Matthew Weiner on 'Mad Men' and male friendships

Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:11pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the creator of "Mad Men," AMC Networks' period TV drama and its brooding, dysfunctional ad man Don Draper, Matthew Weiner has had some experience in exploring the male psyche.

In his directorial feature film debut "Are You Here," in theaters on Friday, Weiner wanted to tackle the reality of a male friendship through actors Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, showing two grown men in a state of arrested development.

Weiner, 49, spoke to Reuters in his Los Angeles office, decked out with props from "Mad Men," about concluding Don's journey, the Emmy awards and his future plans.

Q: What did you want to explore about the "bromance" through two childhood friends in "Are You Here"?

A: They think they're in a stoner comedy together, and then all of a sudden you realize Owen's character has a substance abuse problem and Zach's character is mentally ill. As the reality starts to sink in, it's not like there's no jokes throughout it, but you get stripped away to what I hope is a more poignant and slightly emotional examination of what holds us together.

Q: Why choose comedy staples Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler for this much darker take on life?

A: You can't teach people to be funny, they either are or they aren't. And these are three deeply funny people to the bone, and the fact that they could use that and change the tone, you feel the poignancy because you feel them losing something.   Continued...

Creator of the show Matthew Weiner and his wife Linda Brettler pose at the premiere for the seventh season of the television series "Mad Men" in Los Angeles, California in this file photo taken April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni