Netflix’s 'Kodachrome' Was Inspired By a Headline

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The Jonathan Tropper-written drama was inspired by a 2010 New York Times article about the closing of the last processor of Kodachrome.

The star-studded cast of Netflix’s upcoming film Kodachrome showed up to celebrate Wednesday night as the film premiered at ArcLight Hollywood. The film, whose premise was ripped straight from the headlines, follows a dying father (Ed Harris), his son (Jason Sudeikis) and the father's nurse/personal assistant (Elizabeth Olsen) as they take a road trip from New York to Kansas to develop the father’s last rolls of Kodachrome before the country's final lab closes.

The writing process happened quickly for screenwriter Jonathan Trooper. “I happened to be on the Fox lot for something else and I popped by [producer and director] Shawn Levy’s office to say hello and Dan, who runs his company, hands me this New York Times article and says, 'See if this inspires you.' Two days later I came back and I was like, ‘I got the movie’ and we just went from there,” he said.

Despite taking nearly eight years to end up on the screen and going through multiple iterations, the script remained nearly identical to its original version, according to producer Shawn Levy.

“We started off late 2009, so at that point I had read This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper's novel, and I loved his writing. I couldn’t get anywhere near directing it, but I was like, ‘This is awesome, I just want to do something with you’ and we found this article in The New York Times about the last Kodachrome lab closing and we brought the idea to Jonathan. In less than a week he had come up with this whole father-son redemption story,” Levy said.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson, who also were producers on the film, were impressed by Trooper’s speed. “I found it to be poignant and emotional and then we brought that article to Jonathan Trooper and within 48 hours he brought to us almost the exact same story you saw onscreen,” Robinson said.

The time it took for the script to come to screen was a product of the finding the right cast, which he said all came together once Harris came on board the project, Robinson added.

“Getting to work with Ed has been a bucket-list experience for me. He is someone I have looked up to in theater and in real life, so that was pretty cool. He is like the ultimate American man,” Olsen told THR. 

Olsen added, “I think it’s a sweet movie, and it found its perfect place with Netflix and I am happy they bought our film. I think it’s a movie about nostalgia and I think it feels nice. We could use more kindness.”

Sudeikis, who was joined by his wife, Olivia Wilde, on the red carpet, said, “I truly love the story. It is a lovely way to fractured masculine relationships. It’s also a beautiful redemption story — I love the themes of being at a crossroad of being in analog and digital. “

Kodachrome will start streaming on Netflix on April 20.