Diablo Cody Celebrates 'Paradise,' Her Directorial Debut, With Hollywood Premiere
Diablo Cody can add one more accomplishment to her resume: her directorial debut.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter joined Julianne Hough and Nick Offerman on Tuesday at the premiere of her new film, Paradise, set to release Aug. 9 on DirecTV, at the Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood.
In addition to directing the film, Cody also penned the script, which revolves around Lamb (Hough), an evangelist who renounces her faith after suffering from severe burns from a plane crash. Much to her parents’ (played by Offerman and Holly Hunter) dismay, Lamb goes to Las Vegas to discover her true identity with the help of locals William (Russell Brand) and Loray (Octavia Spencer).
The film will get a theatrical release October, but until then, DirecTV customers can pay $10.99 for an HD rental or $9.99 for a non-HD rental on demand and watch the film “naked with a bag of Mint Milanos,” the filmmaker tweeted.
Cody told The Hollywood Reporter that writing is her “number one love,” and that directing differed greatly from her work as a screenwriter.
“If you’re a writer, you just need to sit in pajamas and make up stories, so I definitely think directing is a challenge,” Cody said. “For me, it was something totally and completely out of my comfort zone.”
Don't expect to see another directorial effort from Cody anytime soon. "Honestly, I have to take a break," Cody told THR, "because my children are really small, and I learned that it is not easy to have a 12- or 14-hour work day with two little ones.”
With previous works including Juno, Young Adult and The United States of Tara, Cody acknowledged a theme of casting misfits as protagonists in her writing. While speaking of these characters' significance, she began to tear up.
“We retain our essence no matter what happens to us,” she said. “That you’re still you -- you’re still the beautiful child that you were.”
Hough told THR she joined the cast primarily to work with Cody. With previous roles in big-budget films including Rock of Ages and Safe Haven, Hough said her experience in the indie field showed how passionate the cast and crew were about the story due to its low budget.
And while Hough described filming in Vegas and New Orleans as "fun," the highlight for her came from researching her role. The dancer turned actress said she met with burn survivors in an effort to understand the physical and emotional pain they experienced.
“I think that’s what this whole movie is about,” she said. “It’s like a test of, 'Who am I now that my whole outside appearance has changed? Am I really the same on the inside? Let me test that.'”
And working with Oscar winner Spencer wasn't a bad perk, either.
"I love Octavia," Hough gushed of her co-star. "She was always singing on set -- she’s crazy, so much fun. She'd just won her Oscar when we shot it, so she was on a high."
Co-star Offerman was also on hand for the festivities but made his entrance on the fashionably late side. The actor finished filming his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! -- just a few steps away on Hollywood Blvd. -- mere minutes before the film’s premiere, bypassing reporters and rushing into the theater.
Other cast members in attendance included Iliza Shlesinger and Phil Austin, both of whom lauded Cody’s directorial skills.
"This is her directorial debut, and she also wrote it, so that’s a big deal for her," said Shlesinger. "I love that I get to be a part of a woman’s moment in history."
While the film’s trailer was unveiled only days ago, on Aug. 6, DirecTV home viewers will serve as the first critics of the Mandate Pictures comedy.