The exchange is now available via on demand and digitally. The comedy is written by The simpsons Writer Tim Long and stars Ed Oxenbould, Avan Jogia and Justin Hartley. The history of the exchange students is led by a frequent contributor to Sacha Baron Cohen and Borate Writer Dan Mazer.
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“A socially awkward but very enterprising teenager decides to get a ‘best shipping friend’, a discerning exchange student from France,” the official said The exchange Summary. “Instead, he imports his personal nightmare, a chain-smoking, sex-obsessed youth soaked in eau de Cologne, who quickly becomes the hero of his new community.”
ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke to writer Tim Long about writing a movie, his past late-night talk show, and how he felt about pissing off Morrissey.
Tyler Treese: What made you decide to write a film about an exchange student? Was that a personal matter? Have you ever had the experience of growing up where you brought an exchange student into your home?
Tim Long: I absolutely have. I had an exchange student who came home and it was very different. He was a completely different type. Lots of the basic experiences, my extreme surprise of who the guy was, and some of the experiences told in the film. It was definitely real things that happened to me. They say write what you know so I wrote what I knew and here we are.
What I like about the story is that it’s a culture shock, but it’s kind of a twist where the domestic student experiences the shock and not the foreign student. How fun was it turning this trope upside down from expectations?
It was a lot of fun. I felt that when it comes to a conflict of cultures, how people can misunderstand each other, and how those misunderstandings can lead to quite serious consequences, there are obviously problems that don’t go away. Like you said it was really nice to do it in a different way that hopefully was fun and not that easy for people.
The film is set in a small town in Canada. So often I see films that revolve around big cities like New York or LA. That still managed to resolve some major social issues and xenophobia, but we’re seeing it through the small town lens, which I found really refreshing. Can you discuss the setting and the role it plays in the story?
That too was something that was lifelike. I grew up in a very small town in Canada called Exeter, which is different in many ways from the town in the movie, but is the same in many ways. I love small town stories because they reflect the way life was for me growing up. At the same time, I feel that they generally portray people as fools and the situation is much more complex. A small town has a much wider range of people and attitudes. That was again something I knew well, and I also knew the feeling of being a small town kid who thought they were so much smarter than anyone else who ended up not being that smart.
From an author’s point of view, is your approach changing from writing for a live-action script instead of animation? Of course, the budget is becoming more and more important and needs to be a little more informed, but is this a dynamic change in the way you approach stories or is it staying the same?
I don’t want to be a weasel about it, but I think it does and it doesn’t. Obviously, the presentation of things in the live action situation is a different fish to what you bring to the screen. on The simpsons, if really necessary, we can detonate Homer’s head at the end of a scene. Not that easy in a live action context. At the same time, I like to believe that writing is writing. Even with The simpsons‘I was fortunate enough to work on the show for 20 years, it was always a real emotional experience, even if the comedy is a little inflated. So I could bring that with me The exchange.
Did you visit the set while it was filming? I’m just curious because you can’t actually see the animation in real time, but did you somehow bring the movie and your story to life?
One hundred percent. It was actually shot in a small town in Ottawa and in some areas around Ottawa. I just thought this was my first feature film and it’s based at least in part on my life so I won’t miss it. So I was there almost every day.
With The Simpsons, you’re used to writing these stories that fit into 22-minute episodes and are well-suited for television. When you’re writing a full-length film, you can let the story breathe and not have to quickly break up the plot. Did you just have to adjust a little to this extra length from a writing perspective?
One hundred percent. That’s exactly what I loved about it, yeah, there are those moments when the story can breathe and then you just let the scenes flow. See a little of the family dynamic, the parenting dynamic. It was just so exciting to create a whole new world. I play in the sandpit The simpsons daily, and that’s great, but it’s something someone else created. The great thing about it was that it was a world that I created, all of these characters were mine. As you said, it not only gave us space to laugh but also gave us a little breath and a little emotional depth.
You wrote the Simpsons episode Panic on the Streets of Springfield, and I loved it. I’m a big fan of The Smiths. So it was really fun to see those scenes, but Morrissey didn’t. He said, “In a world obsessed with hate laws, there is no one to protect me. Freedom of expression no longer exists. ”I just wanted to know your reaction to it.
I was a huge fan. He was a real hero of mine growing up. So I didn’t mean to upset him. I set out to talk about my own, shall we say, ambivalent feelings about him and many of the rock stars I grew up with. They always feel that any form of attention is a form of flattery. So I feel very flattered.
I saw Bret McKenzie making the music. How cool was it to work with him? I’m such a huge Flight of the Conchords fan.
Oh my gosh. It was fantastic. I wrote the lyrics and then he wrote all the music and it was so much fun. I would tell him I want the song to sound a little like this and a little like this. Literally in 24 hours, he’d send me a demo that got it right to the point. I’ve known Bret as a friend for a long time and it was so exciting to work with him this way. There was a moment last September when we were recording that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing the character [Quilloughby]. It was me, Bret and Benedict all on zoom in different cities and I just thought, “Oh my god, I love my life. That’s great.”
That’s so great. I know you’ve worked on a couple of late night talk shows in the past, Late Show with David Letterman and Politically Incorrect. Obviously this has a lot to do with joke writing. How did that help your creative writing too?
It certainly made me someone who isn’t afraid to write harsh jokes. The very fact that, in the case of the Letterman show, these shows are every night gives you a discipline. There’s no option when you’re writing for Letterman or a show like this where you can say, “I don’t feel it today.” You have to produce material and you have to produce it quickly. So that was really very helpful. And of course they are two of the funnest people in the world with Bill Maher and David Letterman, so you can’t help but learn a little through osmosis. I would say it wasn’t until I got around to it The simpsons and worked on some other things that made me become more obsessed with character arcs and narrative. I like to think that I’ve moved forward every step and these shows are certainly one of them.
The stock exchange has such a great cast. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ed Oxenbould, Avan Jogia, and Justin Hartley and how they really brought these characters to life. I think they are all so great.
Oh, they are so amazing. They had such chemistry, not just on-screen but off-screen as well. I remember there being a couple of times when we were taking a break over the weekend and they were walking down the street near our hotel in Ottawa and I saw the two of them with a pizza in hand. They went back to the hotel, played video games, and ate pizza. I thought that was great. These two really connect and I think that really came through on screen. Justin was amazing. I think people will be really surprised at what he does in an explicitly comedic role. I also have to say greetings to Paul Braunstein and Jennifer Irwin, who play the parents and are so good at their roles.