Heading into the Toronto market, Louis C.K.’s I Love You, Daddy — a film shot entirely in secret, featuring an impressive cast that includes Pamela Adlon, Rose Byrne, Charlie Day and John Malkovich — certainly had buyers intrigued. But the consensus among them was that the film wasn’t really for sale, that the comic would simply self-distribute the film on his website, like he did with his beloved series Horace and Pete.
Alas, that is not the case.
“This is a movie I want to see projected,” C.K. tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I want someone who can put this in theaters. That’s a big goal for me.”
In fact, this movie definitely should not be seen on an iPhone, at least not initially. Shot in black and white using 35mm film, I Love You, Daddy also boasts another big-screen hallmark — an orchestral score that the writer-director-producer-star recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London.
“Down the road, of course I want people to see it in their homes,” he says. “Maybe that would be [on] my website, but I want it in theaters first.”
That should come as welcome news for distributors looking for a breakout film that could leverage a star with an identifiable brand and a rabid fan base.
“I’ve had a lot of success selling tickets on [comedy] tours,” he says. “We sold out Madison Square Garden five times last year, and we didn’t spend a penny on advertising. I think there’s a creative way to go out with a movie, and I’d like to find someone who does that with us.”
Buyers can be forgiven for their initial assumptions. Until now, nothing was known about the film, and everything about it that has leaked since its inclusion in the Toronto Film Festival lineup smacks of unconventionality. C.K. financed the film, which is being sold by 3 Arts rather than by a traditional sales agent, entirely by himself. He shot it quickly, over about 20 days earlier this summer. What’s remarkable is that no one was aware of it, despite it being a production in New York, the so-called media capital of the world.
“I’m not a guy who likes announcements,” he says. “I like to just do it. I did ask the reps involved to keep it to themselves. To their credit, nobody said anything. I’m pretty impressed.”
After the film makes its world premiere on Saturday, the insanity will likely begin. “I expect it’ll be a nutty night,” he says. “Or it won’t be. There’s always the possibility that nobody will care about it, and I’ll just have a nice dinner with my cast and go home.”