets directors direct. I have my master’s degree in producing from USC, and so I know how to produce. And he sets me up to succeed by supporting me with people from his company and letting me do my job.

Pyper Braun as Alice in Imaginary.
Pyper Braun as Alice in Jeff Wadlow’s Imaginary

Did the concept of an evil imaginary friend get the ball rolling on Imaginary, or was it the image of a creepy teddy bear? 

It goes back to that notion of collaborative art, and while the inspiration was threefold, it really started with Jason. He signed me to a first-look deal, and he said, “For your next movie for me, I want a real classic Blumhouse-type movie that’s a throwback to the earlier years of the company, where a family moves into a house and there’s a bump in the night.”

And so I started thinking of a movie about an imaginary friend because I really like playing with subjectivity. If you look at my first film, Cry Wolf, it’s a movie about liars, and I really enjoy this notion of engaging the audience in a game of what is real and then what is not. And if it’s not real, then what kind of real consequences could that still have?

I also love collaborating with writers. [Co-writer] Greg Erb is an old friend of mine, but we’d never worked together before. So Greg and [co-writer] Jason Oremland came into Blumhouse to talk about ideas, and they had this notion of an evil teddy bear named Chauncey. So these three points of inspiration melded together into the screenplay for Imaginary.

I never had an imaginary friend, nor do I know anyone who had one. What about you?

I certainly have heard many stories from people whose kids had imaginary friends. Jason Blum’s son had two imaginary friends named Buddha and Kevin, if I remember correctly. But my press junket stock answer to that question is that I was a film nerd, so all my friends were imaginary.

Jeff Wadlow
Jeff Wadlow and Pyper Braun on the Set of Imaginary

Pyper Braun has a lot of back and forth with Chauncey the Bear, and she had to speak on behalf of Chauncey in some cases. This might be asking too much of a young actor, but did she ever go back and forth between each voice in the same take?

Where to begin with Pyper Braun — it was the opposite. When it came time to shoot the therapist scene, she wanted to play both parts at the same time. I was like, “Pyper, that’s not how we’re constructing the scene. That‘s what you did in the table read, but for the actual filming of the scene, I just need you to be Alice in the coverage.” So she’s amazing. She’s next level. She has young Dakota Fanning, young Drew Barrymore, young Jodie Foster kind of talent. We saw every kid in that age range. I’m talking Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta and Canada, and there was no one that could do it. No one. I actually really started to despair. I thought, “I don’t know how we’re going to make this movie. Am I going to have to build this performance line by line with some poor young actress?”

And then Pyper just came in and crushed it in one take. I turned to the casting director [Sarah Domeier Lindo, Terri Taylor] and said, “Get her in makeup,” which is an old-school Hollywood director thing to say. I’ve only said it twice in my career, and it’s basically what you say when someone just killed it and it’s undeniable. Her audition could have been the take that was in the movie.

And then we couldn’t get her. There was this whole thing. She was on a Nickelodeon show and they weren’t going to release her. It was that stupid lawyer thing where she wasn’t even going to be filming, but they have to have so many weeks at the end. I can’t remember what the term is, but they weren’t going to release her.

So we went back and forth, and this is why I love working with Blumhouse, specifically [president of feature films] Couper Samuelson and Brad Buchanan, who runs business [and legal] affairs. They came back to me and said, “Wadlow, you can’t have her. It’s too risky. We won’t know for sure until a week before production. With these strike deadlines coming, we have to make sure we wrap in time. You can’t have her.” And I said, “No, I don’t accept that answer. I have to have her. She is it.” And a normal production company or studio would say, “Hey buddy, you work for us. You don’t get to say no when the head of creative and the head of business and legal call you up together and say, ‘This is the way it is.’” But I did. I said, “No, that’s not acceptable.”

And so they took a beat and went away, and then they came back. I guess they talked to Jason and everyone else at the company, and they came up with a plan that they could live with. I’m not going to go into the details because it’s a little too inside baseball, but they presented me with a plan that involved me making a couple compromises, which I did. So it allowed us to get Pyper Braun in the movie.

I don’t fully consider this an ArmageddonDeep Impact situation, as there are different genres, tones and premises at play, but John Krasinski has a movie coming out in a few months called IF, which stands for imaginary friend. Did Lionsgate and their marketing team keep tabs on this other movie just to ensure that there was no overlap?

After their Super Bowl ad, Lionsgate put out a piece for our movie on social media, and we used their graphics, their marketing slogans and their music with our footage.

Clearly, I need to keep closer tabs on Lionsgate’s socials. 

(Laughs.) Yeah, it’s pretty funny. They actually edited that movie on the same floor of the same New York City building where we edited Imaginary. I walked by John Krasinski a few times and just kept my head down because I knew what was going on. (Laughs.) But I’m sure there’s plenty of space in the market for both films. As you pointed out, they are tonally very different, and for me as a filmmaker, it’s just exciting to know that we’re tapping into a zeitgeisty idea. The time has come for some movies about imaginary friends.

Hopefully, this next question is so oddly specific that it makes up for that weak “junket question” I asked earlier. 

(Laughs.)

The neighbor kid (Matthew Sato), who we’re already supposed to root against, has a mishap in the bathroom, but instead of washing his hands, he goes straight for a towel. Was his improper hygiene another way that you were getting us to cheer for his potential downfall? 

I don’t know if it was that cerebral of a decision, but I definitely remember writing that beat and thinking that it made him particularly despicable. And oddly, you get an audible reaction from the audience every time it happens. It’s just such a gross and jerk thing to do. So, on more of a subconscious level, I was painting the picture of a guy you were ready to see be tormented a little bit. It’s always this balancing act. You don’t really want to make a body count movie where you’re just waiting for bad things to happen to bad people, but it’s okay, especially at that point in the running time of a scary movie, to take a little bit of a detour and just enjoy the villain messing with the jerk kid next door or the mean aunt or whatever the trope is that you’re bringing into your story.

What did you learn from the aforementioned test screenings, and how did you respond to what you’d learned? 

I learned so much from test screenings. I’m not one of these filmmakers who doesn’t like test screenings. The way I think about filmmaking — and certainly the films that I make — is that I’m not really making a movie. I make an experience that an audience has and they perceive my movie through the filter of their own lives. So the end product is actually the meaning they make and the experience they have, and by intellectually accepting that notion, I am saying that the audience is an active participant in the filmmaking process. They’re actually just as important as the actors, the crew, the writers, everyone. So I love test screenings because that’s when they get to do their thing.

And so what I learn from test screens and specifically with this project is where it’s starting to feel a little slow or a little too fast. There also might be an unintentionally bad laugh because those do happen. I love genre mashups, so my scary movies always have humor and my comedies often have real-world stakes. So because I’m always treading this line between different tonal spaces, I have to show my movies to an audience to see where we stepped too far over the line in one direction or the other.

Jeff Wadlow
Betty Buckley and Jeff Wadlow on the Set of Imaginary

Did Jason Blum suggest Betty Buckley based on their time together on Split?

Betty Buckley suggested Betty Buckley for this movie. (Laughs.) Basically, she wrote an email to Jason and said, “Hey, Jason, do you have any scary movies for me to be in?” This was before DeWanda Wise or anyone else was cast by the way. So Jason forwarded me the email and said, “Do you think Betty can play Gloria?” And I said, “Can she!? Will she!? I would kill to have Betty Buckley play Gloria.” So I can’t imagine a better choice, and it was really exciting that she was willing to jump in with us.

Taegen Burns’ character and the neighbor kid with bad hygiene watch Warm Bodies prior to the latter’s traumatic trip to the bathroom. Did Lionsgate simply give you a list of their own films that they could clear with relative ease?

That kind of decision perfectly encapsulates the filmmaking process. You think it’s going to have some significance: “Why pick this film? What’s the meaning behind this film?” And as you’ve already alluded to, part of the process is just finding something that we can afford and get permission to use. But at the same time, that’s never the only criteria you apply to any decision. We actually entertained having them watch Night of the Living Dead, because that’s famously in the public domain now. So that’s technically a free clip that we could’ve used, and trust me, Blumhouse movies love it when you can make choices that cost nothing. But to their credit, Couper Samuelson in particular, who kind of runs Blumhouse for Jason, said, “I don’t believe for one second that these kids would be watching Night of the Living Dead.” So then we had to go back to making the right creative choice despite the financial implications, and Warm Bodies just seemed like the perfect movie that they should be watching in that moment. It’s scary and it’s funny. There’s also a romance between the two characters on screen, and since we allude to a romance potentially happening here, it just seemed like the perfect choice.

Shifting to some random career items, I spoke to Portia Doubleday for Fantasy Island (2020), and that was her first role after coming off of what I felt was an Emmy-caliber performance on Mr. Robot. However, I don’t think she’s worked since your movie, save for an ABC pilot that was killed during the WGA strike. Do you have any idea what’s going on there? 

No, but she’s a fantastic actress. She was great in Fantasy Island, and I have tremendous respect for her work. Fantasy Island had a big cast, and while Portia is so phenomenally talented, I wish she was in more of the movie because she always shined when she was in it. But I honestly don’t really know [the latest with her].

So what’s the story with you and Bloodshot? Did you get that train moving and then depart for another project? 

I wrote that movie ten years before it came out. All filmmakers go through these moments where they feel like their career is in trouble. There was this era of the shooter — Michael Bay, David Slade, the Scott brothers — and writers were a little bit more disposable. So when I began my career, that era was ending and a new era was beginning, which I think of as the era of the “content creator.” It’s the writer-director.

So I didn’t write my second movie [Never Back Down], and no ODAs [open directing assignments] were coming in. I had also gotten some advice to focus more on being a director than a writer-director. So I just started looking around and was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m giving all my ideas to these writers, and they’re making a ton of money, whether the movie gets made or not. And I’m broke.” I was even looking at teaching jobs to pay my rent at the time. So I decided to start writing again.

Back then, IP was becoming the hot thing. Everybody wanted to make movies based on preexisting IP, and so I started sniffing around to see what I could get my hands on. I had loved Valiant comic books when I was a kid, and I looked around to see who had the rights to those comics. I then found out that this guy from Hong Kong used family money to buy the library out of bankruptcy, and I had lunch with him. I showed him that I had an exhaustive knowledge of the Valiant universe, and while I had really wanted to do Eternal Warrior, they wanted to go out with Bloodshot first. The Bloodshot comic from the ‘90s was a bad Wolverine-Punisher rip off. There really wasn’t much about it that was very unique, so I came up with this original idea that he was a revenge machine. He’s a man who is bent on stopping at nothing to right a wrong that’s been done upon him, and a man who has nothing to lose and will not stop no matter what is the ultimate weapon.

And so I wrote a Bloodshot spec to try to get my career going again. I also wrote another spec in Kick-Ass 2. Nobody hired me to write these scripts, and then both specs got a lot of attention. Sony bought Bloodshot, and at the time, it was going to be a very big movie and I only had two movies under my belt. So going back to the comment I made earlier, they paid me very well just to be the writer on it, and I was happy to go and focus on other projects at that point.

I just spoke to Denis Villeneuve, and he discussed how difficult it was for him to make a sequel to someone else’s film, especially when it’s a beloved classic like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. How did you take to playing in Matthew Vaughn’s sandbox with Kick-Ass 2?

Look, I’m incredibly grateful to Matthew. He gave me an opportunity at a time when I wasn’t getting a lot of opportunities in Hollywood, so I’ll be forever in his debt. But I can’t say I disagree with Denis Villeneuve’s point of view. It’s tricky. There are certain franchises where it’s fun to jump in and say, “This is my version of that franchise,” but I don’t think Blade Runner or Kick-Ass really work in that sense. They’re very much about a singular voice, and what made things even trickier and so difficult to navigate at the time was that Kick-Ass was based on a comic book by Mark Millar, who is a comic book auteur in his own right. So he also had a very specific point of view, and Matthew had made some changes from that original comic book.

So you had the original comic book and you had the movie, but then Mark went and wrote Kick-Ass 2 the comic book, which was a sequel to his Kick-Ass comic book and not a sequel to Kick-Ass the movie. So the differences started to become more extreme once he got into that sequel, and now I was charged with adapting that Kick-Ass 2 comic book in a way where it was truthful in its adaptation of the comic, but still worked as a sequel to the movie. So the narrative gymnastics I was trying to execute were incredibly challenging, but I’m really proud of the film. The actors were fantastic. I was very lucky that Matthew and Mark were both very involved, but that also created its own set of challenges. So it’s really a snapshot of that point in my career, and I’m just profoundly grateful for having had the chance to make that film.

According to the Internet, Quentin Tarantino named Kick-Ass 2 one of his favorite films of 2013, and he praised your work on it, saying, “[Wadlow] wrote and directed it with a real auteur approach.” Was that one of the most flattering moments of your career?

Absolutely. I mean, come on. Steven Spielberg saw my short film coming out of USC, and that was a pretty big highlight. He liked it and he recommended I take a meeting at Dreamworks. So, Spielberg liking The Tower of Babble and Quentin Tarantino giving Kick-Ass 2 a shout-out on his 2013 top ten list and getting the DGA award nomination for Are You Afraid of the Dark? were the three highlights of my career, post the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival that I won. That whole contest started my career. So it was obviously a major high, but those are certainly the big headlines for me.

Jim Carrey is one of the all-time great performers, but as the Jim & Andy documentary showed, he can be a lot, sometimes. So how would you describe your experience with him on the Kick-Ass 2 set?

Well, here’s the junket answer I gave ten years ago: “The reason why we love Jim Carrey is because you never know what he’s going to do or say, and I’m here to tell you that when you work with Jim Carrey, you never know what he’s going to do or say.” (Laughs.) So I’m happy to elaborate further. He’s a genius, and they call comedy the angry art for a reason. So working with Jim was a challenge, but I don’t shy away from creative conflict. I like talking about ideas and story, and taking on different points of view, and I would say that Jim does, too. So he was always a total pro, and I would work with him again, but you better be ready when you work with Jim Carrey. It’s probably not unlike being a tennis player and going head to head with the best. You better be ready to hit the ball back, because let me tell you something, he can crush it.

For the last few years, I’ve been asking the heavy hitters in the Scream franchise if they’d be open to doing a New Nightmare-inspired Scream film where the actors play versions of themselves and engage with the rules of the franchise in “real life.” It just makes sense to connect Wes Craven’s meta works. So I found it interesting that you nearly went into production on your own New Nightmare approach to Truth or Dare. Is there still a glimmer of hope, or is that project completely dead?

It is so dead. If you took a dead body and shot it, that’s how dead that thing is. But we had a script. It had been green lit, and we were prepping it to shoot on the Universal lot during the pandemic. We were going to quarantine the entire cast and crew, and not leave while we were making the movie. It was the only way to safely make a movie at that time. But, ultimately, when they actually ran the numbers and started to talk about all the safety concerns that could pop up, they just realized it was not worth it.

So all the actors whose characters died would’ve been back as themselves and whatnot?

Yeah, last night at our Imaginary premiere, we actually had a little Truth or Dare reunion. I took a group photo with Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane and Sam Lerner, and I put it up on Instagram. After we made that movie, all nine of the actors who were in it became great friends. I had killed off seven of them in the film, and when Jason said he wanted to do a sequel, I hit a wall, because I just didn’t really want to do a Final Destination sequel where a new group of kids started to experience a supernatural version of Truth or Dare. I liked our cast and I didn’t want to make a movie without them.

So they had been having some fun together up at Big Bear, and they had the kooky idea that it’d be funny if Truth or Dare happened to them while they were up there. I think they jokingly called it Truth or Big Bear. Tyler Posey mentioned it to me over lunch one day when I was out with him and Sophia Ali from the movie, and then I talked to my co-writers Chris [Roach] and Jill [Jacobs] about it. So we wrote a really surreal, funny and meta script, but the stakes were still real.

In the first film, Calux the demon possessed a game, and the core concept of the sequel was that Calux the demon possessed a movie. The writers of the movie had actually written a real demon into the original film, and now that real demon had moved on and was now possessing the film. So, what happened in Truth or Dare was now going to happen to the actors who had been in the movie.

You already touched on your career-launching short film, The Tower of Babble, but since it opened the door to your feature film career, did you start Adrenaline Film Project as a way to pay it forward?

Yeah, I think so, but I don’t know if it’s so literal in paying it forward. At five years old, I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker when I walked out of The Empire Strikes Back, but the journey from Charlottesville, Virginia to Hollywood seemed insurmountable. I didn’t really know what the middle steps were. I had a Hook poster signed by Steven Spielberg that said, “Good luck with directing,” but I was like, “How do I get from my bedroom to where Steven Spielberg is?” It just seemed so daunting, but then I slowly started to figure it out.

So, 20 years ago, I was 27 years old, and I started to feel that there was a power in making sure that people understood there are all these levels in between. I had only made one movie, but I decided I wanted to start this short film workshop and bring filmmakers from L.A. to my hometown who were in the same place I was in my career at the time. We could then show them the steps in the middle and how you make a movie collaboratively.

Third, it was also to change the dynamic of arts education a little bit. I always thought it was weird that football coaches are allowed to push their players in middle school and high school to win and succeed and work as a team, but for some reason, the arts were like, “Yeah, do what you want. Follow your muse.” You’re really doing those students a disservice if they want to have a career in this. You’ve got to show them that it’s cutthroat and that you better work your butt off and learn how to collaborate to make sure the best ideas are emerging.

And fortunately, people in my hometown have really embraced Adrenaline. I’ve become a sort of mentor emeritus, and Han West, Steve Robillard and Rachel Lane, who all participated in Adrenaline 20 years ago, run it with me. So it’s just really been a wonderful part of my filmmaking career these last 20 years, and I’m grateful that so many people have participated in it.

Jeff Wadlow
Jeff Wadlow and Pyper Braun on the Set of Imaginary

Lastly, every movie has a first and a most of some kind. I believe you already answered “the first” part with your Pyper Braun story, but what was “the most” in Imaginary’s case? 

That’s a great question, and I would say that Imaginary was the most I’ve ever been able to just focus on a movie. There are so many personalities and issues and external factors that influence a production, and part of being a director and a producer is understanding those things and working them so that they make your film better, but also fighting them and pushing them away when they’re hurting your movie. So it’s a really challenging process for that reason, but this was the movie where I had the most opportunities to just focus on the film. There were not a lot of external factors competing for my attention, which was really wonderful. It allowed me to devote my entire bandwidth to making the best film that I could.

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Imaginary opens in theaters nationwide on March 8th. 

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