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'Our Idiot Brother' Director Jesse Peretz Talks Sundance Edits and Name Change

Jesse Peretz
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

In an interview with THR, the helmer discusses the film’s new ending and offers an update on his upcoming project, “What’s This S*** Called Love.”

Sundance attendees who saw Jesse Peretz’s My Idiot Brother in January will not only see a new title when the film gets its Weinstein Company release this week, but a new ending as well.

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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Peretz offered up an explanation behind the film’s name and re-shot ending, which will be seen in theaters on Aug. 26.
 
Titled My Idiot Brother during its Sundance debut, Peretz explained that the term “Our” was actually his original choice.

FILM REVIEW: Our Idiot Brother
 
“My producer felt that Our Idiot Brother was awkward coming out of your mouth,” he said. “My Idiot Brother was sort of a snappier, more memorable title. In terms of the way it falls in your lips I guess it's true, but we realized people’s sort of expectations of the title was setting up a little bit of inaccurate expectations of what the tone and feel of the movie really was.”
 
After unsuccessfully attempting to come up with a completely different name, producers finally came to an agreement. “The long and the short of it was we sort of settled on going back to 'Our,' which we at least feel clarified the sense that this is a movie about a family and not a two hander between a type A brother and his ridiculous younger brother,” Peretz continued. “Somehow we wanted to include all the sisters into people's sense of what they were walking into. I do think in some small nuanced way that made a difference.”

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After the film’s domestic distribution rights were sold to the Weinstein Company, Peretz hit the set with Paul Rudd and TJ Lavin once again to re-shoot the previously ambiguous finale.
 
“In the version of the movie we screened at Sundance, [Rudd’s character Ned] just says goodbye to his family and drives off in a truck with Billy [Lavin] and they have kind of a sweet conversation, but you don't know where they're going. It's not particularly funny,” the director recalled. “When the Weinsteins picked it up and were prepared to put more money into it, we sort of talked about how we could deliver a little bit more of a satisfying ending.”
 
In addition to more solidified closure, viewers can also expect to see improved chemistry between the two actors in the new scene.
 
“The funny thing is we shot the last scene between Paul Rudd and TJ Miller on the first day of shooting the movie, when no one had met TJ and they didn't really know each other,” Peretz explained of the original ending.

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“They didn't really have a vibe, so they sort of did the scripted scene but over the course of shooting the movie, they really developed this rapport between each other,” he elaborated. “It came to the surface more that there was this really awesome and funny relationship between Ned and Billy, and so that's where we were like ‘You know what, let's give people a more satisfying scene where we see them sort of landed in something together.’”
 
Peretz also provided an update on his upcoming project, What’s This S*** Called Love?, which has caught the eye of John Malkovich and Catherine Keener. The director told THR that his film could end up in the world of television, though it is still seeking financing.
 
“It's definitely a project that I'm desperate to get made one way or the other. We have been throwing around the idea of seeing whether we can potentially pull together a pitch of it as a cable TV show too,” he said. “That would be a long shot, but we have an idea in our head of how to restructure it as a TV show that would be very specific. I don't know if anyone would be interested in doing it but I definitely feel like these are characters that could live in an episodic universe.”

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As for whether Malkovich or Keener would be on-board for a TV show, Peretz isn’t sure.
 
“Obviously, I would be overjoyed, but who knows. It seems like a long shot that would get them to do TV, but you never know. More and more amazing people are committing to TV shows these days,” he pondered. “It just feels like especially in the cable world, but I think even on network TV, people are taking certain risks that people won't take in financing movies now.”
 
Our Idiot Brother opens nationwide on Friday, Aug. 26.