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Interview: Ben Konigsberg, Morgan Turner and Noah Pritzker discuss QUITTERS

Quitters is an absolute riot of a movie, featuring really dark humour. It serves as a cutting takedown of a San Francisco mileu and really ought to serve a star making vehicle for its director, Noah Pritzker, and for its fresh-faced stars Benjamin Konigsberg and Morgan Turner. The film is receiving a theatrical release in New York and L.A. and will be available on VOD. We spoke to its principals immediately after its world premiere at SXSW.

Scene Creek: What helped to create a cinematic experience?

Noah Pritzker: I’m 28, so I’m in between the kids of the movie and the adults, and an interesting thing happened in which the adults would kind of step in and would want to take care of Morgan. And it became kind of a conversation about parenthood and childhood and I think that everyone kind of became intrigued about this idea of family, and the movie is really about a network of families in San Francisco, and this dysfunctional family really became a family of its own.

There were some plays that inspired me, Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris I had seen before I read Quitters that meant a lot to me and Kenneth Lonergan, his films have been very inspiring. Happiness is a movie that I was inspired by.

Ben Konigsberg: He was like “watch Dogville and Happiness and give me a call”.

NP: I think I came into the project as a writer first, with (co-screenwriter) Ben Tarnoff, we grew up together in San Francisco, and there’s not a lot of screaming in Quitters and the dialogue is so important to us, how these characters communicate with each other. I think to an outsider, it is very obvious what these characters should be saying to each other, and in this movie I didn’t want to cast judgement on any of my characters even though it is a difficult movie to love all of the characters in it. So much of the casting process was finding actors that were so young and yet could pull off this dialogue and make it sound like it was really coming from their brains and their hearts and with this cast it really felt this way.

BK: It was actually a long process, I think it was three or four times that I read for the role and (laughing) I didn’t know what was going to happen at a certain point, I had an idea that it was going somewhere, and I was ecstatic, I was over the moon.

I feel incredible fortunate to be involved in Quitters.

Morgan Turner: I had the whole script early on, because my Mom had to read it to make sure that there wasn’t anything with which I was uncomfortable. I remember reading the script and thinking that there were little things, but they weren’t deal-breakers.

BK: We felt like even if we were uncomfortable, there were people that we were very comfortable with.

MT: Exactly!

BK: We were in great hands.

SC: What was it like watching the movie with a big crowd in a packed theatre?

NP: The act of watching it is like getting in a car with an ex-girlfriend or something.

MT: I’ve changed a lot. There were a lot of physical changes, but also looking back and seeing what it was like being back with everyone, I always laugh inappropriately at every little thing that happened. I’m really with how it came together, and really happy with my performance. But it is really weird though, looking back and saying “Oh my Gosh, that’s me”. I’m so much older now and learned so much. It takes a lot to not critique what I’ve done already because it’s over and done with and the movie’s edited and I can’t change it. But I love seeing it as a reference point because this is me moving forward and getting myself out there. It’s…weird, but it’s also helpful to see my former self in a movie, doing the best performance that I can possibly bring to the table.

BK: It was great to inhabit someone who wasn’t always the best person, but to see different sides of him and see the good in him was a totally positive experience.

Photo Credit: David Scardina for Momentum Pictures.